Metro 2033 Book Review
Metro 2033 book by Dmitry Glukovsky was one of the best Russian post-apocalyptic books I've ever read. In fact, it was the first sci-fi book that talked about post World War 3 Russia and Moscow - at least, the first modern one.
I can't say for sure there weren't other authors in Russia who wrote on the same subject, especially during the Soviet times, when we were preparing to fight the capitalists every next day. However, Metro 2033 book made so much noise it can easily be considered a pioneer in this area of Russian science fiction, as it spawned a whole new breed of such Russian novels.
Boy did I enjoy reading this book! First of all, I'm a fan of everything that portrays the world in ruins. It all started with "The Terminator" movie, and then got another push when I discovered "Fallout" game series. Don't ask me why I'm so attracted to such hopeless things – maybe I was born to be someone like John Connor?
However, I didn't only enjoy Metro 2033 book because it was post-apocalyptic (although it did draw my attention). I also didn't read it up until the end just because the idea was interesting. The main reason I'm so excited about the book is that it's just a darn good novel, with lots of action, good plot and interesting, "life-like" characters that you'll quickly identify with.
Let's see how the story begins. The year is 2033, and the civilization is destroyed in a global war that unleashed nuclear, bacteriological and mutagenic weapons upon the unsuspecting 6 billion souls.
The author doesn't tell who started it as it is not so important, but in his other short stories he tells that the war began because of Chinese invasion on Taiwan, which made US interfere and ultimately dragged the Russia into the mess as well.
The world is ruined, plain and simple. Most of Earth's surface is now extremely hostile, polluted with radiation and infested with genetically engineered mutants that consider men an easy prey. The remnants of humankind can only survive in reinforced bunkers hidden deep underground. Guess what – Moscow has one of the biggest ones in the world that we call Moscow metro.
The story tells us about a teenager name Artiom who lives on the station "VDNH". By the way, that was another reason I purchased the book – I used to live in that area for many years. Anyways, Artiom is one Moscow subway's numerous inhabitants. His mother was killed during the rat invasion of "Timiriazevskaya" while he was saved by the retreating troops.
These days, "VDNH" suffers from constant invasions coming from the northern "Botanicheskiy Sad" station. Somehow, it isn't shielded from surface by the blast doors, allowing hordes of frightening black humanoids to use that breach in their constant attempts to get past "VDNH" outposts.
One day, a mysterious man called "Hunter" appears on "VDNH" in order to attempt and destroy the lair of the monsters. In case he fails, he asks Artiom to get to the center of Moscow metro and call for reinforcements. Of course, Hunter disappears, and now Artiom has to travel through half of divided Moscow metro to help out a man who trusted him with his life.
(by Alexey Troshin)
This is how the story begins, and trust me – you won't stop reading until you reach the very last page. Why? Because the author created a whole new world based on something every Muscovite knows extremely well – Moscow subway.
In this universe, Moscow metro does not have centralized rule – it's everyone for himself. Every station is like a miniature city, with its own citizens, armed forces and of course – politicians. Some of the stations come together to form "federations" or "empires", but mostly there's chaos and anarchy, while the humankind is slowly dying out.
The thing I liked the most about Metro 2033 book is the atmosphere. While it's not very probable that people can survive even a year in such conditions (and we're speaking twenty years in Glukhovsky's universe), the author does his best to make the world as realistic as he can.
In fact, his world is very thought through and detailed. While I don't want to give you any spoilers, rest assured Dmitry Glukovsky thought about pretty much everything. The book will tell you where the air and water come from, how the food is grown – and what's going on planet's scorched surface, while the people are struggling to survive deep beneath.
However, realism is only a part of that wonderful, gloomy world created by Dmitry. When I was reading the book, I suddenly realized I started identifying myself with the characters. Somehow, I felt whatever they felt, and I grew deeply compassionate for most of them.
I caught myself feeling lost and hopeless. The room I was sitting at became dark and small, and I had a spontaneous urge to open the windows, breath some fresh air and make sure Moscow was still there.
And of course, I started paying much more attention to all the little details described in Metro 2033 book, like those huge blast doors that are supposed to shut us off from the world that will go down in flames in couple of minutes. I knew I wrote about it on other Moscow subway pages, but just imagine...
...it's late spring. You're taking a walk across one of Moscow's beautiful boulevards, enjoying the warm, sunny weather. You're smiling, life is good – and there's nothing really worry about. You're approach the stairs, get down to the underground passage, and from there you get straight to the metro entrance. Soon you will get back to your family and have a wonderful, tasty dinner. Life is good...
(by Alexey Troshin)
...all of a sudden, you hear a weird signal pouring out of metro speakers – one long beep followed by two short ones. The signal repeats again and again, and you don't yet know it's the "Atom code". You rush to the exit, just like everybody else, you try to get out of this mess, but the police and the metro personnel just won't let you do that. Suddenly, you hear a loud, calm voice...
..."attention all passengers. Atom alert, time to impact – 6 minutes. Everyone in proximity is requested to get inside the station. Attention all passengers..."
...all hell breaks loose. People outside are rushing to the station while some are still in denial, trying to get out. Someone falls from the escalator, women are screaming.
Everywhere, you hear the kids crying. "Mommy, mommy, I want to go home". Someone is trying to call his loved ones for the last farewell.
People continue to rush through the entrance. Some cops are fighting a couple of guys who want to get out at all cost. They still don’t believe it’s all over.
A young couple is running to the safety of the station. Suddenly, a heel breaks on one of girl’s shoes, and she falls on the pavement, tearing her tights. Her young man rushes towards her and starts dragging her to the entrance.
At this point of time, giant blast doors begin to close slowly, separating those who made it from those who’re about to die in the spark of nuclear fire. Horrifying screams fill the underground passage as people begin to squeeze themselves through the diminishing gap. People lose their loved ones in the mess, friends and families are separated forever.
With a rough, slashing sound, the blast doors close completely. “My wife, please let her through”, - a bulky aged man is weeping like a baby, looking for his woman one among the newcomers. She got lost in the panicking crowd, and now she’s probably knocking at the door from the outside, screaming her husband’s name. In vain.
The earth shakes. The shockwave from the blast penetrates even the rugged walls of Moscow metro, and for a moment it seems they won’t hold. The lights blink for a second, and then darken significantly as the backup generators kick in. The old world is gone. Forever.
Terrified? Well, that’s exactly the feeling you’ll get after reading the first couple of pages, because Glukhovsky knows well how do frighten the reader. However, soon you’ll become so thrilled with the plot that you’ll see how all the gloomy decorations work together to create a high-quality reading experience. Experience that you’ll never forget!
It takes a lot of talent and skill to write a post-apocalyptic novel gloomy enough to be realistic and interesting enough to make you read it instead of getting terribly depressed right after the first page.
Metro 2033 book is an example of such work. It will shake you, it will thrill you – and leave you with the feeling of slight sadness and thoughts of apocalypse that may just come if the world doesn't change soon. Let’s just hope it will never happen…
…but if you do want to get prepared – Metro 2033 book is the one to read!
- Novokuznetskaya Moscow Metro Station
- Mayakovskaya Moscow Metro Station
- Vorobyovy Gory Moscow metro station - right next to Moscow Sparrow Hills
- Tsvetnoy Boulevard Moscow Metro Station
- Komsomolskaya Moscow Metro Station
- Dostoevskaya Moscow Metro Station
- Ploschad Revolyutsii Metro Station
- Metro 2034 book
- Kievskaya Moscow metro station
- Kurskaya Moscow metro station
- Moscow metro map
- Moscow Metro 2 - the dark legend of Moscow
- Moscow metro
- Moscow Metro Museum