The world is essentially over. Humanity lives underground in the tunnels, but they’re not the only ones who live down there. This is Metro 2033 by Dmitry Glukhovsky and it’s a great book that explores much deeper thoughts than post-apocalyptic monsters underground.
I picked up Metro 2033 because I fancied a bit of a post-apocalyptic book and I had heard a lot of good things about it and also played the video game on PC a little. However, in hindsight, I wish there was a little less conversation and a little more action (as a great man once said).
Plot – 3.5/5
The plot of Metro 2033 sees Artyom, the protagonist of our story and a young man living in VDNKh given the task of having to get to and attach the heart of the Metro, the almost mythical “Polis”. He’s tasked with this job to alert everyone of the awful danger that is coming for them. On his journey, he visits other stations, many other people and many other different cultures.
As I said before, I expected Metro 2033 to be a little more action-based. After having played the game, I expected it would be hard to make a video game out of a book that had so little action, however, Metro 2033, the novel anyway, is very philosophical. Artyom visits other stations who all seem to have a different view on life and a different way approach to how they’ve combatted the apocalypse. For example, he comes across a station where they believe the tunnels they’re in were made by a massive worm whom they all worship. An odd idea at first but when Artyom begins to have discussions around the idea that no one can prove this isn’t the actual answer, it ventures into a much larger debate about religion as a whole.
There are action moments throughout this book – there are creatures who live in the tunnels with them that they come up against every now and then. Some are far more scary and challenging than others. There are also myths of larger, scarier and even telepathic creatures who have evolved off the radiation that has destroyed the world. I felt like these creatures were intended to add.
Characters – 4/5
Reviewing the characters of this book is a tricky one as Atryom is really the only one we follow throughout the whole novel. Artyom isn’t the most charismatic character – he seems very scared of the world and his fears constantly boil over whenever he comes into contact with something new and unexpected. He’s not a typical hero by any means and is very much a great representation of your “everyman”.
The other people Artyom comes in contact with come in all forms – young, old, crazy, intelligent, helpful. There’s a diverse array of personality types that I think Glukhovsky gets across well. He clearly came in with the intention of writing a story about how different people may react to an apocalypse with no outside influence. Therefore he needed to write characters that fit these outcomes. I think he did well.
Summary – 4/5
I went into Metro 2033 wanting a little more action than I received. It’s a book set in the underground of a planet that’s been ravished by a nuclear war and the surface of which has been taken over by hideous, dangerous creatures that humanity no longer has the capacity to fight back against.
I came out of this book feeling quite satisfied. I had a lot of time for the cultures and civilisations that Glukhovsky explored and despite it not being the action-packed post-apocalyptic novel I was expecting, I still very much enjoyed it. It’s not a book that’s made me want to instantly jump into the sequel though. It’s a sequel I will almost certainly pick up, but for now, I can wait.