A Trip Down the Metro…

Posted: March 23, 2017 by James R. Brown in Post-Apocalyptic

41EfpJ4sZnL._AC_UL320_SR214,320_So, fair readers. We welcome you back to some life at the one place we review the Apocalypse. I’ll give the boring details. Joy has had some life issues. I’ve had job issues. Regardless of the issues we’ve had, we’re back!

As you can see by the title, we’re going to take a trip down the Moscow Metro. In our minds, that is. And it’s a very dark trip down the Metro. So, let’s set the scene for this book, shall we? Metro 2033 was written by Dmitry Glukhovsky. It was started as a bit of an online experiment in 2002, and the book was originally for free. Well, if you understood Russian Cyrillic, that is.

However, let’s not go into those semantics. It took a video game from 4A Studios in the Ukraine to get an official copy in English. Which, on a side note, is very good. Albeit, the game is graphics heavy. The video game helped out, tremendously. But, there are going to be fundamental differences. And for all intents and purposes, this is a book review site.

Now, Metro 2033 covers the story of Artyom. Artyom is the last of the children that were born before World War Three in Glukhovsky’s universe. Hence, you’ll see references to him being a “surface-born.” The war happened in 2013, as all nations of the world unleashed nuclear hell on Earth. Using the Russian Metro system, which was dual built as a bomb shelter post-World War Two, the citizens of Moscow were herded into the subway system and the gates were hermetically sealed.

Artyom is the “step-son” of Sukhoi (aka Uncle Sasha), a former subway guard. The man took in Artyom as a baby, while his mother was being attacked by mutant rats. And this isn’t just a minor irritation in the Metro, a pack of rats can destroy an entire city-station. As with life in the Metro, the Russians deal with constant claustrophobia, loss of time, and the horrors of a post-nuclear age.

The story, in earnest, starts when an old Ranger named “Hunter” visits his home station, the VNDKh. This station is an independent station from the rest of the Metro. Which has experienced war between the Red Line aka the Hanza and the Fourth Reich. If this stuff sounds scary, it should. The Red Line are Stalinists reverting back to hard line Communism. The Fourth Reich are Russian Nazis, who slaughter anyone who is not pure Russian blood. Got that?

Hunter gets a secret out of Artyom, as a sign of trust. He learns the truth of their issues. The young man and his friends wandered to the Botanical Gardens of the VNDKh and opened the hermetic gates. Hunter resolves himself to go to the gate and investigate the cause of the emergence of the “Dark Ones.” A legendary mutant that supposedly can kill a man with a thought.

As Hunter leaves, he gives Artyom a gift to give to his fellow Ranger, Melnik. And a mission. Arytom must reach Polis and seek Melnik. If not for himself, then for the fate of humanity. Starting with a convoy from VNDKh, he runs into the troublemaker named “Bourbon.” This starts off the adventures that start changing the landscape of the entire Metro. From the mythical Khan to the elusive Polis Rangers…

Artyom starts to realize that the situation in his Metro is a lot more dire than he realized. The Metro is slowly killing them. The surface died a long ago. And the world is a lot more dangerous than the books he’s read. But all he knows, is that he has a mission to do…

The Good: It has a nice pace to it. Even for a nearly 500 page book, Glukhovsky doesn’t make it a very boring world. You don’t know who the heroes are, short of Artyom. And the villains are always a shade of gray. Even the politics of this world are interesting.

The Bad: As the original was written in Russian, sometimes the English translations look rushed or badly formatted. Be aware, Amazon sells a translated version that they’ve repeatedly told the publisher to fix. Also, this is a very political book, if you’re not a fan of harsh reality, Metro 2033 will kick you in the teeth.

The Extra: The visual representation of the rats and other creatures in Metro 2033 are seen quite well in the video game. This would be the one time I recommend you play the game and read the book. There are liberties, but name one movie or game that doesn’t, right?

Rating: I’m going to give this a 3 out of 4. It’s an engaging book, honestly. It’s a dark book. And it’s a very real book, to be blunt. And with the way of today’s world, it’s probably a must read book.

Where it can be found: You can go on Amazon and grab it for 7.99. And it’s not on Kindle Unlimited, yet. However… it’s sequels are.

That’s all I have on Metro 2033. I’ll be continuing the Trilogy, honestly. And if anyone has access to the Extended Universe… Well, I can do that, too. As always, have a good one.

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