Review: Meritropolis by Joel Ohman

Title: Meritropolis
Author: Joel Ohman
Rating: ★★★★ (4/5 Stars)
Paperback, 226 Pages
Published September 2014

Summary: 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... 

I received a copy of this book from Joel Ohman in exchange for an honest review, and I'm honestly so glad that I did! It's been awhile since I've last found a YA dystopian novel that doesn't follow the trends, which may be cool but tend to lose their value as more and more books steal their plots. Luckily, Meritropolis wasn't the case!

As the summary explains, Charley is teenage boy out for revenge after his older brother Alec was put outside of the gates a few years back for having Down Syndrome and not being genetically fit enough to get a high enough score to qualify as a functioning member of society. As one of the highest score holders in the entire city, people tend to give him his space. Which is perfect for the boy intent on tearing the city down.

I really, really liked this book and was totally infatuated with the whole idea of Meritropolis - a whole city based on scoring its citizens based on their ability to benefit the society. If anyone has a score lower than a 50, they're put outside the gates that protect the city and at the mercy of whatever freaky animal hybrids lie beyond. (And some of them are creeeepy...bull-lions, lobster-geese, crow-ants, manatee-eels...eesh.) Ohman's world-building skills were absolutely spot-on and I'm seriously jealous of his abilities.

Charley's character especially caught my interest - he's such a profound fighter and a hothead, and even though he's viewed by the whole city as the violent boy with a score getting dangerously close to surpassing that of the city's Commander Orson, he's really just a torn little boy seeking vengeance for his older brother whom he saw tossed outside into the wild world beyond the gates just a few years back. With no parents and then no family, he went on to develop into a hurt, hardened character whose mind it was interesting to get to tap into.

I've read a lot lot lot of dystopian books lately, so I've seen all different plots and characters and backstories and world-ending scenarios and all of that good stuff. I can honestly say that Meritropolis was something new and refreshing that caught my attention as soon as I saw the offer in our email inbox, and I'm glad that I jumped at the chance to try it. I'll also be passing it off to my co-blogger Amber when she's ready to pick up another book (after she makes a dent in her massive TBR pile, that is).

I really, really hope that there's a sequel to this book (no word of it yet, though!) because that ending was far too intriguing to be the end!! All in all, Joel Ohman's Meritropolis is a great YA dystopian book for anyone looking to spice up their doom-and-gloom reading. It's filled with tons of action, heartbreak, drama, and even a teeny bit of romance. It was a great book and I'm glad to have read it!

DISCLAIMER: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own and were in no way swayed by any doings of the author or the publishing company. Neither the author or the publishing company had access to this review before it was posted live on The Book Bratz on the 7th of November, 2014.

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