Book Review: Meritopia by Joel Ohman

Dear Bookworms,

This weeks read was provided to me for free by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Charley and his crew are once again on the run. Fleeing Meritorium after a bloody battle in the Venatio, they must make their way across unfamiliar lands in their pursuit of the Czar in a desperate attempt to once and for all zero the System. The Czar has fled to Meritopia, hailed in his warped mind as the utopia of society where he will meld human and animal, creating the most perfect master race. Battling new and dangerous animal combos along the way, and teaming up with familiar faces from Meritropolis, Charley makes it to this "utopia" only to find it more eerie and dangerous than he imagined. Will he be able to zero the System and kill the genetically enhanced Czar once and for all, or will the System finally win? 

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This book is formatted and paced in much the same manner as it's predecessor. Charley and his gang flee a broken city, traverse the unknown wild lands in search of a newly discovered city, combat combo and human adversaries, arrive at destination, and fight the Czar.

I appreciated that it was paced and structured in a similar fashion to the previous books, lending it a sort of symmetry. I once again enjoyed the various imaginative animal combos. Ohman certainly had a way of making each and every combo come alive on the pages (I find myself with an intense desire for some gobster after finishing this series).

The characters continued to grow and develop, most notably with Orson. He was perhaps the most conflicted character of the series in my opinion who subsequently experienced the most dramatic metamorphosis (not physically- that would be the Czar of course *wink wink*).

My only criticism, much the same throughout the series, are the sermons and preachy moments dispersed throughout the book. I think Ohman did himself a disservice in this novel by focusing too much on the morality of this new world (which duh- we as readers know that it's pretty fucked up) and Gods hand in it (or absence as the dialogue suggested) and not enough on delving deeper and expounding on the System itself and the world in which it derived.

Understanding the mechanisms and nuances of the System and it's affect on society (especially seeing as how the System was a relatively new construct as The Event was not that long ago in history) and being more in touch with society as a whole versus just Charley and his group would have made for a far better read in my opinion. If you can get past these obvious attempts to explain the mysterious workings of God through the characters struggles, the story itself is interesting, action packed, and enjoyable. Overall I would recommend this one if you are in the market for a unique dystopian read.  

See you guys next week for an all new book review!

XOXO,

CoCo

**Check out my other book reviews here!**

Book Review: Meritorium by Joel Ohman

Dear Bookworms,

This weeks read was provided to me for free in exchange for an honest review. 

So book two in the Meritropolis series picks up right where book one ends. Charley, Hank, Sandy, Grigor, Orson, and the remaining citizens of Meritopia have fled beyond the decimated walls on a quest to find Meritorium where they believe they will find Orsons father, to once and for all exact revenge and level The System. Charley insists that all travelers are treated equally, high and low scores alike, as they forage and hike their way across the unknown. In a journey fraught with danger and treachery, the group is captured, split up, and sold by a slaver to the highest bidder to compete in the annual Venatio. A gladiatorial event, the Venatio is held in a large colosseum, reminiscent of the ancient Roman games. Charley and his crew must survive the tournament while coming up with a plan to take out the Czar and with him, The System itself. 

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Overall, I felt this was a strong follow up to book one, Meritropolis. It was filled with action, great animal combos, and some personal character development which was satisfying. I did have a few minor issues with some aspects of this book, which could totally be a personal preference versus through any fault of the author. While I did enjoy the inner struggle that Charley often faced with tempering his anger, the morality of killing (both man and beast), and the concept of revenge, I feel it was a little to focused on the "god" aspect of these issues. The author could have easily portrayed these struggles in way that didn't come off so "preachy". Religious books/themes in general are a turn off for me, so like I said, this may not bother you in the least. While the introduction of the Circumcellion, a crazed religious cult of sorts, was a great idea and did make for crucial plot points in the storyline, I wasn't all that satisfied in the way they were portrayed. Suicidal religious zealots? Check. I can get down with that and understand their place and how they may have sprung up in this type of society. What I didn't really like was how they were touted as rapists, murders (of innocents), and druggies. These facets just don't seem to go well together in describing the movement and it's ultimate purpose. The story could have been written just as effectively with them omitted, or perhaps a little better fleshed out as a whole. I will say the battles of the Venatio were well written and exciting to read, all the various animal combos were great additions. The ending was a slam dunk for sure! Shocking and unexpected which definitely left me eager to start the finale book in the series.  

Be sure to check back in next week to read my review of the third and finale book in this series, Meritopia! 

Until next week!

XOXO,

Coco  

** Check out my other book reviews here!**