The year is 2033. The world has been reduced to rubble. Humanity is nearly extinct. The half-destroyed cities have become uninhabitable through radiation. Beyond their boundaries, they say, lie endless burned-out deserts and the remains of splintered forests. Survivors still remember the past greatness of humankind. But the last remains of civilisation have already become a distant memory, the stuff of myth and legend.
More than 20 years have passed since the last plane took off from the earth. Rusted railways lead into emptiness. The ether is void and the airwaves echo to a soulless howling where previously the frequencies were full of news from Tokyo, New York, Buenos Aires. Man has handed over stewardship of the earth to new life-forms. Mutated by radiation, they are better adapted to the new world. Man’s time is over.
A few score thousand survivors live on, not knowing whether they are the only ones left on earth. They live in the Moscow Metro – the biggest air-raid shelter ever built. It is humanity’s last refuge. Stations have become mini-statelets, their people uniting around ideas, religions, water-filters – or the simple need to repulse an enemy incursion. It is a world without a tomorrow, with no room for dreams, plans, hopes. Feelings have given way to instinct – the most important of which is survival. Survival at any price.
VDNKh is the northernmost inhabited station on its line. It was one of the Metro’s best stations and still remains secure. But now a new and terrible threat has appeared. Artyom, a young man living in VDNKh, is given the task of penetrating to the heart of the Metro, to the legendary Polis, to alert everyone to the awful danger and to get help. He holds the future of his native station in his hands, the whole Metro – and maybe the whole of humanity.
I am going to be blindingly blunt with you and this book, dear readers: I haven’t got a clue what I just read. There was the Russian underground in Moscow. There was some weird psychological stuff going on. Lots of preaching about the creation of man and the situation in the Metro and why it all came to be. [The reality is that human’s bombed each other to almost extinction, contaminating the Earth and hiding underground].
I have several problems with this book:
– mutants/evil assed creatures just wouldn’t have developed as quickly as the timeline suggests – less that 20 years from what I could make out.
– there was so much preaching in the different ideologies that it just put me off and I found it to be really quite boring – from fascism through to having a Jehovah church in the metro.
– I didn’t need to know the description of each and every station, especially considering they all looked more or less the same [from what I can figure out]
– There are literally zero women in this book, unless they’re crying or wailing. If this were a real situation women, in the sense that there were a lack of fighters and the world was going to pot, there would be women fighters alongside the men.
– Polis. Or whatever it was.
– The Kremlin – what, now there are magical powers as well as weird mutant monsters?
– Vampires? What?
– The rats. Was that a nod to James Herbert, or just a convenient story technique to explain how Artyom came to live a VDNKh?
Like I say I am not quite sure what I have just read. I put it somewhere in the level of confusion as “John Dies at the End”, the storyline seems to jump all over the place, without really having a developed plot. The last few pages through a curveball on the situation as is, and perhaps the evil beings aren’t quite so evil after all, but it’s okay because we’ll still blow them up.
The most frustrating things about this book is that I really wanted to like, to be into it, to have the atmospheric chills from it. For me, that didn’t happen. It came across as far to boring for that. Perhaps cutting out a lot of the description could have helped. I don’t know.
It was translated from Russian, so perhaps something got lost in translation for me.
Onto something else now, though.
Take it easy folks,