The Last Of The Trilogy: An In-Depth Review of "Metro 2035"

English Version | Deutsche Version 

The last part of the trilogy goes full-circle, and we meet the protagonist of the first book again: Artyom. After the events of Metro 2033, Artyom becomes obsessed with the idea that there must be life outside of Moscow. So Artyom takes regular trips to the surface on the off chance to find a radio signal, regularly risking his health as well as neglecting his family. 

This obsession takes a different turn when Homer arrives at VDNKh. Homer wants to write a story about Artyom's adventures with The Dark Ones; during the conversation he slips and tells of a story of someone in The Metro who had been in contact with people outside of Moscow. Artyom makes a deal: Homer is going to lead him to this person, in turn Artyom is going to tell him everything about The Dark Ones. 

His journey is only the start and Artyom stumbles into a conspiracy that is so much bigger than his quest for life outside of Moscow. He wants to tell the people of the Metro the truth but is he going to be able to? Are they even going to believe him? 


"Metro 2035" takes place after the events of "Metro 2034" as well as the events of the video game "Metro: Last Light." As such there are going to be references to a battle of a bunker with the Reds and that Artyom used to be Ranger. 

Now this may sound like you are going to miss out if you haven't played the video games. That fear is unfounded. The story is a bit of "slice of life" and not all of the stories from "Last Light" made it into the book, so they just take inspiration from one another. Whatever is refereed to is in a way explained as well; almost making it into its own event in the books.  Furthermore, "Metro 2034" already established a slightly alternative timeline as the games. So while it might be fun to know the additional medium, it is not needed. The books are as self-contained as the games. 

While the familiar characters are back for 2035, it is clear that the past events changed Artyom. He used to be eager to learn about all aspects of life and was even a little naive. The past events have made him cynical and bitter. It is clear in conversation but is also shines through the change of his narrative voice.

 Not only does this involve his genocide of The Dark Ones, and that nobody believes him when he explains that they only meant to help them - this leads being branded as a lunatic. There is also considerable regret when it comes to the losses The Order suffered during the battle in the bunker. Various times in the book, Artyom mourns that so many of his brothers in arms had to lost their lives, and for what? 

The Order plays a much bigger role than in the prior two books. Prior it was all hush hush but this time we get a look inside the workings and even how the loss of half their people effected them. This tradition of looking at something closer that had only been hinted at in the first book, is used various times. As such, we also get a much closer look at what is happening in the Fourth Reich, and how their propaganda machine works, as well as how they hide their concentration camps from the general public in an effort to no longer appear as cruel. 

However, this time this method of looking deeper into things is only utilized when it becomes plot relevant. So Metro 2035 is far more plot orientated but not as stream-lined as 2034 is. There are passages that are slower, as well as Artyom being slowed down in his journey and the overall plot stops for a longer period.

Nevertheless the hints of the conspiracy are present from the beginning. It starts at a small scale and becomes bigger and bigger until the full massive potential is revealed. This is a rather convenient method of introducing the reader to the idea of being lied to and not believing everything that a person of authority might say. 

Overall, Glukhovsky also plays with the hero not easily reaching his goal. There are various times where you think that he is going to make it, only to be proven wrong, and then again he might make it this time ... but did he really? This even works out towards the end, when you think that the people are finally going to listen and they do but it turns out to be different than expected. I really enjoyed how Glukhovsky's factual writing style plays into these moments. The realisation of being betrayed or running head first against a wall is left to the reader, and only a few pages down passed onto Artyom - if he even has the time for that. 

However, this time around Glukhovsky also experimented with a different method of depicting conversations: most prominent is that there are just direct quotes without explaining who says what. Generally, a great method when you want to convey people in panic without describing the exact event but somewhat difficult to read when it concerns a whole chapter of two or three people having various conversations.

Furthermore, while Glukhovsky is great, and I even dare to say that he excels, at writing complicated characters who deal with events in the dirtiest but seemingly only possible way, he somehow does not manage to reach past the topic of love when it comes to women. Yes, it is not simple and romantic love, and one story is about trying to find love outside of the abusive. While the other can be read as repeatedly falling into the same pattern of toxic love. The male characters also stay in their archetype: i.e. the soldier always remains the soldier, the broker from Hansa is always looking for profit etc, women only ever get to explore the girly topic of love. 

This time Glukhovsky managed to stay away from some of the wording that I called "if this is just internalized sexism of the author, or meant to be part of the character growth." in my 2034 review. He even lets Sasha make fun of those phrases. There is even mention of women taken on some typically male chores - such as women and men defending VDNKh. While it is not perfect, one can argue that there is some growth, which makes we wish that he had reached a little further in regards of the character of Anja and Sasha. 

Since I decided to read this book in German instead of English  I cannot comment on the whole translation. However, this decision was made because the English translation had been heavily critcised while the German was not. Thus I compared the first few pages, and since the German seemed readable better I went this route. However, my thoughts on the German translation are solely discussed in the German version of this review

Overall, "Metro 2035" is not a happy read but it is very well at being that. At the same time, I can see how the genre shift that clearly happens could be off-putting to some readers since the expected a different story. There are weak points, and slower passages. Nevertheless, if you enjoyed the prior books I would not let that stop myself and simply go into this book knowing what to expect. 

Metro 2035 by Dmitry Glukhovsky
Published2016by Wilhelm Heyne Verlag
Series:Метро #3
Original titel:Метро 2035
Translated from Russian by David Drevs
Goodreads:Add to shelf
Content warnings:sexual content, violence and death, mentions of cannibalism

this sheet contains the meta data of the German edition I read for this review! 


  1. I haven't heard of the series or author, but it sounds intriguing. It's interesting that the English has more criticism over the German, I've never seen that with a book before! Great review.

    Anika |

    1. Thank you! I suppose there is a first time for everything :p

  2. I have to be honest, this isn't my genre, but I think I have a few friends who would enjoy (if that's the right word) the series. Thank you - also how odd that the translations garner different reviews!

    1. I was also surprised that the translations differ this much! But I noticed that this is an ongoing "issue" within the series. Even the first book has a little more "vibe" in German ^^


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