METROPOLIS by Joel Ohman
This book is a dystopian fantasy novel packed with action and drama.
The Event has devastated the world. At 3 years AE (After Event) there were 50,000 citizens of Meritropolis. A system was devised to help them to survive and all the reaidents had agreed to the new system. If the number of residents exceeded 50,000, then someone must be “zeroed”. This meant being put outside the gates to try to survive on their own. “Of course, being zeroed was just a euphemism for being killed, since no one could survive long outside the gates. Not at night, and not for long, anyway.” It was usually the elderly who had already lived a long life, or a sickly child who would likely not have a “productive future,” who were zeroed.
Everyone is assigned a numerical merit score which designates their worth to society. These scores also determine whether they live or die. The reason for this system was simple. The inhabitants of Meritropolis believed that the needs of the many outweighed the good of the few.
However, it is now AE12 and the current teenagers are rebelling against the system. When the original agreement had been reached, these current teenagers had been too young to understand the consequences.
Commander Orson now has the highest merit score of anyone in the city and because of this, he is in charge of Meritropolis. It had been his father who had initially instituted the System.
Charley’s parents had been killed in The Event and he was left with only his brother, Alec. Alec had down syndrome and when Charley was 8, Alec had been taken away by the guards and zeroed in a gate ceremony. It was that day that “had planted a dark little seed in Charley. And that seed had been tended carefully and quietly over the past nine years.” Charley has a high score of 118.
Children stay in the underground dorms until they reach adulthood.
Charley decides to try to stop a gate ceremony for a young girl and ends up living in the high score dorm.
It is there that he starts to discover the secrets that keep Meritropolis running.
It is now up to him and to his fellow high scores to decide if they will live a life of luxury and plenty at the expense of those with low scores, or if they will find a way to fight the system.
How do you decide? Is it better to protect yourself and your closest friends? Or is it better to put your life on the line in hopes of making life better for everyone?
Joel Ohman has managed to create a complex and diverse world that will appeal to all lovers of dystopian fiction.
This is an engrossing and gripping thrill ride that will keep you reading long into the night and will stay with you long after reading the final page.
The cliff hanger ending will leave you wishing that book two was already available. I know that I will be impatiently awaiting it’s publication.
I rate Meritropolis as 5 out of 5 stars.