Author: Joel Ohman
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!