Welcome to my stop on the Orange City blog tour! Huge thanks to Blackthorn Book Tours for giving me the opportunity to take part in this! I was provided a copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.
CW: Drug use, dubious sexual consent
What if I told you that there was a secret city for those on the fringes of society where you can belong? Regardless of whether you are a felon or simply an outcast of the Outside World. There’s just one catch, you can never leave. This city is ruled by ‘The Man’ a monstrous dictator figure in more ways than one. What may seem like salvation at first begins to change as the citizens learn to blindly follow this figure in order to avoid being sent to the Empty Zones. Graham arrived in the City ten years ago, however it’s working on a new advertising campaign that is slowly opening his eyes to how he simply swapped one prison for another…
One of the most interesting aspects about this book was that none of the characters were particularly likeable, however that isn’t a bad thing at all when it comes to this novel. It doesn’t feel like they’re supposed to be likeable, apart from Graham at times, which makes them all very complicated and dark which is perfect for the world that Goldberg has created. The fact that a lot of the characters are so extreme in their negative behaviour (even including Graham) that was addictive to read itself. It was quite difficult to put the book down as I just wanted to see what E or ‘The Man’ would do next.
Additionally, Goldberg creates tension and suspense through quick, almost frantic, poetry on Graham is thrown from one day to the next, seemingly completely unaware that anything is wrong. I did enjoy the pacing for the most part of the novel, I did feel that the ending was a little rushed without much breathing space from the reveal to the end. flavour as this is the first novel in a series we can expect to see more of the ending expanded upon.
This novel, this world, feels very much like a combination of George Orwell and Brett Easton Ellis. We’re introduced to this very dystopian dictatorship, however unlike Oceania in 1984, the citizens are under the impression they can do whatever they live outside of work which feels reminiscent of Less Than Zero. I did enjoy how brutal this world was and it does fit with the character that we’re introduced to. I would have hiked a little more world building, however, as I mentored this is the first in a series so it is likely that we will see more of this in future installments.
Overall, I enjoyed this novel and read it in one sitting as the brutality of this dystopia was a really refreshing read. Goldberg is clearly a talented writer with clever plot details and through making a novel with unlikeable characters still fun and interesting to read. If you are a fan of dystopian fiction, or Brett Easton Ellis then you should check this novel out and the rest of the series. Although, with the way Orange City ends you’ll be itchy to get your hands on Lemonworld.