Orange City, by Lee M. Goldberg

taketwolu's review

Go to review page


In all honesty, I was immediately captivated by this story. While I haven’t read 1984, I can see how this book gives off George Orwell vibes. This dystopian world had me entranced and the world building in general was amazing -- we see a range of vibrant, bustling Downtown nightclubs to the hauntingly disturbing scenes of the Zones. Even the description of The Man (ruler of The City) had an enigmatic charm (in a bad, revolting way) --he's one of those 'things' (?) where it's too gross to look at but you look anyways kind of thing.

As for the storyline, I was intrigued to learn about Graham's past, the other characters, the different effects of Pow!, and why everything was happening as it was. Pow! is meant to be addictive and the cravings Graham had were insane (the descriptions also had be wanting a sip

aravenclawlibraryx's review

Go to review page

dark hopeful inspiring mysterious sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


Wowowow! I loved this book. This is very reminiscent of 1984 and The Man in the High Castle. I’ll even say that this is what The Man in the High Castle should have been. I read the first sentence and I knew I was going to love this book. In fact, I barely even took notes because I was so involved in the book and I didn’t want to stop reading. I only stopped reading long enough to put down trigger warnings and then I was right back to reading. Truly this is a masterpiece of old school dystopian and I say that with the highest amount of praise. Too often, it seems like the dystopian genre is the same with the chosen one destined to help free their city from whatever has trapped them. And sure this had that, but it was done well and with a fresh new look. This book was different.

What got me interested right away was the way the world was built. It was very organic. Sure things were explained but it was done in such a way where it didn’t feel like it was just a massive amount of text. I was fascinated with the way the City was built and I wish I could have gotten a little more of the history of how it came to be. I liked that it was basically a city of people that society has thrown away. We did get a bit of an exposition at the end but I wanted it to happen more organically like it did in the beginning. 

At first, I wasn’t the biggest fan of Graham. There was something about him that I just couldn’t click with right away. But after a while, I grew to like him. He had a lot of trauma in his life and it defined his character. My heart broke for him and what he went through. I wanted him to grow and I wanted him to see the potential that I saw in him after a while. Luckily, he did and I enjoyed his character quite a bit. It’ll be interesting to see how he grows in the sequel with his chosen hero persona he has taken on. 

Overall, I loved this book, in case you haven’t gathered that by now! If you guys liked 1984 or the book The Man in the High Castle (I can’t say for sure if you would like based on the TV show because I never saw the TV show. I didn’t have the channel it was on and I didn’t care for the book that much so I had no interest in watching it), I think you all would like this book. It definitely is for adults, in my opinion. I did say in the book information that a mature 16+ could read it but I would be careful. There is a lot of child abuse mentioned and it could hard for someone to read about it. That being said, I would still check this book out. I can’t wait to read the sequel and see how Graham grows in that book. 

Expand filter menu Content Warnings

kmoreads's review

Go to review page

dark mysterious slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


 Orange City is a dystopian read that has an interesting premise. There is a secret world where criminals get a second chance. They are also at the mercy of the Man, who is trying to replicate the vison of Stalin. He rules over the world and controls everything that goes on. Graham has been working tirelessly for the Man for many years. Suddenly, he finds himself at the forefront of the Man's game. He has developed a new drink that alters moods based on the color of the drink. The more Graham consumes the more he wants to destroy the Man.

I did think this book was a little slow to start, but it picked up midway through. I can't wait to see what happens in book 2. 

Thank you to Blackthorn Book Tours, Atmosphere Press and Netgalley for the #gifted copy of this book.

celinewyp's review

Go to review page

dark medium-paced
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


<i>I obtained a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.</i>

Content warning: Dubious consent, mental health/illness, and spoilers.

Orange City is about a man who was Selected to join a hidden city made up of convicts. There, he becomes a spineless and uninspired ad man who just watches as life passes him by. When he's given the task of trying out one of the ad company's products, some soda called Pow!, he gets thrown into circumstances bigger than his own. '

I feel like I was too influenced by the description of the book that suggested that it was like George Orwell's 1984. While I do see the similarities, I feel like it's an unfair comparison. 1984 makes me scared; Orange City makes me roll my eyes. 

While reading the book, I tried to look for parallels between our current society and the one within the City. Yeah, both are capitalistic hellscapes, with the fictional one being even more risky and dangerous through black market drugs, fear of banishment into Empty Zones, and a totalitarian dictator called The Man. People who live in the City (the whole convict thing doesn't seem to be consistent either) are chained (sometimes literally) to the corporate ladder and forced to be productive. There's no way out of this life at all, since you can't go back to the Outside World. It's quite a good point there. Either you participate or
Spoilerbe used as lab rats for experiments on prosthetics
. Real life kind of feels that way too. You have to eke out whatever life you can, whether you're enmeshed in the system or not. It just decides what level of person you get to be.

The pacing and plot of the book was strange to me. Too much focus was put on the soda, playing out what happens with every flavour. Then it ramps up with a lot of action in the last 50 or so pages. Knowing that there's going to be a sequel, I suppose I can understand that groundwork is being laid for later. But honestly, I think it could have been trimmed down, especially since so much of it relied on colours. That said, the way the book went made me think of a movie. An indie art film that I certainly do not have the class to understand or appreciate. 

Worldbuilding is very important, especially when you're creating a dystopia. This book perhaps tries to combine too many aspects. It has a hidden city in a future after The War to End All Wars, with some cool tech, and perhaps way too much capitalisation. I love it when the technology serves a point in the plot. The soda doesn't quite do that. While it
Spoileraffects your mood and gets you hooked,
I still feel like it's extraneous. The point the book tries to make seems to be that, even in a world where you have no control, at least you have your own emotions and feelings. As someone with anxiety and depression, I feel like that lesson leaves me out of the picture. Honestly, give me some Pow! It sounds like it could work as meds for me. 

There's also some disturbing content in the book when it comes to relationships and sex. Insta-love or, in this iteration, a fixation by the main character on a woman who just goes along with it, is not just not my deal and really just confounds me. But beyond that, the consent here is dubious at best. So please keep this in mind if you decide to read the book. Another aspect that absolutely makes me feel terrible is that the two (one unnamed) Asian characters are involved in porn. Honestly, I'm not even sure why the porn industry was given the spotlight when the others were pharmaceuticals, ads, umbrellas, and the soda, among others. No mention of food or agriculture or waste management. But porn. Okay, I digress. These Asians are of questionable descent (Japanese? Chinese? Hints point to the latter but it sure isn't clear). 

Maybe I truly missed something here, but I can't help but feel like the book tried too hard to make a point.

Expand filter menu Content Warnings