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109 of 118 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Roughly handled and strange
I suspect that many people will come to this book via the recently-released game. The novel contains a great deal less violence overall than 4A's shooter, and there is very little of the tense and desperate combat that marks the game's best moments. In exchange, the story of the novel is much more terrible and makes more sense. The majority of the people in the Metro of...
Published on May 7, 2010 by Michael Clarkson

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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Good, Overall
Looking back, the good things about Metro 2033 outweigh the bad. The story, outside of a few chapters, is enjoyable. At times, the atmosphere sucks you in and is thoroughly creepy. But, as you get further into the book, you see the same words used over and over again to describe stations that try to come off as different. I realize it's an underground tunnel system, but...
Published on August 12, 2010 by Bukkacake


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109 of 118 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Roughly handled and strange, May 7, 2010
This review is from: Metro 2033 (Paperback)
I suspect that many people will come to this book via the recently-released game. The novel contains a great deal less violence overall than 4A's shooter, and there is very little of the tense and desperate combat that marks the game's best moments. In exchange, the story of the novel is much more terrible and makes more sense. The majority of the people in the Metro of the book are so small, so petty, and so evil that one almost wishes that Artyom would tear through them with a machine gun as he can in the game. The virtue of his mission fades more with every passing station, and with every pointless death. This definitely isn't an uplifting exploration of man's potential for good.

Glukhovsky's world feels rather weak initially. There is a parade of unsurprising villains -- callous businessman, suspicious communists, cruel fascists, entitled thugs -- and a tour of different philosophies governing the Metro's people that, due to the pressure of Artyom's quest, never gets more than skin-deep. At times the intense fracturing of the world got to be a bit much to swallow. The degradation of learning, in particular the absurd superstitions of the Brahmins in Polis, felt like too much of a descent in too little time. Yet Glukhovsky is at his best when the people get their weirdest -- the twisted luddites of the Great Worm cult were more interesting than most of the other antagonists, and in a certain way they were more believable than many, too. The atmosphere of desperation and the oppressive ruin of the world are compellingly conveyed, however, and in general the story is solid and colorful.

The translation by Natasha Randall is fairly robust but would have benefited from some additional editing.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exhilarating and paranormal experience, April 30, 2010
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J. Rodriguez (Houston, TX USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Metro 2033 (Paperback)
The book was the foundation of the recently released video game Metro 2033, and it's highly accurate of how the game depicts the book. Metro 2033 makes you really wonder how life would be in a metro station that was built for survival, but in the end it separates the people to their beginning stages of ideologies. Dmitry is such an excellent writer that makes you really think about the underworld of the metro, and I praise the imagery and descriptive writing style he has, from the smallest parts as in Hunter's facial features, to the largest parts as in the nuclear winter of Moscow itself. This has been the best book I have read in the science fiction genre, and I will reread it to the extent. I received one of the few copies to be sold in America from amazon's paperback copies, which were sold out in a few hours, and I find myself lucky to have received it. I also have read the intro to my classmates, and they themselves have wanted to take the book from me! Although I HIGHLY RECOMMEND PLAYING THE GAME BEFORE BUYING AND READING THE BOOK!!!!! I am highly anticipated for the Metro 2034 release, and hopefully the next sequel game for Metro 2033. Oh, and the Hollywood movie for Metro 2033. Get this book for a friend of yours that appeals to science fiction, they will thank you. Trust me.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read sci-fi!, August 12, 2012
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"Metro 2033" - what a powerful experience! Magic and real, beautifully written, pulling you in, fast and slow, burning in your mind a horrible vision that wisely reflects all the main philosophies of the mankind... and when you think that you know how it ends it turns everything upside down with a powerful beautifully crafted twist - you could see it coming, but you didn't. A few friends of mine and their kids like the game based on this book, it has a cult status... but this book is a thing of its own. It's a must read for smart sci-fi readers and for those who want to try this genre. And don't be fooled by the genre itself - it's the smartest sci-fi roller-coaster that will keep you on the edge of your seat and will surprise you at the end. A haunting experience that you'll keep thinking about long after finishing the book...
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars O brave new world..., February 22, 2013
This review is from: Metro 2033: First U.S. English edition (METRO by Dmitry Glukhovsky) (Paperback)
The Russians have a skill in writing apocalyptic, nightmarish stories. You only have to read the Strugatsky Brothers' "Roadside Picnic" (or watch the film version, "Stalker"), Gansovsky's "A Day of Wrath" or watch Lopushansky's amazing "Letters From A Dead Man" to realise that they understand what it is to live on the edge of the abyss.
Claustrophobic, dark cul-de-sacs of danger and terror, "Metro 2033" is a world of uncertainties and fear, hung on the fringes between survival and death. Criminals and refugees, traders and mystics... bullets used as currency... fear, and always uncertainty.
Artyom, our hero, is asked to deliver an important message that could affect the survival of humankind in the subways. On his way to the centre he is aided, and hindered, by a motley crew of individuals who reflect the chaos that reigns below. The voyage is full of menace (though moments of almost calm menace and surreality are not uncommon).
There is one brief sortie to the surface that becomes an adrenalyn-packed nightmare. I never realised that you can read a book through your fingers as you wait for the horrors to leap out from the ruins and the dark.
This is, of course, an Odyssey and our brave Ulysses has to strive through his labours as he comes face-to-face with the demons that litter his nightmare world distorted and turned inside out by humanity. His is a noble task and he is aided by heroic figures, heroes that could have stepped out of the ancient myths... Yet questions and doubts are raised constantly... what sort of humanity is it that Artyom wants to save?... and what nightmares come flowing down the dark tunnels of the Metro.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Good, Overall, August 12, 2010
This review is from: Metro 2033 (Hardcover)
Looking back, the good things about Metro 2033 outweigh the bad. The story, outside of a few chapters, is enjoyable. At times, the atmosphere sucks you in and is thoroughly creepy. But, as you get further into the book, you see the same words used over and over again to describe stations that try to come off as different. I realize it's an underground tunnel system, but if you don't have something nice to write, don't bother. Artyom's character is difficult to relate with. Sometimes his personality or actions drive the story forward; other times he seems empty and dimwitted, which can become irritating given all the disturbing things he comes across. When he does come through, it's satisfying.

Probably the worst thing about this book is its editing. A few errors here and there aren't a big deal, but they are so fluent it may grate on your nerves by the end of the book. Typos and grammatical errors can be found every few pages, making you feel like the editor cared absolutely nothing about the final product. I'm no English major, but this is something I paid money for, and it would have been nice to see the polish this story deserves. I just wish they would've handed the book to another person to edit the translated work.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't Do Itself Justice, June 2, 2013
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As was the case with the polish author, Andrzej Sapkowski's internationally renowned Witcher Saga, author Dmitry Glukovsky's work has found a new audience within the western hemisphere with the release of a series of videogames within the mythos of his novel, opening his work to a much wider demographic who would traditionally shy away from reading foreign works of fiction. With this in mind, I went into Metro 2033 without playing the game of the same name nor its sequel, Last Light, in an attempt to judge the book upon its own merits rather than the inspiration for a videogame. Unfortunately, Metro 2033 didn't live up to its lofty reputation in my personal opinion. Where the book definitely deserves credit is with its unique take on the post-apocalyptic genre, a scenario which is becoming all too familiar as of late due to many authors providing a mere "me to" rather than a unique take on the genre. Yet with all of its ambition and bright ideas, Metro 2033 fails to establish any tangible gravitas with the reader beyond its gripping concept.

Before discussing the book itself, I must first address the English translation, specifically the Kindle version. I'm no expert on Russian linguistics or their literary format, however the manner in which Metro 2033 has been translated into English feels completely rushed and lacking any form of polish. Paragraphs aren't properly formatted so reading them becomes a true test of patience as they continuously run into other sentences. While quotations feel crammed into the middle of other sentences, an issue which would often lead to me stumbling over them, making me forget who was saying what or if anyone was speaking to begin with. The entire thing feels completely rushed in order to capitalize on the western audience who has likely already experienced the videogame. Perhaps this is merely a reflection of Russian prose which I'm completely unacquainted with, or a perfect example of shoddy editing. Whatever the reason is, as an English speaking consumer, I found the formatting awkward to read and it continuously took me out of the book's narrative. I wouldn't mention it if it wasn't a serious issue that plagued me the entire time I was reading.

As I was saying at the beginning, Metro 2033's greatest strength is its unique take on the post-apocalyptic genre. We aren't following a lone traveler or their posse as he or she travels across the barren wastes, remarking constantly how the landscape is now a shadow of its former glory. Rather in Metro 2033's case, the characters are forced into the Moscow metro system to seek shelter from the hazardous background radiation from the previous nuclear holocaust. The denizens of the once glorious Russian capitol are forced to scavenge for food like rats while living in established city-states comprised of former metro stations. These various stations are also aligned, opposed, or neutral towards various factions within the metro tunnels, each of whom represents real-world philosophies that today's Russia still contends with till this very day. The Hanza, are the Capitalists of the metro, seeking to benefit themselves as a business cartel, whereas the Reds seek to reestablish the old tenets of Russian communism by controlling those under their rule with an iron fist for the sake of everyone's survival. These concepts are made all the more fascinating by the story's Russian perspective, I personally enjoy reading stories that reflect the ideals, thoughts, and philosophies of those who hail from a different ethnicity or country. This is Metro 2033's strongest assets, its fascinating concept, and its Russian perspective.

However, here's where Metro 2033 quickly begins to crumble under its own ambition. Literally from the very first chapter, I found the world-building and overall exposition to be extremely shoddy and amateurish. The moment the book begins, the reader is bombarded with rushed characterization, world-building details, and overall information regarding living in the cramp Moscow metro system. Even after the first chapter is over this problem continues to plague the book. When an author is trying to immerse their readers into their fictional reality they must do so in a well-paced fashion that allows room for elaboration without overbearing the reader. This is Metro 2033's biggest issue, it spends more time explaining its world rather than showing it. It's akin to reading a textbook on a subject rather than being immersed into the author's fiction. I never once dreaded the claustrophobic tunnels of the metro, nor did I feel a sense of dread towards the Dark Ones or any manner of sympathy for the inhabitants of this desolate future. This is because the author conveys all this information in a format that just isn't interesting to read. Everything about Metro 2033 sounds perfectly legitimate on paper; yet it's held back by its flawed execution.

This issue also extends to the characters of Metro 2033, by which I mean there are none. Using the word `character' is a term I feel is inappropriate, for the ones found in Metro 2033 lack any form of personality or presence within the story. They aren't dislikable, but rather they're so transparent that their presence feels inconsequential to the story. They lack any real semblance of place, failing to connect the reader to both the characters, and in vice-versa, the bigger picture. I cannot stress enough the importance of writing compelling characters in one's narrative; especially one that features a dire scenario such as the one found here. Whether it be a post-apocalyptic future or a dystopian nightmare, the use of empathetic characters are absolutely essential to bringing the author's vision to life. Without them, the reader fails to connect to any of the events or conditions that befall the denizens found in the book. The extreme hazards of living in such a scenario soon lose their precedence, eventually making their overall shock value lose their impact upon the reader because nobody we care about is being affected. Strong characters remedy this issue, they provide an outlet for which the reader can become emotionally intertwined with, making the realities of the world all the more dire due to their effects on the characters we've come to know and love. Metro 2033's characters simply fail to deliver the emotional attachment that I feel is necessary in writing a book in this genre.

Metro 2033 is a huge disappointment for me personally since I've been waiting for quite some time for the English translation. I truly admire its original take on the post-apocalyptic genre and its Russian heritage. However, I cannot deny the book's many overbearing faults. For every step that Metro 2033 takes to immerse the reader into its frightening scenario, it takes ten more steps to pull you out. The world-building is incredibly shoddy, while the characters feel like empty surrogates designed for the reader to adopt as their own persona in the book's world; an ironic outcome since it merely diminishes any of the characters' personalities. On paper, Metro 2033 is a brilliant science-fiction novel that explores the darkest reaches of humanity and the lengths they'd go to survive till the bitter end. Yet in its execution, it far from delivered upon its full potential.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Who in the Crap Edited This Kindle Format???, May 19, 2014
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Let's just get the big problem out of the way first: if you're buying this Kindle version of this book, the formating and translation quality is atrocious. It's not just one thing: it's a whole lot of things that compound together to make some paragraphs almost unreadable, and some scenes extremely confusing. Paragraph breaks are rare (like maybe 10% or less of the book); paragraph indentations are non-existent (making some verbal conversations in the book impossible to understand due to poorely related attribution of spoken statements); some sentences have 4, 5, even 6 words smashed together as one word; and of course, there's plenty of grammatical errors and what I suspect to be bad translations. This alone warrants a 2 star reduction on any rating of this book.

Even with all that said, though, the book is fairly good. I suspect that, like many others, I came to this book after playing the game of the same name. To say the game was shockingly original, poignant, and soulful is something of an understatement, and while it's far from perfect, it's something of a work of art. This book is largely the same in many ways, and doesn't hide the fact that it borrows inspiration from things like Homer's The Odyssey or classic adventure stories like Lord of The Rings. It's not a story that is so much about the details (as in, smashing you upside the head with some kind of "whoa, cool" factor). Instead, it's more of a wandering philosophical tale about the rise and fall of humanity, about what we can be at our best and at our worst, told both in a long-view format, and a here-and-now format relevant to the story's place-setting. In addition, the story often takes time to focus on "around the campfire lore" told by various side-characters, which helps to create a truly immersive, mysterious and spine-tingling atmosphere.

Artyom takes on the role of the traveling, reluctant hero who meets all matter of different characters, both villianous and wonderful, and through this device, the author does a great job of relating some very important points about humanity and society. In general, if you disregard the format problems, the translation hiccups, and some of failings in the details, this story is a fantastic modern take on a ethics-exploring adventure tale. It's a creatively original story about life and death and finding meaning somewhere in the middle of that.

However, one can't ignore the issues with the story either. Whether as a result of bad formatting, a bad translator, or the author's own shortcomings, this story is not without glaring problems. One is the fact that this story can't decide what genre it wants to be. While ostensibly a sci-fi apocalypse story, the author freely and without much logic mixes in elements of fantasy; there's a few telepaths, a possible sorcerer, maybe some ghosts here and there, some demon-like monsters that defy the rules of physics, and way too many fantastical mutants that managed to arise in only 20 some years (keep in mind that, in reality, heavy radiation exposure outright kills all life, most radiaological mutations end up sterilizing, killing, or rendering the victim incapable of surviving in its habitat, or creates mutations that are so minor as to be relatively indistinguisable from normal random variety in nature). While many of these elements are somewhat explained away as being in-universe lore spun up by frightened humans around a campfire (in one case, what at first appears to be the shrieks of the dead twisting the minds of the living is later explained off-hand by someone as being sub-aural bass waves that create stress in humans), many of them are not or are too fantastical to be anything but pure fantasy. In addition, some scenes are not described very well, resulting in confusing action elements, broken time continuums, or sections that just kind of float free of the narration and become extended exposition.

Despite all the shortcomings, I would say this is a story worth reading. If you can get past the terribly broken formatting and the failures in narration, the story itself is enlightening, philosophical, beautiful, and occassionally makes you stop and think.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Apocalyptic Moscow Metro in year 2033, perfect setting, July 5, 2013
This review is from: Metro 2033: First U.S. English edition (METRO by Dmitry Glukhovsky) (Paperback)
Metro 2033, the debut novel by Russian writer Dmitry Glukhovsky, is part of post-apocalyptic fantasy literature which finds a certain appeal introducing some original elements and atmosphere.

The title of the book is referring to the Moscow Metro system, year is 2033 and mankind had nearly wiped itself out in a nuclear war more than 20 years ago. So lot of things had changed but some things remained the same, over two decades after the fall of the Soviet Union, Cold War is still present. Survivors of this disaster have taken refuge in the subway system, which was a nuclear shelter, settled into the various stations, which are now representing small countries, each with its own government, atmosphere, rules and political ideals.

Main book character is Artyom, a young man who will travel all around this Metro system to save remained humans from invasion of Dark Ones, mutated creatures who live on the surface, a place now deadly to humans in so many ways. On his way, he will meet all types of people, some of them friendly, some more hostile, but all of them products of the different ways in which people deal with crisis and a harsh life. At first Artyom wanted to become stalker, one of seasoned explorers and warriors who alone dare to travel to the surface in search of rare supplies, but as plot unfolds his motivations would start to change.

Throughout the book, an atmosphere of dread and suspense is maintained, lot of violence and gore present, especially considering how creepy some of the hostile forces Artyom are encounters on his journey.

The plot itself is not totally satisfying, Artyom going from one place to another without any clear goal beyond survival and "saving his home" and especially with ending which seems to be twisted around in many ways, sudden, enigmatic and dreamlike, and leave us with many questions.

Also, character descriptions are not always clear - it looks as Artyom isn't really interested in what goes on around him or what people around him are thinking. Beside his stepfather he didn't made any friendship and he doesn't have many constant companions. Also lacking are strong woman characters, practically absence of women is absolute in any role that could be considered more than minor.

So, it could be said that main book protagonist is the Metro itself. This is the area where the book is showing its true potential. As an adventure setting, this subway network with its little Greece-like polis - stations, political factions (communists, capitalists, fascists, independents, mutants, cults), and oppressive atmosphere is perfect. It's not surprise that video game and its sequel has already been made, because setting and atmosphere are just perfect.

Without mentioned minor drawbacks, Metro 2033 is a very entertaining book, with enough action and suspense not only for horror/fictions fans. After book is read, what sticks to your memory the most are geography and setting of the Moscow Metro, perfect setting for so many other stories which could be told.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book, poor translation and rendering, July 19, 2014
By 
Terry Hutt (Running Springs, CA) - See all my reviews
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I bought this book because of the computer game "Metro: Last Light". I am reviewing the Kindle version.

This is a good book and if it had had a good translation and rendering on Kindle I would have given it four stars.

The premise is that Russia has been through a nuclear war and survivors are now living in the Moscow Metro system. Each station has become a village with a tribal mentality. Travel is difficult and dangerous and technology is primitive and focused on defense and survival - much like Europe in the Dark Ages.

There's a lot of violence in the novel, but also a lot of philosophy and mysticism which makes for an interesting read. I can see why it has engendered a video game and been translated out of Russian. Unfortunately this translation is awkward and does not create the same vivid images in the reader's mind that I suspect the original Russian did. There is also some odd phrasing that makes it obvious that the original is Russian, for example "They were altogether only fifty yards from the station". I'm not sure if this was deliberate, to keep the Russian flavor, or not.

I recently read the excellent translation of War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, translated by Constance Garnett which flows beautifully. This translation does not meet that standard, which is a shame because the author can clearly write wonderfully descriptive prose.

Lastly there are problems with the Kindle rendering. In many places four or five words will be run together with no spaces. There's no excuse for that - a simple spell checker would have caught that problem.

I can't wait for the movie. Who would play Artyom, I wonder. We might need to wait until Russia stop shooting down airliners before the US public has an appetite for Russian themed films, though.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly powerful post-apocalyptic horror novel!, June 30, 2014
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This review is from: Metro 2033: First U.S. English edition (METRO by Dmitry Glukhovsky) (Paperback)
Whether it's considered truly to be a horror novel or not, Glukhovsky's masterpiece is an instant classic for the genre. Set in the ruined remains of the Moscow Metro subway system twenty years after the end of the war that left Earth an uninhabitable shamble, young Artyom, a citizen of the VDNKh station, sets out on a mission to save his station and the whole Metro from an inhuman threat.

I'll keep this spoiler free for you out there. This book is a hard read, but the reason for that is all a part of the frightening and oppressive mood the story is trying to set for the reader. To be honest the book has a very harsh and dystopian feel far more than any other novel of its kind I've ever read. The Metro feels dark and foreboding as the main character moves through it and his experiences are nothing short of terrifying. Each station has its own government, social structure, and feeling. The main character's home of VDNKh is homey but still a dark and dank place where the inhabitants live in constant fear of being wiped out by rats, other factions from different stations, or the newly emerging "Dark Ones". The city of Polis is a grand and beautiful city, but ruled by two oppressive classes that can't agree. The "Red" Line. The Fascists. Many many others. All of them coalesce into this sinister dank puddle of humanity that brings out both your anger and pity for the denizens of this subterranean hell. The book is a long hard slog because of its dystopian and oppressively dark tone but all is revealed in the ending. Believe me, it's an ending that will make your head spin.

In terms of writing and the way the story is presented a reader might think, "When will the madness end?" as they read. This is all a credit to the writer stringing the reader along to feel this way and it does pay off at the end, with a bang. So if you decide to read this book, stick with it until the very end. You won't be disappointed. The fantastic story by Dmitry Glukhovsky is one for any post-apocalyptic or horror junkie to add a special place on their shelves for.
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Metro 2033: First U.S. English edition (METRO by Dmitry Glukhovsky)
Metro 2033: First U.S. English edition (METRO by Dmitry Glukhovsky) by Dmitry Glukhovsky (Paperback - January 17, 2013)
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