April 24, 2021

Orange City

Orange City
Orange City Book One
by Lee Matthew Goldberg

Published 16 March 2021
Atmosphere Press

Rating: 4 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Genre: Science Fiction

I was granted complimentary access to Orange City via NetGalley and also as part of my participation in the blog tour for this title with Silver Dagger Book Tours. Thank you to all involved in granting me this opportunity. My thoughts are my own and my review is honest.

So, you know how when you get a group of people with varying political leanings to talk about criminal punishment someone eventually suggests an isolated city to put all the criminals and undesirables and leave them to their own devices? This is that city. It’s a gritty, dark urban landscape run by sociopaths at the top and drug-addicted victims at the bottom.

Graham is one of those victims. A meek man suffering from intense untreated PTSD, Graham is plucked up by his boss as the soda company to serve as taste tester for their new line. What Graham isn’t told as he’s sent home with hundreds of cans of colourful fizzy drinks is that he’s about to become hopelessly addicted to a new drug that quite literally colours his world.

The way prosthetics work in this world, being almost indistinguishable from the live limbs and other body parts they replace, is fascinating. I kind of wish Graham had observed these more while sober because he’s always questioning what he sees and I want to know what was and wasn’t true about this technology. (I suppose you could say Graham is a classic “unreliable narrator” in his sections.)

Goldberg writes broken and respectable people extremely well, and this is both what I loved about this book and what I didn’t. Obviously based on the concept presented in the synopsis I wasn’t expecting angels but I was not prepared for how much I would hate these people. We’re supposed to, most of them are not written to be sympathetic or redeamble, but wow! I’m so glad that Graham at least was pitiable or I might not have may have been tempted to put these characters down and not pick them back up again. I know that sounds rather negative, but I want to emphasize that this is exactly how the characters are supposed to be because that’s what this city was built on. I underestimated my ability to hang out in those heads for 300 pages given the tight timeframe I left myself to get this tour read done in between other tour reads. I think I would have had a better time with these characters if this were one of my in between reads books that I pick my way through in between other things, taking in the characters and plot in small doses.

This is a very dark, very fresh Sci-Fi dystopian that is absolutely not for kids. I recommend this to adult fans of the genre who are prepared to spend a lot of time with a cast of characters who, for the most part, deserve all the worst possible outcomes of their actions and more.

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This review has been cross-posted from a tour stop on Westveil Publishing last month. Visit the original post here for more information about the book & author and an excerpt!

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