Saturday, October 18, 2014

Meritropolis by Joel Ohman

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...

My Thoughts:

Wow.  This book garners an “amazing” rating from me, and I don’t hand that out freely.  It took me a few chapters to get into, and  I would have liked to had a backstory to George Jonas’ character, but overall – 4.5.  Perfect for dystopian fans!

Charley is a 17 year old, new to the above ground world hothead with major anger issues.  His brother, Alec, was taken from him when he was 8 years old, simply because Alec had Down’s syndrome (which made him a Low Score).  At the time, Charley didn’t do anything, because he was 8 what could he really do, and the guilt has only festered throughout his life.  In his years underground he, along with all other minor-age children, are taught what the government of Meritropolis wants them to know.  If they have living parents/guardians, they are able to go above ground after their classes to be with their family.  If not, they live underground.  Such was Charley’s life since his parents were killed when he was young.  He doesn’t really have many memories of them.  Once he comes above ground, his is overcome by the guilt that he would face if he stood idly by and let a small girl be put out of the gates because she is crippled.  He takes matters into his own hands and lands himself in hot water by Commander Orson, but Orson has his own plans for Charley.

Meritropolis is a community, if you will, controlled by Commander Orson, who holds the highest of the High Scores.  Orson enforces the System by weeding out the Low Scores, when needed, by putting them outside the gates to be killed by the mutated wildlife, by forcing abortions on Low Score parents, and/or by arranging marriages or “breeding partners”.  Scores are tracked, so you can’t hide or alter yours to try and trick the blue-coat guards on Assessment Days.  Charley and a few other High Scores are recruited by Orson and his goons to be trained as Hunters, and he quickly forms a friendship with a spitfire of a redhead named Sandy.  I really liked her character because she seemed to give Charley the grounding that he needed.  Together, they form a plan to overthrow Orson and his goons (not all of whom are in agreement with the System) so that everyone will be treated equally.  The result however, goes nothing how Charley had planned, but he and his friends do the best they can, given the curveball(s) that they were thrown in the end.

I can’t wait to read the next in this series, as I’m sure there will be another.  Or, I hope so, given the ending of this one.

You really can’t miss the tone of this book.  The dedication itself puts it on a pedestal: “Because everyone matters”.  I guess I feel so strongly about this book because this is something I have always felt VERY passionately about.  It disgusts me that people are made fun of because they have a developmental disorder, or anything of the like.  Did they choose that? Are they any less of a person? How would you feel if it was you? Or someone related to you?  No one person is above anyone else, I don’t care who you are.

“Everyone matters. Even the unwanted, even the unborn, even the disabled.”

Sexual Content: Very Mild (kissing)
Language: Mild (don't remember any until the end)
Violence: Moderate/Heavy
Drugs/Alcohol: None

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