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?”


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