So let me start by saying that I love the idea. A post nuclear Moscow, in which the last remnants of human civilization live in the black, creepy tunnel systems of the underground metro. Couple this with that fact that its set in Russia, a country whose culture I have always been fascinated by and I'm sold.
I'd say the Soviet brand of communism alongside Nazism are the two things that I am most knowledgeable about in modern history. Both make an appearance in Metro 2033. The fourth Reich controls one line of the underground and the communists another.
Bearing in mind all of the above this novel should really find it easy to satisfy me. All you have to throw together now is a semi interesting story line with some gritty characters that I can get behind and you'll have a happy fan with a 5/5 rating.
And yet I come out of it not underwhelmed but slightly indifferent. I felt the book lacked consistency most. Some sections really draw you in and you think this is going somewhere good and then a curve ball will come out of nowhere and it won't necessarily be as interesting as what you thought might happen. I felt like I went through 40 pages of good stuff, to then be hit with 30 pages of something that just completely cut the tension.
Its a little bit all over the place. Its almost like too much gets crammed into the same novel and the effect is that ideas that could have really shone; directions the story took that could have really hit home, end up being slightly watered down and a little disappointing.
There's this great section towards the end where you're getting sucked in and you think you'll finally come to a racing conclusion and then bam, the air goes out of it when the author starts describing in detail yet again another metro station and more decrepit inhabitants. I kid you not, there was 50 pages left in the book. I think if it was me who had written the tale I would have gone in a completely different direction with it all.
Don't get me wrong it has its plus points. The world is well built and it makes you think that the existence of the Metro in that form could be real if there was indeed a nuclear attack, minus the supernatural stuff of course. The characters are pretty good, people like Khan and Melnik are interesting. There's a total lack of females in the book now I think about it. It's a totally male dominated, dreary tale but it has its merits.
You may be sat there reading this thinking that by the sounds of my review I've not really enjoyed it all that much so why the 3 and a half stars. Well I did enjoy parts of it and even though I was left wanting with a lot of it. The strength of the world and the idea are enough for me to appreciate the imagination that went into it, even if the execution was a little off kilter for me. I still found it worth my while, I didn't want to quit reading it even if some parts were tough going.
Artyom kept dragging me back. I wanted to see if he would attain his goal and the unpredictability of the setting gives you enough to think that maybe there is this shocking ending that's going to make you say wow as you put the book down. So not to give anything away I say, if it appeals to you, then give it the benefit of the doubt and go for it. It might prove to be more fulfilling for you than it was for me.
But my overriding feeling is indifference tempered by an appreciation for the imagination involved.
If there's any spelling or grammatical errors or I contradict myself I apologize, I've just smashed this review out in the last 30 minutes and not edited it. I will when I get time, enjoy.