**I was given a copy of Meritropolis by the author in exchange for an honest review**

Meritropolis is a young adult dystopian novel by Joel Ohman. When I first read the synopsis, I was immediately intrigued. I was especially looking forward to reading about the society within the gates, and what may be lurking outside of them. I dove into the book, eager and ready to discover a new world I could get lost in. Boy, I was clearly not disappointed!

Here is the Goodreads synopsis:
The year is AE3, 3 years after the Event. Within the walls of Meritropolis, 50,000 inhabitants live in fear, ruled by the brutal System that assigns each citizen a merit score that dictates whether they live or die. Those with the highest scores thrive, while those with the lowest are subject to the most unforgiving punishment--to be thrust outside the city gates, thrown to the terrifying hybrid creatures that exist beyond.

But for one High Score, conforming to the System just isn't an option. Seventeen-year-old Charley has a brother to avenge. And nothing--not even a totalitarian military or dangerous science--is going to stop him.

Where humankind has pushed nature and morals to the extreme, Charley is amongst the chosen few tasked with exploring the boundaries, forcing him to look deep into his very being to discern right from wrong. But as he and his friends learn more about the frightening forces that threaten destruction both without and within the gates, Meritropolis reveals complexities they couldn't possibly have bargained for...

Meritropolis tells the story of Charley, a young man with an unusually high "score" on his arm. He's on a mission to avenge his brother, who was Zeroed and sent outside the gates. Charley knows the risks of going against the System and Commander Orson, but he doesn't care. When he discovers a young girl about to be tossed outside the gates, he intervenes and saves her, which sets off a chain of events that makes for a really amazing read.

The book's plot is fast-paced, but it doesn't skimp on much. I think the only thing I'd really liked to have seen/heard more about was the animal mutations. Those, to me, were some of the most fascinating parts of the book. I really liked the decsriptions of these creations, but I was curious as to how they came about. What would make someone cross-mutate certain species? I'm hoping if there is a sequel, this gets explained. Definitely looking forward to that.

As for characters, Charley is pretty likeable, for the most part. He has a good heart, and he wants to do the right thing. He just lets his emotions cloud his judgment and doesn't always go about putting his plans into action the right way.

Commander Orson is someone you want to dislike, as he's head of the System, but you soon discover that he's not exactly the bad guy in Meritropolis. You may not agree with the things he does, but you eventually come to understand why he does them.

Most of the other characters are decently written and likeable enough. Charley's friend Sven is a bit...extreme, and one of the other High Scores that Charley has to be involved with is a bit crazy and competitive. Overall, though, I think all of the characters are pretty well fleshed out.

The only other thing I was slightly disappointed with was the world building. I really would like to know more about the Event, the outside world, and Meritropolis. I feel like all of these things can be expanded upon, and if they had been, the book would have been even more fantastic than it already is.

For a debut novel, I give high praise to Joel Ohman. He's written a wonderful, exciting dystopian novel that will keep you turning those pages until the very end. It's quite thrilling. And like the little blurb on the front says, Meritropolis really is like The Hunger Games meets The Village.

I'm rating Meritropolis a solid 4.5 stars. Give this one a whirl if you're looking for a new YA dystopian novel to keep you on the edge of your seat!