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.
Publisher: Atmosphere Press
Publication Date: 16/03/2021
Length: 231 pages
Genre: Dystopian | Sci-Fi
CW: Drug use, dubious sexual consent
Imagine a secret, hidden City that gives a second chance at life for those selected to come: felons, deformed outcasts, those on the fringe of the Outside World. Everyone gets a job, a place to live; but you are bound to the City forever. You can never leave.GoodReads
Its citizens are ruled by a monstrous figure called the Man who resembles a giant demented spider from the lifelike robotic limbs attached to his body. Everyone follows the Man blindly, working hard to make their Promised Land stronger, too scared to defy him and be discarded to the Empty Zones.
After ten years as an advertising executive, Graham Weatherend receives an order to test a new client, Pow! Sodas. After one sip of the orange flavor, he becomes addicted, the sodas causing wild mood swings that finally wake him up to the prison he calls reality.
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 itching to get your hands on Lemonworld.