Meritropolis by Joel Ohman is a dystopian novel that will appear to be in the vein similar to The Hunger Games. Like most dystopian novels, including two reviewed previously in this blog, Meritropolis runs along the familiar theme of a barely-in-adulthood main character, Charley battling against an unjust post-apocalyptic system. This same system prior to beginning of the novel sent Charley’s brother to his death. The regime under which Charley and others live scores all of its inhabitants, including those yet to be born, numerically. Only the high scorers are valued as breeders, leaders, workers, hunters, and the like. High scoring though is not limited to possessing a genius intellect. The prowess of war and dashing good looks pump up scores. Illness, age, disability are taboo in Meritropolis. Even young children are not granted exemption. Low scorers are zeroed (i.e. left to be killed by mutant animal combinations) in an oft-repeated public gate ceremony.
There is a hint of young love as well as issues of teenager lust present, though not as all consuming as one would think given Charley’s youthful age. This is not to say that Charley is a Sheldon. Far from it. Charley is a handsome, cunning fighter, who can get along with almost anyone, no matter how low their score. In a way, Charley is nearly a perfect protagonist. His only flaw is his use of big words, which did not seem to fit in with Charley’s character.
Meritropolis is classified as a YA dystopian novel and for the most part, it is. The violence, both the amount and graphic nature, push the novel past a PG rating, though. The excellent battle scenes have a Roman or early Greek feel notwithstanding the mutuant animal combinations. This is where Ohman excels. I can see a line of animal action figures on store shelves in the near distant future.