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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.*
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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.
5 of 7 people found this review helpful