Metro 2033 is a post apocalyptic novel in the formerly grandiose catacombs of the long since decayed corpse of Moscow, Russia.
Written by the Russian writer Dmitry Glukhovsky, who created his bestselling novel after becoming enthralled with apocalyptic stories and the interesting nature and uses of the Moscow Metro
This novel is set a fresh 20 years after the end of the world, where the former citizens of Moscow have been reduced to less than moles living in the durable yet decaying tunnels of the once beautiful Moscow Metro. Though nobody knows who fired first, what came of it was destruction. The citizens of Moscow rushed into the metro as the bombs fell, those who could be considered unlucky survived and those who did not make it were either gunned down in protest or evaporated in nuclear hellfire. However, the story begins with one such survivor, nameless they may be, important nonetheless because they are the mother of the then one-year-old Artyom, our protagonist. The story starts (like many others) with our protagonist the aforementioned Artyom awakening, but this time to an argument between his adoptive father: Alexander Sukhoi and his father’s friend Hunter. Taking place directly outside of his tent. While the cause of the argument is unknown to us, we can listen to the argument through Artyom’s ears as he eavesdrops on the spat. The topic of the argument is about the future of humanity and more importantly the looming threat to the subterranean citizens of the metro, the “Dark Ones”, boogeymen for the people of Moscow. Hunter prevails and wins the argument Sukhoi lurks off in defeat, Hunter having noticed Artyom eavesdropping calls out to him. Finally Hunter Gives Artyom a request, one that will send him across the entirety of the metro and will ultimately decide the fate of the humans that dwell under the deceased corpse of Moscow.
Metro 2033 is an amazing book that can immerse even a rock into it’s living world.
By constantly describing the environment that the characters live in, whether it be a frigid and grimy tunnel or a station converted into a town bursting with life, rife with the smell of manure and rat-kebabs. Glukhovsky likes to leave hints throughout his books, they could be small yet meaningful metaphors, or unassuming sentences that foretell the end of the story. The main actors in this depressing book, feel like people, they act on fear, they have meaningless conversations, and they live.
As much as I like this book it has some flaws.
Mainly redundancy, the environments the book trudges through are usually grey, light grey, dark grey, etc. Now this is not to say there are no exceptions. One thing is action or lack thereof it. If Glukhovsky is good at one thing it’s action, whenever (if rarely) there is a fight or a high-stakes situation. You can smell the stale air abundant with gunpowder, you can see the flashes among the blue rays of sunlight peeking through the cracks in the metro, and you can feel the glow of the blood red emergency lights reaching every corner of the tunnel as you are rocked back and forth by the reverberations of gunfire. However the wonderful paragraphs that are his action rarely appear. Throughout the book Artyom is traveling through dingy tunnels monologuing on the nature of his quest to save the metro, or having philosophical conversations with a stranger.
Ultimately Metro 2033 is not a book for everyone.
If you have a short attention span or do not have the time to put in, then this book I would not recommend for you, but by all means please do read it if you want to! On the other hand if you love long reads and want something to kill time Metro 2033 is perfect for you, along with the rest of the series: Metro 2034, and 2035. Or if you want to see the Metro with your own eyes 4A games and Deep Silver have adapted the books into a video game series of the same name: Metro 2033, Last Light, and Exodus all great games with praise from critics and journalists everywhere! in the end you should read Metro 2033 before world war three really does happen!