As soon as I played the first video game, I knew I had to read the book. I have a thing for wanting to read the novels games are based on after I’ve played them, and Metro had me hooked from the start.
The story follows our protagonist Artyom, a teeanger who lives in the metro below Moscow – the world’s largest bomb shelter. The world above ground is gone, a toxic wasteland ruined in an apocalyptic war. A radiated desert where more resilient creatures than humans have begun carving out new homes for themselves.
Seeing as I’ve played the games I knew what to expect, but the book still surprised me. The writing paints a dark and depressive picture of future Moscow. It’s almost clinical at times, cold and horrifying. Probably not for everyone – monotonous is something I’ve seen other readers call it – but I think it adds a layer of reality to the world it tries to create.
The book is also very philosophical – or rather – Artyom is. He often wonders about the world, the now, the past, what has happened, what will happen. Sometimes it sounds pointless, because Artyom’s thoughts are often left unresolved before we’re onto a next part of his journey, but at the same time, this is what Artyom’s life is. An endless, unanswered existence.
When I finished the book, I asked myself what the hell the point of the plot was, because I felt it didn’t go anywhere. Mind you, this was only after the fact – it wasn’t until I was done that this thought struck me, and now that I look back on it, I kind of like the symbolism in it. I’ve seen other readers question this, but if you look at it from Artyom’s perspective I think it makes perfect sense.
If you like post-apocalyptic horror-thrillers and you’re ready for a philosophical journey through a terrifying wasteland, then I highly recommend this.