Welcome to the Meritorium Tour
Author Joel Ohman
Author: Joel Ohman
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian Fiction
Length: 262 pages
Release Date: September 27,2015
Publisher: Whitefox Publishing Services
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
~ I received a free electronic copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
“More often than not, change comes because of little choices we make daily. It comes because of a patient and faithful commitment to a different future, and the willingness to do all of the little things, the unglamorous, the dirty, the mundane. It doesn’t usually come about because of one dramatic sacrifice, which is easier in many ways.”
This is the second book in a wonderful new Young Adult Dystopian Fiction series written by the extremely talented Joel Ohman. *** See the post before this one to read my previous 5 Star review of Book One: MERITROPOLIS.
MERITORIUM begins one week after the end of MERITROPOLIS. Charley, Sandy, Orson, Grigor and a group of approximately one hundred other Meritropolis residents have left the city. “Those not still with them had either succumbed to injuries inflicted in the battle of Meritropolis or had simply found the long trek through the wilderness too difficult and turned back, intent on begging their way back to the leeks and cucumbers of Meritropolis.”
The ruler of Meritropolis is traditionally the person with the highest score. At present, that person is Charley. Meritropolis’s citizens all had their scores encoded into their DNA and their score number appears on their arm. The higher the score, the higher the person’s wealth and social status.
Charley wants to put an end to the scoring system, once and for all. However, he is learning that it is easier said than done. “It was one thing to complain about the System in Meritropolis while in a classroom, but he was fast learning the truth of all political dissidents: it’s easy to point out the problems of the other side; it’s much harder to find the solution.”
Orson is part of Charley’s group. He used to be the leader of Meritropolis and his father was the person who created ‘The System.’ The group is travelling to find and take him down. They believe that Orson’s father is located in the next nearest city: called Meritorium, so that is their destination.
Author Joel Ohman has created a believable and maybe even inevitable future for mankind. The Event that decimated their world came about because “…someone – or more likely, a group of someone’s – unaffiliated with any sort of pre-Event government that we know of, caused it. Because of that we still don’t know what exactly their intentions were, or even if it was planned. But we do know that they released these chemical reactions into the wild and – the wild went wild…”
The consequences of these chemicals being released include erratic weather, and strange animal combinations, such as the Bion that Charley fought in the first book.
What the heck is a Bion, you ask? Well that is a new creature with DNA from two different animals that has combined to create an entirely new species. In the case of the Bion, it is a combination of a bison and a lion. There are no animals left that are pure, but there are thousands (perhaps millions) of newly combined animals. For example, the group had been eating Durkey, which is a combination of turkey and deer and Charlie had been hunting a llamabill which is a combination of a llama and a spoonbill bird. While these combinations must sound ridiculous, they come across in the story as perfectly plausible.
The group’s chosen path to MERITORIUM is fraught with danger and they face many unique and terrifying situations along the way.
The author has included some very interesting observations about human nature in this book. These observations can apply not only to the world the story is written in, but also apply to our world today. For example: “Sometimes it’s easier to wish you were in charge than to actually be in charge…”
Will Charley and his group survive the the trek and the man-eating plants on the way to Meritorium? Will they find Orson’s father? And what are they going to do about the gladiator style games that use Meritorium’s low scores as bait and to fight the animal-combinations for the entertainment of others?
I love the fact that Joel Ohman employed an artist for this book and that he has included small sketches of these bizarre animals along with the story.
This book is packed chock-full of adventure, strange creatures, battles between good and evil and even a bit of romance all set in the most unique post-apocalyptic world that I have ever had the pleasure to read about.
I absolutely recommend this book. It is categorized as a Young Adult novel, but it would be a complete shame if adult readers did not also have a chance to read this series. This series has the potential to be as widely read and universally loved as “The Hunger Games.”
Joel Ohman has not only created an incredibly unique and vivacious world, but he also has a talent for creating both memorable and believable characters that readers will fall in love with. This book is a skillfully written thrill-ride that will keep readers engrossed right to the final page.
I rate MERITORIUM as an enthusiastic 5 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
In addition to the pure entertainment value of this book, it can also be seen as a warning. One of my favourite quotes from the book is:
“I think that when we reduce life to its physical components, mechanize it, act like we’re nothing more than the sum total of what we can see – a wing, a leg, an eye, or whatever – and we bring it under human control and design it, then the result is that life is engineered in man’s image and not God’s.”
With the way that the science of genetic engineering is heading, it is not inconceivable that creatures and mutated plants such as those in this book will exist in the near future. This book can be seen as a warning that sometimes science can go too far. Whether the current generation of humans will heed the warning is still to be seen.
Something else that I loved about this book was the author’s use of uncommon words. For example, he uses the word “venator” which is the Latin word for hunter. Building a reader’s vocabulary is always beneficial.
If you do not get sucked into this book then I suggest you ‘give your head a shake’. It is an amazing read and I will be eagerly awaiting the next book in the series.
“But remember this: dying for something is easy, because you get glory, and then it’s over. But living for something – that’s the hard thing.”
About the Book
Under the System everyone is assigned a numerical Score that decides their worth to society and whether they live or die.
Charley has escaped from Meritropolis…
but in his quest to take down the System that has taken his brother from him, he must go through Meritorium, a city where gladiatorial games of life or death combat are waged between High Scores and Low Scores, man and beast.
Charley and Sandy must face man-eating plants, religious zealots, slave traders, and the ever present mutant animal combinations that roam a dystopian Coliseum presided over by Emperor Titus, the one man standing between Charley and the answers he seeks. Man is not an animal, but if they are to make it through Meritorium, will they even be able to tell the difference?
The lines between man and beast, friend and foe, will blur in Meritorium, the riveting sequel to the best selling Meritropolis.
About the Author
Joel Ohman is the author of Meritropolis–“The Hunger Games meets The Village with a young Jack Reacher as a protagonist”. He lives in Tampa, FL with his wife Angela and their three kids. His writing companion is Caesar, a slightly overweight Bull Mastiff who loves to eat the tops off of strawberries.
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About the Prizes
Don’t forget to check out the rafflecopter for this tour here! The tour prize is a $75.00 gift card to Amazon! Think of all the books you can buy with that!
QUOTES I LIKED:
“It was an unsettling sensation to be transported so quickly from predator to prey.”
“Charley couldn’t help but think how absurd he must look. If only Grigor or Sandy could see him now – or much worse, Hank or even Commander Orson – they would be in hysterics. Here he was, the highest High Score of Meritropolis, the famous bull-lion-bion slayer, out to provide food for the camp, and he was cowering in counterclockwise circles, from a bird…”
“Add in mankind’s tendency to weaponize anything and everything, and go to war at the slightest provocation, and you have the recipe for what is now known as the Event.”
“Our past is forever intertwining with our present, affecting our future, but it doesn’t have to be this way. We can’t change the past, but we can change the way it affects our future.”
“The past changes us, but the present can change us too. What we decide to do in the present will change who we become in the future. The present becomes the past, the future becomes the present. Life continues.”