** I tried to spoiler tag this whole post but it didn't work. Obviously, just don't read if you don't want to spoil the first book for yourself if you haven't read it… I feel like I have to say that because on Reddit in general, there seems to be a surprising amount of people on franchise-dedicated subs that look at posts like this before finishing the story. Anyway…
I finished the book 2 nights ago. Took me 10 days to finish it – I don't think I've ever read an entire book in that short amount of time. It was hard for me to put it down. Glukhovsky's writing and imagery is nothing short of amazing (I've heard people say the English translation wasn't great, but I had no problems reading and understanding it. I only noticed a few typos if anything). A few things caught me by surprise, and the feeling of the book is significantly darker than that of the game.
1) The Great Worm Cult member (Dron) becoming hysterical after the priest speaks the truth about the Great Worm, forcing Melnik to shoot him. Glukhovsky's desription of the cannibal's tears falling from his face mixed with drool from his mouth made me feel actually sad for him. Also the monologue leading up to that moment delivered by the priest after Melnik asks him about the missiles I think is the best monologue in the book.
2) The mother at Mayakovskaya station offering her son to Artyom – "Twenty cartridges for a half hour." Just an unexpected turn that was taken from the humorous moment before when she caught Artyom staring at the boy because he reminded him of Oleg, and accused him of being a pervert.
3) Artyom being sold into (or rather gambled into) slavery. I don't know why but I found this part hysterical, probably because I'm accustomed to the invincible badass version of Artyom from the video games. Here in the book, he's now forced to clean out latrines, and to cope with the monotonous, disgusting work, he's drawing conclusions in his mind that human's sole purpose is the 'decomposition of food, and the production of shit'. Also in the part leading up to that section, the mental image I got of vulnerable and innocent Artyom being the only one at the rat race clapping for Mark's rat, Rocket, gives me a laugh whenever I think of it.
4) Artyom finding the remains of the girl in the currency exchange kiosk and reading her notes on the wall.
5) The whole story about the picture Artyom finds that could possibly be of his mother. From him finding it in that apartment (what are the odds?) to Sukhoi – in realistic fashion – not being able to remember if it was her or not as he would have barely seen Artyom's mother's face. Just a really cool, yet sad story element. When Artyom re-unites with his step father towards the end, I was thinking to myself as I was reading "Artyom, don't forget the picture, don't forget to ask him about the picture!" Because with the tone of the story up to that point, for me, it wasn't out of the realm of possibility for Artyom to forget to ask, and by the time he realizes it's already too late and he'd never know the truth. Thankfully that wasn't the case.
6) The creepy, unexplained moments such as in the Great Library, the knocking on the door after Daniel knocks on it. Was it a Librarian or something else? And Artyom seeing something behind the door in D6. Was it actually the great worm, or a working train? Or a drill? Again, never explained and open to interpretation by Glukhovsky. Subtle and brilliant, yet still creepy.
So totally worth the read. And I intend to pick up copies of 2034 and 2035 as well. As far as I understand, in 2034, Artyom is not the protagonist and doesn't return until 2035. And I've read there is a character named Artyom in 2034, but it's not the same Artyom. I am hopeful that the writing and story-telling is just as powerful as Glukhovsky's breakthrough achievement, because while 2033 is no fairy-tale by any stretch of the imagination, this is what I enjoy reading.
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More about MetroPost: "What parts of the 2033 book stuck with you the most? [Spoilers!]" specifically for the game Metro. Other useful information about this game:
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