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Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?
Overall I am glad that I listened to this book. There were some points when I was second-guessing my selection and not enjoying the story due to some elements of the writing. As an example, the author at times rambles off into characters' daydreams or deeper thoughts, which, while interesting, are not always particularly consistent or believable for the character in question.
For example, some of the lines of thought explored by the main character seem far too sophisticated for the level of education and experience he is described as having, and seem to come through more as the author's own opinions on those subjects rather than the idle daydreams of a young man. The same occurs with some of the dialog of other secondary characters, wherein they are presented in one manner, then suddenly they are espousing a point of view that does not seem consistent with what had been presented beforehand.
Those complaints aside, there are some genuinely unique and memorable scenes in the book, and the story finished strong, which made up for my complaints. I am glad that I did not give up on the story and ask for a replacement book (which I was close to doing, about half way through).
How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?
The author's use of Russian location names, while adding to authenticity, is very difficult to follow in an audio-only format for a listener who is not familiar with the language. Many of the metro station names are very similar and often mentioned in relation to each other in quick succession (e.g., sentences along the lines of 'first they went to station A, then from there to station B, and from there made their way to Station C,') which can make it difficult to follow. This likely is not an issue in print form.
Also, the author has a strange habit of using second-person phrasing when describing the experiences of the protagonist, which will bother the English grammar nerds out there (e.g., a scene in which Artyom enters a dark area, and the narration states something along the lines of 'it is so dark that you cannot see anything').
Which character – as performed by Rupert Degas – was your favorite?
Artyom is the main protagonist and also is the most realistic in terms of being a flawed character. Rupert Degas' performance of all the characters was varied and impressive, and the accents applied were very convincing to a listener with little exposure beyond the Hollywood version of a Russian accent. It was seldom difficult to tell which character was which as the performer gave each their own unique tones, inflections, and mannerisms.
Any additional comments?
There is a technical error early in one of the chapters wherein the brief "music" clip that bookends each chapter plays again, overlapping with the narrator's audio. I believe it was around chapter 10 or 12 when it occurred.
23 of 25 people found this review helpful
A nuclear war in 2013 wiped out most of the population of the world, and the remnants living underground in the Moscow subway tunnels believe they are the only humans left alive. Each station in the old metro is now its own little city-state. The main character, a young man named Artyom, is sent on a quest to another station. Along the way, he meets Nazis, Communists, Satanists, monks, cannibals, cultists, flying monsters, and mutants. The ending is ironic and grim, as befits a Russian novel taking place after the bombs fall.
Apparently a big cult phenomenon in Russia, which has spawned sequels and video games, Metro 2033 reads a lot like an old-school post-holocaust fantasy, with a man of the new world journeying through the wreckage of the old one, missing the references that are left for the reader to recognize. It also reads a lot like an old-school dungeon crawl, which makes it both repetitive and fun, though I'm afraid the repetitiveness caused me to tune out at several points in the story as I listened to the audiobook.
Artyom's quest basically consists of going from one station to the next, finding each ruled by some twisted microcosm of the old world (the Red Line, the Fourth Reich, the Watchtower, etc.), escaping, and moving on, acquiring and losing companions along the way.
It's not hard to see how this would adapt well to a game. The writing was often psychologically deeper than your typical mutant-haunted post-apocalyptic tale, but the descriptiveness of the prose seemed to fall a little flat in translation. It's definitely a little different in tone from a Western sci-fi novel, even though it conforms to the genre fine. Had it been a little bit less of a dungeon crawl, I would probably have enjoyed it more, but after the third or fourth narrow escape from underground morlocks, I began to simply become impatient for the climax. I suspect, however, that there are a lot of references and in-jokes that didn't translate well into English.
I was not a big fan of the narrator, who was not terrible, and had a properly deep, sonorous Russian voice, but his tone was flat and he frequently dropped his voice so low that I could not hear his words while driving unless I turned the volume all the way up.
41 of 48 people found this review helpful