Monday, November 16, 2015

Review: The Breeding Tree

Title: The Breeding Tree
Author: J. Andersen
Grade: A+

Synopsis from the back of the book
When seventeen year old Katherine Dennard is selected to become a "Creation Specialist" in Sector 4, the opportunity sounds like a dream come true. But Kate soon discovers the darker side of her profession - the disposal of fetal organs and destruction of human life. It makes sense, really. In a society where disease and malformations don't exist, human perfection demands that no genetic "mutants" be allowed to live. For Sector 4, "survival of the fittest" is not just a theory - it's The Institute's main mission.

When Kate discovers that The Institute is using her DNA to create new life, her work gets personal. In order to save her unviable son, she'll have to trust Micah and his band of underground Natural Born Rebels. The problem is, if The Institute discovers her betrayal, the next body being disposed of could be hers.
As you can tell from many of the books I review, I really enjoy the genre of dystopian fiction. Of course, when reading the synopsis for The Breeding Tree, I was instantly hooked. Katherine, or Kate as she is come to be known, lives in a dystopian society where everything is monitored, from food intake, what your job is, who you date, and who has children and even what kind of children. The society that the book is set in only allows children to be born if they are without defect. If they are fond to be nonviable, which means they have any sort of flaw, they are disposed of. When Kate is assigned the job of creation specialist, this is a job she must learn to do. Along the way Kate becomes friends with people that are fighting this perfect society and they make a huge impact on many of the decisions Kate has to make.

I absolutely LOVED this book. Once I picked it up, I could not put it down. I feel like the issues of birth and when a child is considered a child is a hot topic in this day in age. Anderson is able to discuss this subject in a nonthreatening, but very thought provoking way. It brings up questions in the readers mind such as, at what point is a life considered a life, or would it be possible to have a perfect society?I think that Anderson also makes all of her characters very relatable to the reader. Every time Kate went through a struggle, or had to make a tough decision, I felt for her.  The book ends kind of on a cliff hanger, so I am assuming this is the start of a series. I think that anyone who enjoys dystopian fiction will be instantly drawn into The Breeding Tree!  Even those who do not typical look at dystopian books will enjoy this thought provoking novel! You can read more about J. Anderson and her books by visiting her blog.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Review: Meritorium

Title: Meritorium
Author: Joel Ohman
Grade: A

Synopsis from the back of the book
Charley has escaped from Meritropolis...

but in his quest to take down the System that has taken his brother from him, he must go through Meritorium, a city where gladiatorial games of life or death combat are waged between High Scores and Low Scores, man and beast.

Charley and Sandy must face man-eating plants, religious zealots, slave traders, and the ever present mutant animal combinations that roam a dystopian Coliseum presided over by Emperor Titus, the one man standing between Charley and the answers he seeks. Man is not an animal, but if they are to make it through Meritorium, will they even be able to tell the difference?

The lines between man and beast, friend and foe, will blur in Meritorium, the riveting sequel to the bestselling Meritropolis.

Meritorium is the second book in the "Meritropolis" series by Joel Ohman. You can read the review for the first book posted below this review! I was a little disappointed by Meritropolis and was hoping to be more excited about the second book. I have to say that the second book did not let me down! This book blew me away! The book picks back up with Charley and the gang on their way to Meritorium. The meet many animal combos and even some interesting plant combos. When they finally reach the city, they are instantly thrown into many situations that keep the reader on their toes throughout the entire book. The System continues to be challenged and Charley, Sven, and Sandy continue to fight it, which brings on a slew of new characters and obstacles. During the course of the book, Ohman introduces as one point the concept of grace into a situation between Charley and another character. I liked being challenged on a mental level on how difficult it is to provide grace to someone who does not deserve. As a Christian I know that I am given grace through Jesus Christ, and recognized this with Charley. It is always a plus when books can make you think on a higher level.

I am not always a hge fan of books that are turned into movies, but Meritorium would make for an epic action movie, along the lines of The Hunger Games" series. Seeing how the animal combos are depicted in real life would be pretty awesome! I was a little sad that we did not get to see what happened to Elena during the second book, but maybe Ohman will bring her back in the next book in the series. Meritorium kept me wanting more and I am anxiously awaiting the third book! I suggest this book to any readers who like dystopian fiction and anyone who is looking for a book to keep them on the edge of their seats. As the second book in the series, you do have to read the first book to understand what is going on in the second book.
Happy Reading!

*I was sent this book to review. All opinions are my own and are not influenced by others.*

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Review: Meritropolis

Title: Meritropolis
Author: Joel Ohman
Grade: B+

Synopsis from the back of the book
The year is AE3, 3 years after the Event. Within the walls of Meritropolis, 50,000 inhabitants live in fear, ruled by the brutal System that assigns each citizen a merit score that dictates whether they live or die. Those with the highest scores thrive, while those with the lowest are subject to the most unforgiving punishment--to be thrust outside the city gates, thrown to the terrifying hybrid creatures that exist beyond.

But for one High Score, conforming to the System just isn't an option. Seventeen-year-old Charley has a brother to avenge. And nothing--not even a totalitarian military or dangerous science--is going to stop him.

Where humankind has pushed nature and morals to the extreme, Charley is amongst the chosen few tasked with exploring the boundaries, forcing him to look deep into his very being to discern right from wrong. But as he and his friends learn more about the frightening forces that threaten destruction both without and within the gates, Meritropolis reveals complexities they couldn't possibly have bargained for...
When I initially read the synopsis for Meritopolis I was very intrigued because I thoroughly enjoy a good dystopian book. I was not dissapointed in that aspect. Charley and the other characters live in a walled city where everyone is given a score. The higher the score, the more "important" or valued the person becomes in the society.  The score can rise and fall based on a person's situation and is constantly reevaluated. When a person's score dips below a certain number, that person is put outside the city walls and "zeroed". Ohman does a wonderful job connecting the reader to the characters who have low scores and making you feel their emotions and the struggle they have with having low scores. Charley, one of the main characters, has one of the highest scores in the city. Thankfully, he does not let this get to his head and truly feels for the other low scores, which many other high-scores do not. One interesting item Ohman introduces into the development of the characters, that I really liked,  is that each of the high scorers has a personal connection to someone that has been put outside the gates and zeroed. Something else I also enjoyed was the animals Ohman has created for this book. During The Event, something caused there to become many different animal combinations, such as a lanther (lion-panther), gobster (goose-lobster), and the vicious rothog (rottweiler-hog). The animal combos take on the characteristics of the two animals and I enjoyed seeing the various combinations Ohman came up with. He puts a picture of a different creation at the beginning of each chapter. As the first book in the series, Ohman ends the book on a cliff hanger, which makes the reader want to pick up the second book. I will be reviewing the second book next!

 I was very excited to read the book after reading the synopsis, but I felt a little let down when I finished it. There were parts of the book that definitely kept me on the edge of my seat and made me want to continue reading, but there were also parts that really dragged for me. I also felt that Ohman introduced certain characters, but did not always explain their purpose, like George, or did not give as much time devoted to them as I wold have liked, like Elena and Bree. As the first book in the series thankfully there is more opportunities for changes and character development. I reccomend this book to anyone that enjoys dystopian fiction and science fiction! You can read more about Joel Ohman and the Meritropolis series on his website!

Happy Reading!