Reviewing "Metro 2034" by Dmitry Glukhovsky

"Metro 2034" takes place in the same universe of "Metro 2033" but this time the story does not focus on Artyom. Instead, it focuses on three different people: Homer - a middle-aged man who wants to immortalize himself with an unforgettable story, Sasha - who is forced to live in exile with her father, as well as Hunter - who turned darker, more quiet ever since his return from The Dark Ones. 

This time the Metro faces a threat within itself. There is a deadly virus at Sevastopolskaya station, and Hunter believes that the only way to stop its spread is to eliminate the whole station. For this he needs the help of the Order. Even though, he does not know if they would even welcome his return since he became a deserter. In order to make the journey, he takes Homer with him, and on the way, they meet Sasha - who for the very first time in her life, is able to leave her exile and explore the wider metro.


The story is told via two different point of views: one is Homer, and the other is Sasha. Homer is a middle-aged man that strives to live forever within a story. Thus, he wants to go along with Hunter in search of inspiration. Due to his age, he has also lived in Russia before the war, and even worked in the Moscow metro. 

This is not the only difference between the processor and this novel. In fact, the plot in 2034 feels much more linear and streamlined. It feels like a planned plot that the author followed, instead of seeing what would happen around the next corner. 

Due to this, the pacing feels fast and more plot driven. Nevertheless, this story does not lose the human touch. This happens especially in regards to Homer - who has lived in Moscow before the bombs hit. Thus, he has to deal with this sudden shock, and furthermore, is able to recounts the events of the very day when humanity damned itself under the ground. These passages are the ones that are the most harrowing to read, even more so because it mixes cold descriptive style with a human reactions. This way the reader is placed right into the situation but not told what they are meant to feel. 

However, the story also has a sore point - which is Sasha. She has lived with her father in exile and thus, has lead a harsh life. When her father dies, she is finally able to go further and explore the wider metro, as well as trying to find herself. Now, this is a very hard plot in itself to pull off successfully, and you can tell that Glukhovsky tried to take his time to craft a proper story around her. Nevertheless, there are aspect that simply do not translate as well into 2020. 

I don't think that it is unrealistic to want to fall in love and experience life once you are able to, and have the freedom to plan further than one day ahead. Furthermore, I even understand that Sasha would develop feelings for her saviour, being too young and not knowing what these feelings are - even the story shoots this idea down in the end. However, because some words were ill-chosen, as well as prior minor statements, there are pages where you are left wondering if this is just internalized sexism of the author, or meant to be part of the character growth. 

While, in the end, the Sasha's story is not revolutionary (which I doubt it was meant to be), they become part of her growth as she starts to see the bigger picture and stops to romanticize the wider metro. Instead she wants to help, and becomes an independent person. This point could have been driven home in a better manner if some phrases would have been worded differently. 

Even Homer who romanticized finding a great story, and "planned" Sasha's encounters with his plot line, falls from this high horse ... 

The theme of seeing the world as harsh as it is, is also present throughout the development story of the other characters. This especially applies to Hunter, who struggles during the whole story with his psychological issues; and does this in the dirtiest way possible. I feel that the decision to go this way, added to the atmosphere of the metro universe. After all, this is a not a world meant for happy endings. 

In addition, the novel slightly takes from the events for the video game Metro: Last Light (or given the dates, vice versa) - most prominent Milnek/Miller is also in a wheel-chair but it is not explained what had happened. 

This also influenced the translation that as such Milnek is no longer transliterated but literally translated as Miller. While the stations kept their Russian names in 2033, they are stated by their translated counterparts in 2034 - i.e. VDNKh became the Exhibition of Achievements of National Economy, which is a mouthful. It might just be a small side-effect of a different translator and trying to move it closer to the games' translations but I felt that it removed some the atmosphere. 

Nevertheless, "Metro 2034" is a good addition to the Metro universe that adds to this post-apocalyptic world. Despite the story presenting imperfections, it provides an entertaining read for fans of the series.  






Metro 2034 by Dmitry Glukhovsky
 published  2014 by Gollancz
 seriesМетро #2 
 pages    311 
 ISBN13 9781473204300 
 translated from Russian byAndrew Bromfield 
 original titleМетро 2034 from 2009
content warnings:violence
 Goodreads:Add to shelf     


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4 comments :

  1. I really struggle with sci-fi books so I'm not sure how I would be with this book. Looks good and great review.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I don't think I could stick with this one - you are made of stronger stuff than I am ;)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I like some sci fi books and this one sounds interesting.

    ReplyDelete

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