The year is AE3, three 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. 17-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...
©2014 Joel Ohman (P)2014 Joel Ohman
Kildonan by the sea
If you inhabit the world I live in and read the news we all read or if you have been made aware of history, like: Nazis, Khmer Rouge, Stalinism, Mao Zedong, North Korea or thousands of other minor tirants with millions of people at their disposal, you will laugh at the pathetic villains in this book; If the bad guys were as inept at being bad and described, as scary as cardboard cutouts of bad traffic wardens, you will agree with me that this is a dystopia with a family rating. I have been on vacation on scarier places example the Philippines during Marcos time, but perhaps I should not mention him he was one of ours after all.
The only reason this book exist is to satisfy a market, it has no other intrinsic value but the commercial purpose of selling.
Charley the main character, is a very good fighter and wants to avenge his brother, he is a very good fighter and what they did to his brother is unforgivable, but he is a very good fighter, did I mention that he is a very good fighter, well not as many times as the writer of the book. Also he has a score of 118 a very high score and he is a very good fighter with a score of 118 which makes him good looking and a very good fighter, attributes you need when you have a quest of hunting weaponized animals like a snake-ostrich, or the terrifying rhinoceros-giraffe. Do you have any doubt that Chaley With a score 118 and being a very good fighter will defeat all? or perhaps we will be left a a point where he might be defeated but we will find that out in the next exciting instalment?
1984, Animal Farm, We, The Handmaid's Tale, Fahrenheit 451, Oryx and Crake, Brave New World, The Gulag Archipelago are but a few of the books that should be read instead, because they speak for the truly oppressed and point at terrifying possibilities within our societies. They teach us to be vigilant and appreciative of our limited freedoms, like reading books; speaking for the victims of true dystopias they help us recognize and forewarn us of bad, evil ideas and despots that want to control you and me. Because this real books help us see the truth behind the veil of lies power weaves to feed itself.
"A quick read."
This was quite an enjoyable and different Dystopian/Post Apocalyptic read. It had some really strong points and some weak points so for this review, I'm going to list my likes and dislikes.
I think my main dislike was that there wasn't enough information. We never get to see exactly what the "Event" was that created the world they now live in and why the need for the scores.
We don't get a proper explanation of the hybrids. I think they are a scientific thing but I'm not sure because it wasn't really explained.
We don't get an explanation of how people get their scores initially. I know they can up their score with their usefulness but how do they get them at the start?
So ya, basically, it's lack of information and world building that are the main problems.
Now onto my likes.
I loved the idea of the scores. The idea of being Zeroed was unique and different.
I loved seeing the hybrids. The combination of animals and their abilities was awesome!
I loved the characters. Charlie is a good solid hero. He believed strongly in the unfairness of the system and was willing to stand up for others no matter the cost. He has a high score but doesn't let that influence him. He lost his brother to being Zeroed so knows what it feels like.
I loved the plot. The system, hybrids and indeed Meritropolis brought a uniqueness to the Dystopian genre. The plot flowed well and was pretty fast paced.
In all Meritropolis was a quick and engaging read. While some elements were underdeveloped, there was still enough in the story that kept me interested the whole way through. It has a lot going for it and I'm hoping to see more from the characters in the future!
I've listened to quite a few audios narrated by Mikael Naramore and he always does a great job. He distinguishes characters easily and gives the right inflections when needed. I loved listening to this in audio and definitely think it was more enjoyable!
* I received this for review from AudioBookBlast. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*
"Problematic, but not without merit..."
In Meritopolis (the city and the book) people are given scores based on their attributes - skills, looks, intelligence, fitness etc. General usefulness to society. To have a low score means you are not worth much, and in a society where resources are scarce it can also mean you are chucked out of the city to survive on your own in the wilds beyond (population is kept down so that food is available, yet unknown to many the high scores eat like kings). This is the premise of the book. Our hero, Charley, has a score of 118 which is considered to be a “one in a lifetime achievement” for someone to have a score so high. He also is young, meaning there is great potential for his score to go much higher. He is also a skilled fighter, apparently one of the best. Nine years ago his down syndrome brother was chucked out of the city because of a low score, embittering Charley against the system. Now he is of an age where he feels he can do something about it. The story follows him as he tries to buck the system and as he slowly gathers people around him who also see the injustice in the system.
The story is set 12 years after The Event. It’s never really made clear what ‘The Event’ is but there is some hints and speculation in the book. Not all of it making sense. However, it is something that caused society to adopt the score system. This Event is one of many things that is not really explained. The whole world is ultimately never fleshed out. Parts of the world are added because they sound cool, but there is no weight to them and they sometime make little sense.
The Score System sounds interesting enough, but it is never actually made clear how the scores are obtained or how they are changed. My description above is as about as in depth as the book goes. It’s based on attributes. It can change. How each is applied or weighted or whatever. It just is.
Outside the city there be monsters. They are all cross breeds of animals. Like a rhino-giraffe, or a gecko-vulture or whatever. Again added because they sound cool, but make little sense. It’s actually suggested that these combinations came about naturally. Really. Because genetics works that way.
There are many other things not fleshed out in the world. There is money but I don’t recall anyone actually mentioned as earning something or buying something at any point. Food is allotted, based on score, not purchased. We get talk to education but it’s not clear what is involved. At least twice Charley references pop culture (“in this score farm some animals are more equal than others” referencing Animal Farm, and “make him an offer he can’t refuse” referencing The Godfather) but as The Event was 12 years ago Charley wouldn’t know these things from before. So they must have come through his education. Would a dystopian school system really teach Animal Farm? Technology levels on the new world are not well defined either. The weapons appear only to be swords and maces style. Not guns. But we have doctors with ultrasounds and similar. What survived the event and what didn’t? Who knows.
Through all these issues the story was actually kind of interesting and fun in a “please don’t think too hard about it” kind of way. The writing itself was enjoyable. The story fast paced.
Narration by Mikael Naramore was pretty good. Probably 3.5 / 5
He generally provided different voices and inflections to the characters. I wouldn’t say they were memorable or outstanding differences but it was enough to keep to allow you to follow who was speaking easily enough. Emotion was carried in the reading. I wouldn’t object at all to listening to more books by Naramore.
Phenomenal book. This is a great narrator and can't wait to listen to the next one!
I was given a copy audiobook, in exchange for an honest review.
Three other platypires had read and loved this one, so I had some pretty high standards for it.
Holy plop, there's some serious stuff going on in here from the very beginning. I couldn't help but be immediately drawn in. I was definitely not disappointed with it.
There's some parts that I wasn't particularly fond of, because I thought it was just overly silly, but it ended up fitting in with the story so I was able to excuse much of it. I also felt like there was a certain depth missing to really help me connect with the story more.
As for Mikael Naramore, the narrator, I knew I recognized him! He's done a couple other series I enjoyed. He's starting to become one of my favorite audiobook narrators.
I can see why the other reviewers enjoyed it. I finished it in a day, because I needed to know what was going to happen next.
"fantastic world you don't wanna miss"
(I received a free audible copy in exchange for an honest review.)
There is a new formula for writing novels these days. Instead of the richness of a stand-alone story that begs for more (check out Dragon Prince by Melanie Rawn), there is a story lacking a bit of detail to be doled out in the next book and the book after that. The design is purposeful, to tell readers that they must purchase the next book in the series if they ever want their questions answered.
I, personally, and apparently quite a few others (according to many, many reviews I’ve seen this year) simply hate this formula with passion normally reserved for pet peeve violators.
It is rare that halfway through the book even though I recognize the use of this formula, I choose to ignore it in favor of the investment the characters pull from me. Listening to Meritropolis, I knew almost from the start that this would be the typical teenage dystopian novel with more to follow; I just had to know more about Charley. I had to understand him.
Sure, the setting is incomplete. There are questions not immediately resolved. That all seemed to fade because Charley is such a complete character. His growth is neither nonexistent nor unbelievable in a moment’s clarity. He’s been thinking and questioning for a while.
The only true hole I see is that Charley is 17. The setting is 3 years after the Event. So then I have questions that are never satisfactorily answered. (Maybe in the next book.)
Aside from those two points, I did really enjoy the story. The writing is fluid. I was able to suspend my disbelief and enjoy the escape. Even though the setting is typical dystopian, the characters stand out brilliantly.
Mikael Naramor does a wonderful job narrating this story. He’s not simply reading. He distinguishes characters without confusion. I would totally listen to him again.
"Great YA book in the Hunger Games vein."
Very entertaining story!
Probably Commander Orson. He had an interesting back story and overall depth and you feel that there was a lot more about him that was revealed in this book.
I thought Michael read this book perfectly. He brought out the story very well and did a good job voicing the various characters. I would certaintly listen to him again.
No nothing extreme. Was entertained from start to finish though and enjoyed the story unfolding.
I thought the book was very good overall. The dystopian story did have a few holes in it, but nothing that broke the the overall story. There weren't too many characters in the book so it was easy to follow. A very entertaining YA novel, highly recommended!
This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review.
"An interesting ride, and an excellent read..."
Post-apocalyptic eugenics and mutation. I know that's four words, but the field required a minimum of fifteen.
Grigor. I like that there is a character so stunningly ugly, so incredibly gentle, and so violently capable... and that he is not the main character.
His ability to change timbre, tone, pacing, and accent allowed each character to stand as their own, besides his 'normal' reading voice. The performance was outstanding. I will be looking for more of Naramore's performances.
I didn't have any extreme reactions to this story. I did like it, though. I felt that parts of it were more suited to a "young adult" reader, but that didn't keep me from enjoying the world that Ohman has created. I also liked the overall moral tone of the story. I can't wait to see more of this world, and more work from Mr. Ohman.
The author's ability for imagery is part of what makes this story work so well. When you get to a point in a story and you are not only imagining what things look like, but sound like and smell like, you know the author has done a good job.
"Cool look into the future"
Very different look at mankind's possible future after an apocalyptic event. The narrator was very skilled at bringing each character to life!
I would try another book by Joel Ohman, and would certainly enjoy listening to another read by Mikael.
I would, because this shows a lot of imagination and a reasonably fleshed out Dystopia, though there are some problems I have with suspension of disbelief and some things aren't spelled out well enough. I figure a few books down the line those problems could've been fixed by writing more so perhaps I'd see improvements.
He has a pretty good voice for the kind of story and provides a decent amount of dramatic dialogue that adds to the overall story. He could stand to work on giving people more their own voices and style, but it was certainly acceptable throughout.
It was, it wasn't too long of a story to listen to and the good qualities outweighed my bad ones to the point where it was a great couple hour diversion into a world I certainly hadn't imagined with some really cool concepts that were just left at face value.
I received the code for this audiobook for free in exchange for an honest review. Something I didn't mention earlier is that while I'd have some reservations about recommending it to someone older or who might try to pick it apart a bit, I would not hesitate to recommend it to the target audience of teens and young adults who would probably find enjoyment in some of the places where I found confusion.
"Interesting Concept of a Dystopian Society"
The three words I'd use to sum up "Meritropolis would be that it's different, effective, and merit-worthy.
I don't recall listening to any other book quite like this one. The story had some highs and lows in vocal range, meaning whenever Charley was angry or shouting it was loud.
Mikael Naramore's performance was great. He portrayed the charaters, especially Charley, really well.
I don't know what I would give this story for a tagline. I think the title fits it very well. You survive by your merits.
I received this audiobook via audioblast dot com newsletter for an unbiased review.
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