Verdict: For a thrilling romp through a dystopian city governed by the greater good, MERITROPOLIS deftly sets up a thrumming world ripe for a series. Charley and his allies may have dealt with the Score System, but a sinister force awaits outside the gates.
After an apocalyptic Event, 50,000 people huddle behind the walls of Meritropolis under a harsh Score System that determines everyone’s value to society. After his family and countless innocents are zeroed out, Charley sets out to bring down the System.
Charley graduates from underground to live as a productive member of Meritropolis, a city ruled by a System that constantly evaluates and scores the citizens within its walls. Weekly assessments monitor each citizen for their potential value; those who fall too low are zeroed out and sent outside the walls. Charley lost his entire family to the ruthless system, including an autistic brother. Thanks to years of bullying and education, Charley grows physically, intellectually, and morally strong. His score skyrockets to among the highest of Meritropolis. Once free to roam the city, Charley immediately sets events into motion that bring down the walls and free the city, but also endanger everyone. As Charley and his allies stir up trouble, Commander Orson, the ruler of Meritropolis, is forced to recruit Charley while trying to eliminate him. Charley joins the ranks of the Hunters, tasked with hunting the mutant animal combinations outside the walls for food. He uncovers the shocking truth that the System harvests High Scores for an unknown purpose at the hands of Orson’s father who is away waging war.
MERITROPOLIS is a thrill-a-minute ride through an engaging science fiction world that touches on society, morality, and humanity. The characters are fully fleshed out and behave believably in this strange new world where your societal value is tattooed on your flesh and mutant animals stalk the seemingly abandoned world outside the walls. Charley’s moral compass coupled with a blinding rage works incredibly well at capturing the reader by the throat and never letting go. Even seemingly minor characters like George Jonas the gate engineer are vibrant and keep the world alive in the reader’s imagination. Joel Ohman does a masterful job at rotating character POVs to shine a light on all the seedy corners of MERITROPOLIS. The world building is complex rife with strange animal combinations like crow-ants or bull-lions, which only serve to strengthen the vibrancy of this dystopian thriller. Despite some minor typographical and spelling errors, MERITROPOLIS is a stellar dystopian adventure.
For a thrilling romp through a dystopian city governed by the greater good, MERITROPOLIS deftly sets up a thrumming world ripe for a series. Charley and his allies may have dealt with the Score System, but a sinister force awaits outside the gates.