Of the ones I've read (which admittedly aren't that many), there isn't a single book by a Russian author that isn't packed chock-full of descriptions, long confusing names and equally confusing locations (this has more to do with me being unused to their naming fashion than anything else, though). Metro 2033 is not much different: I found many of the station names a tad confusing until about halfway through the book, and I kept mixing them up. The descriptions were extensive, but pleasant despite the very lousy translation. If you like the subject and you read it properly, it will really transport you to their world of darkness. I did take a bit to start really getting into it though.
Alongside the detailed (if sometimes confusing because of the bad translation) descriptions of physical places came the heavy description of politics, mostly on a per-station basis. It was obvious each little station had their own world, ways of behaving and politics to follow. This too was a bit confusing to me at first, and I couldn't help but feel slightly identified when Artyom felt totally in the dark about matters mentioned.
The story is pretty basic, but quite enjoyable- not because of the story or the characters itself, but because of the way the world is painted for us. The characters could have had more depth, though (or rather, been developed more as they traveled the metro lines), and the religious cults Artyom encountered did quite a bit to make me feel quite uncomfortable and nervous. Man, would I have run the opposite way!
And what happened to Khan? I sure hope we get to see more of him in book two- he was a bit of a wacky dude, but I liked him.
My only real complaints are on the Kremlin storyline, perhaps something was lost in translation and I just didn't get it because of it.
The Kremlin thing didn't seem very well explained to me anyhow.
Was the underground goo-thing that powerful that, whomever stared the way of the surface-Kremlin was drawn to it by it? Or was the surface-Kremlin a different thing from the underground-Kremlin? And what about the shining rubies or whatever?
Was the goo-thing really a biological weapon or just another mutation?
And the part with Oleg dying, after all they had gone through to get the boy- that felt just like a low blow. Couldn't they have just saved the kid at the last minute? I admit I was hoping he'd die or something because I really hate disobedient kids that get everyone else in troubles, buuuut it felt bad he did die because it was a dumb death and I actually liked his father. I saw no sense in him 'reacting' just when the kids jumped. It felt lame.
At any rate, I loved the book, and I definitely want to read more of the story.