Author: Joel Ohman
Published: September 9th, 2014
Genre: YA Sci-Fi Dystopian
Recommended Age: 14+
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…
BONUS Original Artwork – 17 original chapter illustrations that precede each of the 17 chapters: Bion (Bull-Lion), Scorpicon (Scorpion-Falcon), Chimpanzelle (Chimp-Gazelle), and more!
of bodies, moving them along like so much flotsam, toward Commander Orson and the gates. Charley watched
intently as each person in the crowd strained to get a glimpse of the little girl.
Charley had read books about hangings in the Old Days, where crowds had traveled from miles around to see,
and even cheer at, the macabre deed performed, but this was different. There was no excitement, but there was
also no undercurrent of disappointment, of sadness, or even of shame; it was business as usual. Someone had
been sentenced to the gates and that someone just happened to be a scared little girl.
Each person in the crowd wanted a glimpse of the girl to see how she would react, to see if they recognized her,
to see the pitifully low Score on her arm, and perhaps to verify that she deserved the gates, but there was no
outrage, no demand for justice. The System had ordered her to the gates, so it must be just. Charley thought
about Sven’s statement: “I’m sure it gets easier” and considered that, maybe, if you see something often enough
and put up with it for long enough, even the most horrendous deed can become part of your daily life. Maybe
you just stop caring.
Was this how the crowd had reacted when Alec was put outside of the gates? Charley wondered. As the younger
sibling of Alec, only eight, and presumably unable to take in what was happening, Charley had been confined
underground during Alec’s gate ceremony—they had simply replaced Alec by assigning someone new to sleep in
his bed that exact night. Had some of the very same people around him now looked at Alec with the same sick
feeling in their stomachs that Charley now felt? Had they remained silent, swallowing their shouts, averting
their eyes, and now, after many such acts of cowardice, they no longer even cared? Bile rose in Charley’s throat.
He wanted—he needed—to care, to hate those who had taken Alec from him. It was all he had.
Charley watched the gloved hands of the guards on either side of the girl squeeze her pale, stick-like upper arms,
roughly pressing her forward, just a few short steps in front of Charley. She faltered, stumbling as the toe of her
slippered foot caught on the edge of a cobblestone, bending her foot back and causing her to let out a sharp cry
of pain. One of the guards on the outer edge, a redheaded Blue Coat with a bristly goatee and arms knotted
with thick cords of muscle, gave a muffled curse and dropped back behind her, harshly shoving her onward.
Her cry ignited some primal part of Charley’s brain: pure emotion, cause and effect. Synapses fired, rage
blossomed. To act was to live, as natural a part of living as breathing. There was no fight or flight, only fight.
In an instant, Charley launched himself at the guards, eyes glazing over, an answering cry rising unbidden
from his lips. His limbs pistoning as if controlled by an unseen puppet master; marionetting in time to the inner
drum beat of angry energy. There was no plan, no strategy, no thinking ahead to plot out actions and
counteractions. There was only the ever-present NOW.
Reviews from the Platypires
Like Post-Apoc? READ THIS. Like Dystopian? READ THIS. Seriously. Just do it. It's going on my list of favorite books of 2015.
Bob says: 5 Platypires because the highest I'm allowed.
Meritropolis vaguely reminds me of another story I read recently that involves a series of mutated creatures of sorts. They’re terrifying, carnivorous creatures that have aggression as a part of their genetic make-up.
Charley is one angry teenager. There were times during the story where I found myself feeling a fraction of what he feels during the book. Anger at the system they have in place, and anger at the way people are so shallowly categorized. Charley is right, of course. Every person matters.
This was a story I enjoyed reading because there have been very few books I’ve come across that are told from a male perspective. This book was well put together in describing different parts of humanity, from those with power to those who are ushered out of the city’s gates. Not everyone is this story has the same agenda, and those agendas clash in what comes to be the climax. Meritropolis has action and violence, but it isn’t overly glorified as some of the things I’ve read in other dystopian novels. It has just the right balance to keep me reading and wondering the what’s and why’s behind the system in Meritropolis.
I award Meritropolis 4 Platypires.
As far as the characters, Charley was very three-dimensional, and it was easy to cheer for him as the protagonist of the story. He's 17 years old, and has been raised in an environment where the weakest and most vulnerable aren't safe from being cast of out the society. Those who are stronger, better fighters and more intelligent, based on a score they're assigned which indicates their value to society are treated better. It's with this backdrop that Charley's story is set. He's seen the effects of this up close and personal when he's lost people close to him, and he isn't alone in his fight.
Grigor is his trainer, and I liked him a lot as well, along with the other members of the team that were trained because of their high scores, including Sandy. Out of all of the group, these two stood out the most. Overall, this was a very well-written book. I'm looking forward to the sequel. My rating is 5/5 Platypires.
About the Author
Joel Ohman is the author of Meritropolis–“The Hunger Games meets The Village
with a young Jack Reacher as a protagonist”. He lives in Tampa, FL with his wife
Angela and their three kids. His writing companion is Caesar, a slightly overweight
Bull Mastiff who loves to eat the tops off of strawberries.
· $50 Amazon gift card (INT)
· 3 x Stuffed Animals (US)