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Orange City

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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.

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.

308 pages, Paperback

First published March 16, 2021

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About the author

Lee Matthew Goldberg

23 books1,452 followers

Lee Matthew Goldberg is the author of twelve novels including THE ANCESTOR and THE MENTOR along with his five-book DESIRE CARD series. His YA series RUNAWAY TRAIN is currently in script development with actress Raegan Revord from TVs Young Sheldon off his original written pilot. He has been published in multiple languages and nominated for the Prix du Polar. After graduating with an MFA from the New School, his writing has also appeared as a contributor in Pipeline Artists, LitHub, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Millions, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, LitReactor, Mystery Tribune, The Big Idea, Monkeybicycle, Fiction Writers Review, Cagibi, Necessary Fiction, Hypertext, If My Book, Past Ten, the anthology Dirty Boulevard, The Montreal Review, The Adirondack Review, The New Plains Review, Maudlin House and others. His pilots and screenplays have been finalists in Script Pipeline, Book Pipeline, Stage 32, We Screenplay, the New York Screenplay, Screencraft, and the Hollywood Screenplay contests. He is the co-curator of The Guerrilla Lit Reading Series and lives in New York City. Follow him at LeeMatthewGoldberg.com

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 116 reviews
Profile Image for Dave.
2,959 reviews309 followers
July 9, 2022
Like Orange soda, "Orange City" is something completely different. Move over Orwell. Move over Clockwork Orange. Move over Truman Show. Move over Timothy Leary. Orange city is the dystopian future where perhaps you get what you bargained for. Spend the rest of your life behind bars or in a purgatory on your way to paradise -- just doing a few odd jobs for the Man, who lives up in the Eye tower and wants his pilgrims guided to his secret island city. And on the way to paradise all it will cost is your immortal soul and perhaps more.

Moral dilemmas and Hobson's choices are not the end of it all. Because the heart of the book is about free will and manipulation and the choices that are slowly taken away from us. Madison Avenue can convince us to want anything, to buy anything, to become anything. It's almost like we can't stop ourselves.

At what point are we being manipulated and at what point are we knowingly choosing to conform to what's required by the corporation, by the twitter mob, by the dictates of those who dictate what's allowed to be said and what's allowed to be felt and experienced.

Orange City is an unusual book and it will take a little bit before you, the reader, get a feel for where things are going. Just remember the main character is probably even more lost and disoriented than you. In the end, Orange City is a terrific read that leaves your mind buzzing with thoughts and desperately awaiting the sequel.
Profile Image for Apoorva.
190 reviews170 followers
April 5, 2021
Frankly put, this work is as addictive as a bottle of soda! I bet everyone's gonna crave more (of the writing & the soda) as this is only the first installment of the series! An excellent cover picture, aptly depicting the plot & the basic idea, is so eye-catchy. One glance at the blurb & you get this dystopian touch. Any further reasons required to start the unusual plot-driven novel?!

Like the orange soda that leaves a tingling sensation on one's palate, this dystopian futuristic story has that precise identical feel once finished reading it. I loved the author's work amidst various colors to explain the varying moods in different situations. Ain't it valid in our present world as well; we use diverse hues in our everyday activities to emulate our emotions.

The narrative was developed very strongly up to the climax & suddenly, the actual finale saddened me a bit. I presumed a lot more to befall, but it got cut off rather abruptly. Still, I relished the author's novel-writing technique & the captivating storyline, which will have the readers' nose immersed into this book. Lee's works are invariably a joy to read & I am so happy I could get an opportunity to read this one.

I got an ARC of this book thanks to NetGalley, Author Lee Matthew Goldberg & Publishers Atmosphere Press.
Profile Image for Iseult Murphy.
Author 24 books105 followers
January 12, 2021
A nightmarish cross between 1984 and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.
In a future United States, Graham is offered a second chance by going to the mysterious city, run by the grotesque and monsterous The Man. Graham accepts the offer but finds he’s exchanged one prison for another.
I loved the use of colours to control Graham, and the atmosphere of paranoia that surrounded his life in the city.
I found Orange City an absorbing, enjoyable nightmare.
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for enjoyingbooksagain.
417 reviews30 followers
July 10, 2021
This this is a really good story and yes at times was slow but just something different of a read. If your looking for something different to read try it.
thank you Henry Roi for letting me read Orange city and give a honest review
Profile Image for Lena (Sufficiently Advanced Lena).
312 reviews193 followers
February 16, 2021
Thanks to Lee Matthew Goldberg, Atmosphere Press and NetGalley for giving me access to this book for review.

First of all, I was already intrigued by the cover, really, is stunning, but then the summary was the cherry on top. In this book we follow mainly Graham, who gets offered an opportunity like no other, go to live in The City, a place where the past doesn't matter and people get a second chance. The City is ruled by this mysterious figure (or should I say disfigured, please excuse this terrible pun) called The Man, extremely tall and with definitely spared arms. But, of course, not everything is as good as it seemed.

I'll keep everything vague so you don't get spoil, cause it really is worth a read!

The mystery was really well crafted from the beginning, I found myself thinking about the book while I was supposed to be studying for finals. The pace works also great maybe struggling a bit towards the end, when everything felt a little bit rushed.

Besides E and Graham I didn't really feel a lot for the characters, often finding myself feeling more sympathetic towards E than Marlena, but we may discover more in later installments.

I'm used to dystopias being quite dark but I wasn't expecting this one to be so brutal, especially with its treatment of the main characters. The use of colors and Pow! was magnificent and probably my favorite part of the story along with The Man. I play a lot of video games and for some reason this part kept reminding me of the reboot of Devil May Cry and the demon in the soda factory.

Overall I really enjoyed the ride though I have to sadly say that the end didn't really click with me, especially the reveal about Graham, still I really would love to get back to another City!

The final rating is 3.5 stars rounded up to a 4.
Profile Image for Julie Porter.
258 reviews12 followers
February 13, 2021

Spoilers: Lee Matthew Goldberg's previous novel, Slow Down was an ironic title of a book. It was a fast paced almost hallucinatory drug trip of a novel in which Noah, a young ambitious screenwriter gets involved with a creepy director's film project which involves several actresses becoming addicted to a drug called Fast which turns them into homicidally violent.
So in this, his fifth novel, Orange City has Goldberg taken the predecessor title's advice and slowed down? Well, no. Instead he just has a wider more imaginative arena in which to explore these strange, bizarre, terrifying worlds.

Orange City is set in the future in a dystopian city called, original name, The City. The City is ruled by an omnipresent figure who is literally called The Man. (Thankfully, the common nouns used as proper names device ends there. So we don't run into other characters called The Woman, The Boy, The Girl, The Dog and don't encounter The Bar or The Restaurant.)
The Man is a creepy figure. He wears the same black suit and is fed a strange orange liquid intravenously, so he doesn't eat. His legs are distorted because of surgeries to make him taller. He has several arms connected to his body that are thin and branch-like giving him a spidery appearance. His red eyes are able to cyberoptically view the entire city. He has spies, technology, and a psychic seeming intuition that allows him to keep everyone and everything in the city under his watch and control. Anyone who disobeys can lose their appendages and end up in The Zone, the homeless district, or The Man's Scouts can send them to The Outside World, the area outside The City. The Man's appearance and demeanor are sort of like what would happen if 1984's Big Brother decided to retire and give control of Oceania over to Slenderman.

Underneath The Man's control are the Finances, districts with CEO's that control the banking, business, and advertising. In one way or another everybody works under The Man's ultimate direction, so yes they are in fact slaves to The Man.
One of those workers is Graham Weathered, a meek little man who works for the advertising firm of Warton, Mind, and Donovan. Graham has been living in The City since he was 19, a scared abused former foster kid from The Outside World. He was given the option, as all convicted criminals are, to remain in the desolate war torn Outside World or start a new life with a job that promises benefits and constant surveillance in The City. Naturally, the naive Graham chooses Option B.
Years later, Graham is given his first real assignment. Warton, Mind, and Donovan are promoting a multi-flavored soda called Pow! His boss, E, wants him to test the various flavors and let them know what the results are. Graham needs some recognition from his employers, would like to get ahead and does not want to be sent to the Zone. Plus, Graham has the spine of an amoeba and the nerves of a terrified toy dog, so he agrees. The only problem is that Pow! is addictive, really addictive, and it produces some strange side effects. It alters a person's emotions depending on the flavor.

Orange City is a brilliant novel that is a tribute to the Science Fiction Dystopia genre and a satire on advertising, greed, and corporate control. As Graham drinks the Pow! flavors, he takes on various facets of his personality. The orange flavor makes him passionate and sexual. Lime green makes him jealous and ambitious. Blueberry makes him depressed and thoughtful. Cherry Red makes him aggressive and homicidal. All of the emotions that a lifetime of abuse and constant surveillance and control have repressed have finally broken through and overwhelms him.

This book is a wonder to imagine and is one of the few that I would like to see become a movie or limited series because of how impressive it would look. One of the more visually captivating images are the constant changing colors around Graham. Each time he drinks a specific flavor, his eyes zero in and focus on that color on the walls, neon signs, and on people's clothing. Each time he is attracted to women wearing those specific colors or is invited to a club or a bar with that color name (The Citrus Club, Lime Lounge, Blue Moon, and Red Rum.) It would be neat to see any potential filmmaker engage in some interesting details like the walls in Graham's apartment changing color or the neon lights blazing in the background, unavoidable like stars. Goldberg clearly had a lot of fun writing the process of Graham and his mood swings and the shifting environment around him.

Besides setting, Goldberg also creates a memorable protagonist in Graham. Similar to characters like Winston Smith, Guy Montag, Offred/June, or Bernard Marx, Graham just accepts the System at first. He thinks that if he plays along and doesn't cause trouble, then he will live another day, without realizing that it doesn't matter how much he plays along. If that System sees those under them as less than human, they are expendable and completely disposable. They will be killed or exiled anyway, because they have no value as a human being or an individual.
Graham follows the Man's orders, even temporarily accepts a higher position, more luxurious apartment, and larger stipend to be the Pow! spokesperson/product tester/guinea pig. When he becomes hopelessly addicted and characters appear and reappear to monitor him, even appearing in lucid dreams is when he starts to question what he got into. He also learns some revealing things about his past and what The Man's real goals are towards That's when he can no longer remain a passive participant and slave to The Man. He becomes an active rebel and fighter against those that have controlled him for most of his life.

Orange City is a book with a terrifying premise that questions how much advertising, corporations, and our own self interests control us. It could be as real as tomorrow. That thought is enough to scare the colors out of the Reader.

This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Jessica Belmont.
1,482 reviews44 followers
March 2, 2021
As soon as I recieved my copy of Orange City by Lee Matthew Goldberg, I couldn’t wait to jump into it. The cover is so intriguing and then the blurb drew me in.

This is a book you should go into without any spoilers. The mystery is fantastic. The pacing kept my nose buried in this book. This dystopian is not only dark, but also brutal, and it has intriguing concepts I haven’t read in others of this genre.

I like that the blurb calls this a mashup between 1984 and Lost. This is very true, which might be why I loved it so much. I just thought it was a cool read that kept me invested from page one.

Overall, I enjoyed Orange City and would recommend giving it a shot.

*I received a free copy of this book from R&R Book Tours to review honestly on the blog tour. All opinions are my own and unbiased.*
Profile Image for Bryan.
Author 1 book66 followers
May 29, 2021
I had mixed feelings about Orange City. Initially it greatly resonated, since Graham’s progression through the different flavours of Pow! resembled my own pandemic-induced journey through the various flavours of Buble. However, the second half of the novel fell somewhat short of the expectations raised early on. Overall, this was an interesting combination of the themes of Brave New World, 1984, and even Lord of the Rings. Some parts, like Graham’s first sip of Pow!, were just marvellous. The heist elements, less so. Ultimately, by the book’s end, I just wasn’t invested enough to want to follow through to the sequel.

Profile Image for Jae.
72 reviews13 followers
March 8, 2021
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
Profile Image for Dana.
938 reviews70 followers
March 15, 2021
{3.5 stars}

"Deep down everyone in this purgatory knew they've been conned, but they were all too scared to make a peep."


Hoo boy, Orange City will twist your melon! I would say this book is 1984 if Tyler Durden had learned advertising from Black Buck. Our main characters are all people who are living in a dystopian city separate from the rest of the world. The leader "The Man" is a megalomaniac who is trying to build a utopia in the vision of Stalin, a project that has begun to go awry. He has also begun to alter his body in the creepiest of ways to build his confidence and power. He has the citizens of this city under his control as he has rescued them from less than ideal circumstances in the real world and they are essentially indentured servants. We follow a small group of them who surround our star, Graham. He's a nobody that has undergone lots of abuse in his life and is just trying to find a stable piece of ground upon which to build his life.

When he is offered an assignment to test some new sodas for an advertising campaign, he quickly finds himself in over his head. The sodas are the newest plan for The Man to have more control over his city. The addiction is instant and the impacts on the individual are sweeping. The more Graham consumes, the more he begins to question just how grateful he should be to be living in the City. The immersive power of advertising reminded me of the insanity of the recent hit Black Buck and made for an enjoyable page turner.

Thanks to Blackthorn Book Tours for a copy of this novel. All opinions above are my own.
Profile Image for Dawnny.
Author 1 book19 followers
March 20, 2021
A dark dystopian novel set in a separate city where criminals are offered a second chance. They are given a place to live, a job working for (The Man) and they can never leave the city. Graham is in advertising and when he test a new clients soda called Pow! The orange soda starts to open his eyes to his surroundings and reality. There is so much happening in this novel and so much that makes you think about government, freedom, control and manipulation. I've never read anything like this. This was a plot so masterful and haunting. I'm looking forward to the next book in this series. Excellent read.

Dawnny Ruby
Novels N Latte
Hudson Valley NY
Profile Image for Carol M..
246 reviews1 follower
March 25, 2021
This is a fantastic sci-fi thrilling novel written by the talented Lee Matthew Goldberg. The story opens with a richly atmospheric description of a dystopian society that is made up of those criminals who were considered outcasts and now have a second bite at the cherry in the Orange city. The main protagonist is Graham Weatherend who is trapped in a soda business scam. Mystery and suspense take over most pages of this captivating novel. What I liked the most is that it is thought provoking as it has made me reflect on society’s future, especially when it comes to technological developments. I can’t wait to read the other books of this series!
Profile Image for Lori.
790 reviews12 followers
January 11, 2021
Received as a review copy, this is an honest review. This gripping and haunting dystopian story a hidden city where criminals are chosen to get another shot at living in the City. The cost of receiving this freedom is high under the ruling eye of the mysterious and dangerous The Man. For Graham Weatherend, working put the life back into Pow! soda finds himself addicted to the powerfully flavored drink, that he becomes increasingly mentally troubled by the drink's affects but what he truly sees around him is far more a dark prison than he could imagine. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Victoria.
250 reviews22 followers
January 28, 2021
Wife murderers, liquor store robbers, and parents of deformed children can get a second chance from The Man in a secret dystopian hidden city. A Joseph Stalin meets 1984 wet dream. If chosen, you get a new identity and the works as long as you conform and stay loyal. If you are disloyal, you get sent to the zones where your limbs will mysteriously disappear and die of hunger or dehydration.

The zones are starting to fill up and The Man needs to find a way to better control the population so rebrands a soda that makes you feel different moods and heightens colors depending on what flavor you drink. Instead of becoming a Sunset Overdrive monster, one man decides to fight back and kill the Slender Man looking ruler and fight for freedom.

Full of creepy weirdness and fever dreams, this is definitely one of the more unique urban dystopian stories out there.
Profile Image for Jenna Rideout.
649 reviews52 followers
March 26, 2021
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.

Tour blog post (March 26) https://www.westveilpublishing.com/?p...

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.
Profile Image for Grady.
Author 50 books400 followers
July 18, 2021
‘Everyone is selfish! We come into this world alone and we die alone’ – Brilliant new novel!

New York City author Lee Matthew Goldberg earned his Masters in Fine Arts from the New School in Manhattan and has created a reputation as an award-winning author (ten novels) whose works are published in multiple languages. He is equally successful in writing screenplays and pilots, and is the editor in chief and co-founder of Fringe (publishing fiction that is outside the box), and co-curator of The Guerrilla Lit Reading Series. ORANGE CITY is his initial entry into the dystopian science fiction genre.

Lee Mathew Goldberg continues to make a powerful acquaintance with a master storyteller. His concept for ORANGE CITY is imaginative, a step into territory few have entered, and he succeeds he creating a disturbing yet credible tale. The prose is visceral and pungent, descriptive to the point of transporting us into the world he has created. An introduction or prologue is unnecessary as he leaps into the mystery of his book: ‘At six on the dot, the gloved cellular let out a piercing ring. A timer turned on, ticking down each buzz. E wouldn’t have to remain idle. The entire pod apartment vibrated, and his capsule bed slid open. The white ceiling drew his attention, the walls devoid of color. A minimalist’s fantasy – nothing like a home. Shades of the dream from last night still lingered. His knuckles painted with blood as he beat a shadow. The voice of the shadow belonging to a ten-year-old boy. The boy’s cries stabbing E’s ears. He shook that dream away. He removed the intravenous tube that connected him to the bed….’ Magical prose, this, the work of an artist who instantly transports us into another world is magnetic.

The author distills the story for us: ‘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. 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.’

Lee Matthew Goldberg is an artist of substance who makes a powerful impact on the reader. Very highly recommended.
Profile Image for Tam.
1,726 reviews41 followers
January 4, 2021
Wildly imaginative! Great, multi-faceted characters. Very unique plot. Vivid descriptions. A solid, interesting read!

*I received a complimentary ARC of this book in order to read and provide a voluntary, unbiased and honest review, should I choose to do so.
Profile Image for David.
68 reviews8 followers
January 5, 2021
A dystopian future after the War to End All Wars. Reminiscent of Huxley and Orwell. Emotional addiction, the conflict between capitalism and authentic humanity, autocracy and freedom. And POW! soda. #netgalley #orangecity
Profile Image for Mab.
41 reviews1 follower
January 17, 2021
Goldberg’s novel depicts the ever-present modern issue of human need versus corporate need, the ever-pressing question of just how far one is willing to climb the next rung of the company ladder. The story takes place in a dystopian America, following Graham Weathered, a spineless employee in an advertising agency in a hidden city filled with criminals and outcasts. Graham is given an opportunity to product test for a new client and jumps at the chance to get ahead. As he drinks this soda, he experiences shifts in his mood based on the flavour he’s consuming and becomes more paranoid as the testing continues. Eventually, Graham snaps and finds the secret behind the sodas, and its source goes straight to the top of the City. Graham must decide whether it can look the other way and accept the comfortable life the ‘Man; gave him, or tackle the issue head-on and take the master of the City down.

The book portrays an exciting concept of a city developed for rehabilitation in a dystopian America. The real reason for this place appears to be human testing, and people who don’t comply or perform as expected are discarded to the fringes of society and barely survive.

The feeling I got from reading this novel was how far we are willing to keep our place in the corporate structure. There are parallels from America’s heavily influenced business culture and how many are eager to sell their lives to companies and live in the moment and beyond our means once the ‘9 to 5’ drain is completed. It’s an interesting concept, or possibly even an alarming awakening, and worth a read.

If you've enjoyed my review, please visit my blog, Mab's Musing
Profile Image for Debbie Rozier.
665 reviews31 followers
April 5, 2021
The City is a hidden place where you go to get a fresh start. Once you go in, you don’t come out. You are at the mercy of The Man, who is a grotesque individual with multiple arms and who controls The City with a Stalin-like philosophy.
Graham Weatherend has been working in advertising in The City for a decade. He is given the opportunity to become the taster for POW! soda.
Each flavor soda has very different and strong reactions in Graham.
Graham finds out that The Man has nefarious plans for POW! and the population of The City.
Can Graham stand up to The Man who controls all and sees all?

My Thoughts

If you asked me to describe this book in one word, my answer would be VIVID.

I also think the theme of control stands out to me as well. One of my favorite details in the book is the way the weather is controlled in the city. I thought the use of color was absolutely outstanding. (Each POW! soda is a different color which corresponds to a different mood for the drinker).

There is also a nice thriller element in the book as Graham faces past demons and Graham (along with a few secondary characters) tries to liberate The City from The Man.

The ending is excellent and is a great segue to the next installment in the series.
Thanks @suzyapprovedbooktours for a copy to read and give my honest opinion
March 29, 2021
How much control do you really have over your life? Honestly everyone should read this book. There is so much going on in the world that is being controlled and people are very clueless. I like to think I’m smarter than the average person, but how deep are people being deceived?
This book will make you think and think and think.
Will be recommending this book to everyone I work with and my customers.
Profile Image for Руслан.
Author 2 books28 followers
May 18, 2021
Sci-fi thriller, set in a dystopian future on an island ran by a mysterious multi-armed individual known only as "The Man". What more could we want?

The island is mainly composed of those who have done crimes in the "Other-World" - i.e., all life outside the city island state. The Man sends his scouts to take them in after making them sign a contract to avoid years to sometimes life in prison.

More in the book...

Read it :)
Profile Image for Lee Goldberg.
Author 23 books1,452 followers
January 1, 2021
"In his compelling novel, ORANGE CITY, novelist LEE MATTHEW GOLDBERG, has crafted a unique dystopian thriller that manages to reveal our greatest fears about emerging technology and our anxieties at what the future holds." - Raymond A. Villareal, Author of The People's History of the Vampire Uprising.
Profile Image for TAIYE J. K. ISHOLA.
Author 3 books2 followers
March 25, 2021
ORANGE CITY is about a concealed city that recruits chosen criminals and outcasts from the OUTSIDE WORLD. The city gives the ‘selected’ jobs and a place to live, but they can never leave – except when tasked to scout recruits. The city is ruled by an eyeless, multi-appendage mutant dictator, known as THE MAN, that sees all through his all Seeing Eye tower, striking fear in the heart of its citizens. There is always a price to pay for insubordination. The Zones: where they are fed with sloth pills and tested like lab rats. This dystopia crushes revived hope and promises to give it in a Pow!

The story begins with E being summoned to THE MAN's office, where he is given a new task. The success of this mission would mean a promotion. E travels on a boat to the outside world, meets his scout, and forms a bond, which is broken right before they return to the city. The mission is successful, E's conscience is truly dead and we meet the protagonist of our story in part two. Graham. 

Graham is recruited into the advertising agency – the imperfect employee, who works late hours through the night with zero social life. Everything changes when his boss, E, announces that Graham must sample the new Pow! Products. Graham does this for a week. Pow! consists of varying colors of orange, lemon, cherry, and raspberry. On orange Pow! day everyone in the office wears orange, which is either a touch of craving or a full passion. Suddenly Graham’s dismal life transforms into a spotlight of colors and emotions, heightening every feeling, detailing every hunger. On lime Pow! days Graham is jealous and everything is green. On cherry Pow! days, Graham is raging with a heightened feeling of murder red with the taste of Bloody Mary bitterness makes him snap. He confronts his daunting boss with a knife to the neck and he’s quickly calmed down with raspberry Pow! The product is a success and instead of being sent to the zones for threatening to kill his boss, Graham is sent to the estates and promoted once again to mega-celebrity status. He is the face of Pow! and gets to have a private conference with THE MAN.

I love the way Lee Matthew Goldberg used the allegory of the colors, merging them to the five senses and resuscitating parts of the city, while the zones, not entirely devoid of color kill it slowly. The star of this story isn’t Graham, but the Pow!

Pow! is THE MAN’s agenda for the city and Graham is in the center of that plan.

Graham finds out that his whole life since he was ten years old was planned by THE MAN. The abuse from E, his foster parent turned boss, his delinquent childhood, slaving under the advertising agency for years and becoming the face of Pow! was a punishment for his parents’ uprising years ago. Truly, who better to lead this agenda than the son of two rebels?

The citizens are constantly terrified and reminded of this when THE MAN barks through the speakers giving gibberish instructions, which is immediately followed by someone taken to the zone. The hidden city might be unknown from the outside world, but there is no secret hidden from THE MAN. Imagine working for an omnipresent, malicious superior! Your lunch break is timed and an alarm begins to peal, which can lead you to the zones. Even your dreams aren’t excluded from being monitored.

If you want to read a horrific tale with a touch of absurdity, this book is the perfect balance of scare, humor, and a lot of Pow! advertisement. 

“Pow has a secret ingredient and they’re not telling, so take a sip to figure it out yourself. Is there something missing in your life? Lack passion? Can’t focus? Feel depressed? Let Pow! give you back whatever it is you’ve been missing. We know you’ll want more and more, but we guarantee you’ll never get the secret. Can you prove us wrong?”
Profile Image for Rajiv.
957 reviews62 followers
March 16, 2021


Firstly, I loved the dystopian setting of the novel. It’s been a while since I read a fascinating science-fiction dystopian, and “Orange City” did not disappoint! The author captivatingly writes the world-building, where you feel immediately sense something wrong in the City.

Secondly, I loved the author’s style of writing. The way he wrote Graham and his progression towards the truth was excellent! The storyline glued to me as I wondered if some of Graham’s experiences are a dream or reality. The author writes the descriptions in a dreamlike manner, where like the character, you feel you are in an “Awakened Dream.”

Graham is compelling as the lead and someone I could immediately connect. It was interesting to see how his life changes once he starts using the Pow. Even the supporting characters like Mick, E, and Gayle added nicely to the plot. Moreover, “The Man” is truly one of those devious villains feels invincible. I initially got goosebumps just picturing his appearance and wondered how Graham would face him.

Perhaps the only minor criticism I have towards the story is the romance between Graham and Marlena. I thought it was unnecessary for the plot and could have easily been happy if they were friends. Instead, I would have preferred more scenes between “E” and Graham. “E” felt like an equally dynamic character, and I wanted to see more of him. But I did enjoy the Graham/Gayle/Marlena angle.

Apart from that, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book! Overall, “Orange City” is a gripping dystopian novel, and I look forward to reading some of the author’s other works.
Profile Image for noorthebookworm .
649 reviews14 followers
March 12, 2021
My 2nd read from the author's work.
His 1st Sci- Fi.

Pre- Order. Releases 16th March 2021.

ORANGE CITY by @leematthewgoldberg
1st book in the Series.
231 pages.

🦉 Did you find the "title" &/ or the "cover" very peculiar or different or unique??
Did it remind you of an orange soda drink?
Was it able to catch your attention/ eye?

🍊 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. 

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. 

🍊 An atmospheric read creating a dystopian world which has the ability to scare me to bits..
This sci-fi story was so engaging & at the same time, it killed me imagining & living in such a world, for every minuscule sec.
I let out a sigh of relief once the book finished, as if I had been holding my breath..to be pulled into the sequel, 🍋 LemonWorld.
Its a fun read, written in an interesting way..a style very different from what I had experienced in my previous read THE ANCESTOR, by the author.

🍊 Lee Matthew Goldberg is the author of THE ANCESTOR, THE DESIRE CARD, SLOW DOWN and THE MENTOR from St. Martin’s Press. He has been published in multiple languages and nominated for the 2018 Prix du Polar. ORANGE CITY, his first sci-fi novel, is forthcoming in 2021 along with his YA series RUNAWAY TRAIN.

54 reviews1 follower
January 4, 2021
Orange City by Lee Matthew Goldberg
I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
It was my first attempt at a novel from Lee M. Goldberg, who has here been drawing a dark totalitarian world.
The story describes a world split between The City, an hidden town led by The Man, an all knowing and seeing dictator, which is the home of exiled outcasts. For reasons only discovered at the end of the book “E”, a scout, sent by the Man (against the promise of a better position) to retrieve out of prison, Graham, a man he had been torturing while he was still a child with the assignment of becoming his Manager in an advertisement company.
In the course of this mission “E” is also supposed to enroll one of his female scout colleague, Gayle, whom he abuses sexually.
In this story nobody does anything of his free will, blackmail and deception are the rule of the game.
Graham having been freed of prison, Gayle for other personal reasons, carry hope that going to the City will mean an improvement of their situation.
Everything really starts moving when Graham, a rather bland bachelor, shy and introverted, sharing his time between work and his cubicle of an apartment is chosen to lead a project for a new advertisement campaign for a brand of soft drinks….
Testing the various tastes of soda lead him to come out of the shell of his life and experience adventures with women. Graham go through these new relations with feeling pulses which lead him to wonder if everything is real or just an illusion wondering if he could be the victim of a plot.

It is a well written novel, portraying interesting characters caught in a world they cannot evade from, a world with a specific tangible heavy atmosphere to it.
I would advise reading it and would like go further with the characters of the story if not in this world in the next novel.
Profile Image for P.J. Sky.
Author 4 books27 followers
February 1, 2021
Don’t let this book pass you by, drink up!

Graham Weatherend is a man down on his luck - a petty criminal who seems destined for a miserable life, probably behind bars, until he’s offered an opportunity that seems impossible to refuse. A fresh start in a new kind of city - one perhaps tailor-made for people exactly like Graham. Only, is it really?

Orange City’s set in a horribly familiar future, where the past and future are obliterated and its citizens live in a perpetual present dominated by government-aligned corporations that market short term thrills as a distraction from their long hours toiling in soulless office jobs. And Grahame is perfectly aware he’s woefully under-qualified for his own soulless office job, to develop a new advertising campaign for Pow! Soda - one that poses the enigmatic question, what is the secret ingredient? Will he loose his job and be banished to The Zones, a fate worse than his office cubical? Or, will he find out first hand just what the secret ingredient really is?

This is a novel about characters and ideas that show us elements of our own world in a new light. Like Zamyatin’s We, Orwell’s 1984, or Huxley’s Brave New World, the real pleasure of Orange City is in following Graham down the rabbit hole into the murky, hallucinogenic world of Pow! Soda where nothing and no-one is quite what they seem. Before long, Graham has no idea who to trust, and his quest for answers leads him all the way to the top of who’s really in charge of Orange City.

As humorous as it is disturbing, well written, and full of strong, colourful characters and well-crafted world-building, Orange City leaves us with plenty to think about. Events reach an action-packed climax, but it’s the final scene that leaves the strongest impression.

The book is the first part of a series and I’m intrigued as to where the author will take us in Book 2.
Profile Image for Liz (Quirky Cat).
4,034 reviews60 followers
March 8, 2021
From the moment I saw Orage City, I knew I had to read it. The cover simply draws one is, and then the description further captivates. Needless to say, I signed up for the blog tour as fast as possible! And then eagerly waited for my book to arrive in the mail. It was worth the wait.

Orange City is a dark and twisted beast – in all of the best ways possible. To compare it to 1984 would be fair, and it also felt familiar to Clockwork Orange in my mind. Yet it is also a wholly unique read. One that you can’t set expectations for by comparing it to any other novel on the market. It did take me a little while to get into the swing of things, when I picked it up, but once I found myself invested in the story, it simply would not let go of my mind.

It is unusual and will make you think, two things that I’ve come to treasure about books over the years. For that reason alone, I know that I will be remembering Orange City for a long time to come. I personally adored all of the debates and moral dilemmas that Lee Matthew Goldberg brought to the surface here. It makes this dystopian novel hit so much harder than it otherwise could have.

Check out more reviews over at The Review Crew
Profile Image for pillowreader.
82 reviews7 followers
March 6, 2021
I have never read a book so strange yet so good.

Thank you to the author for gifting me this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book is sometimes crazy, often odd, and other times it makes me laugh in confusion. Here is the thing though I can't put it down! The world, the characters the story is unlike anything I have ever read. The story follows Graham, who was given a second chance to live his life in a secret city after being jailed. Things started to get interesting when he was asked to try a new drink called POW, and that's how all the craziness started.

This book reminded me of the divergent. They both have this dystopian world and this kind of division in the city. Of course, there are also a lot of differences, and this book is not suitable for ya audience but, if you like a dystopian world and something a little different, you will definitely dig this book.
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