book review

Book Review: Meritropolis - by Joel Ohman

7:57 PM

Summary from Goodreads:
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...

Rating: 3/5
Ever since the undeniable success of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, the dystopian genre has become very prominent in the lives of many, if not all, book lovers. Although Meritropolis, written by Joel Ohman, is completely different plot-wise in relation to The Hunger Games, it is also a dystopian novel. Meritropolis has a noticeably unique plot and a writing style that is simple enough for the age group it is intended for to understand. Even though it has good qualities to it, it is painfully hard to ignore the stereotypically written female characters in the novel.

The story started out interestingly enough for the average reader to get hooked. It was not the kind of sci-fi novel in which the only explanation that is given for the reason chaos is present is that the characters live in a corrupt society. Paired with this explanation, readers are also basically told who is at fault and who is on a quest to right the antagonist's wrongs. This was not the case in Meritropolis. There were events and comprehensible reasons for why people were dying and why leaders were acting the way they did. Because of this, the readers didn't know who to side with, making this book a distinguishable dystopian novel.

Another aspect that perhaps not everyone would catch at first is that Charlie's main goal was not to benefit the society, but to avenge his brother who was a victim of the corruption that is found in the novel. Even when he wanted to 'save' other characters, it was not because he wanted to save them out of the goodness of his heart, but because he didn't want to relive what he experienced with his brother's incident. All in all, his motives were, in a way, selfish (but in all honesty, anything other than that would be completely out of character).

One of the most irksome things in the story, perhaps even annoying enough to stop a person from finishing the book, is the stereotypical portrayal of the female characters. There is only one way to describe every single one of them: Mary Sue. This is really shocking because the minor characters in the beginning of the story had distinct personalities and were characters one would be excited for. These characters, however, were male. Every single time a new female character was introduced, any reader who appreciates the finer things in life would hope and pray that she is somewhat different and a bit more tolerable than the last. The thing is, though, these female characters seem like they were supposed to come off as strong female leads, and they were. But they were inaccurate. They didn't have any depth and they were all ridiculously similar to each other. Interestingly enough,  none of this would have been a problem if the main character were a girl. Nothing would change, not even the name. Even though Charlie is characteristically selfish, writing him as a girl rather than a boy would have been so much more entraining and interesting to read. It would have been unlike any other book and it may have even been even more successful than it is now.

Aside from the disappointing female personalities, Meritropolis is a good book to read if you are looking for a simply written sci-fi dystopian novel with a decent plot. 


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