A review by jae_under
Orange City, by Lee M. Goldberg


Orange City is the perfect reentry to dystopian for me. I haven’t enjoyed this genre since middle grade and the previous book i read was a dystopian and i ended up giving it a 1 star, but this book really cracked something in my fantasy only brain.

The book itself is set in a futuristic America and in a hidden city flourishing with corporate and business entities, but cogently manipulated and controlled by one singular person. The city itself is a “second chance” for criminals to erase their past sins, but ofcourse the reality isn’t that simple. We follow Graham as he learns what he truly joined up to.

The beginning itself, with its eerie writing style intrigued me. This was followed by the amazing introduction to the Man, that encompassed the intricate yell alluring sci-fi aspect. Modified limbs, detailed mechanisms all splintered with amazing, scintillating characters, truly was a delightful surprise. And yet, the 22% mark with that chapter ending was what converted me to absolutely getting invested in this book!

While the plot didn’t pick up way later in the book,, nor was the basic premise anything new or unique, but what lured me was the world building. ITS SO UNIQUE and so well defined. The POW!s, a brilliant idea. We also got a lot of world building in terms of the factions, locations and politics and combined with the descriptive writing style, the orange City kept me at the edge of my seat from beginning till end.

Now with the things I didn’t like. The character work, was something I personally did not enjoy, but at the same time I wouldn’t say its bad, just I wasn’t invested in the mc. Don’t get me wrong there is a lot of depth involved with him, i just didn’t connect with the mc. The side characters, especially (apart from one other) felt one dimensional and the lack of having been invested in them, didn’t make me care about the specific events around the end of the book, which felt like the author meant them to mean something but the delivery didn’t impact me at all.

On top of this the book felt well how do i put it, very white and male centered. Almost all the women (yep from the very few women in the book) are sexually or romantically connected to the mc. This paired with the insta love trope really lost me as a reader around the 70% mark. There’s also this sense that anything this main character did was brushed off when it came to the romantic interest and this was written in the male pov while there are scenes of abuse and other questionable scenes that again was addressed as “okay” which again goes back to this being very male centered. Then again almost the entire cast, are criminals so this could be the way gray morality was represented, it just doesn’t mean i have to like it, and i don’t.

Yep thats my two cents on the book, the world building is still a very cool aspect and I definitely would ask people to pick this up if they like dystopian!

Thank you to Atmosphere Press for granting me with an ARC in exchange of an honest review via NetGalley