Metro 2033 really is like nothing I've ever read/heard before, and the plot never follows your expectations. There are multitude of characters, and no..Show More » matter how briefly they appear, you get the sense that they are beings in their own rights, who have full lives that happen to momentarily interconnect with Artyom's, as opposed to being literary devices to serve the plot's goals - something I have rarely come across. I've never had such a curiousity towards so many characters, and when you leave one behind, you are torn between excitement for the plot advancement and a sort of "wait, I want to learn more about this guy!".
The is a lot of backstory and explanatory asides in Metro 2033, particularly in the early chapters, however it never feels dull or slow, and it does really help to set the scene. I loved hearing about the different politics and religions that are found at each station, as you could really feel the amount of thought and skill that has been put in to making each station as unique as each character.
Rupert Degas should be praised for being an absolute joy to listen to. Having absolutely no familiarity with Russian, and seeing things like "VDNKh" in the blurb, I was worried that I would get lost in all the names and places, but Rupert is clear and enunciate. Furthermore he makes each character's voice distinct, so that you can easily tell who is speaking, without having to rely on "said ...." markers.
My only tiny gripe is that it was not very scary, as I was expecting - however this might be that the friend who recommended it to me over-hyped this aspect in an effort to get me to read/listen to his favourite book.
On the whole - an engaging and fascinating book full of rich detail that is incredibly well read. I highly recommend.