The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Summary: New York City as you’ve never seen it before. A thousand-story tower stretching into the sky. A glittering vision of the future, where anything is possible—if you want it enough.
Welcome to Manhattan, 2118.
A hundred years in the future, New York is a city of innovation and dreams. But people never change: everyone here wants something…and everyone has something to lose.
Leda Cole’s flawless exterior belies a secret addiction—to a drug she never should have tried and a boy she never should have touched.
Eris Dodd-Radson’s beautiful, carefree life falls to pieces when a heartbreaking betrayal tears her family apart.
Rylin Myers’s job on one of the highest floors sweeps her into a world—and a romance—she never imagined…but will her new life cost Rylin her old one?
Watt Bakradi is a tech genius with a secret: he knows everything about everyone. But when he’s hired to spy by an upper-floor girl, he finds himself caught up in a complicated web of lies.
And living above everyone else on the thousandth floor is Avery Fuller, the girl genetically designed to be perfect. The girl who seems to have it all—yet is tormented by the one thing she can never have.
Debut author Katharine McGee has created a breathtakingly original series filled with high-tech luxury and futuristic glamour, where the impossible feels just within reach. But in this world, the higher you go, the farther there is to fall….
I needed something to kick me out of a recent book rut so I thought this would do the trick. I'll say right now that the thing that drew me to this book is my deep & abiding love for my favorite apartment in science fiction, Republica. That's right, that shining tower spanning thousands of floors with every mod con and all the interesting, fashionable (& political) people of Coruscant's Galactic City living, loving, plotting, conniving & also going generally off the rails occasionally. The place had everything from entertainment to medical facilities & it's said that there were residents who never left the place from birth to death. This whole idea fascinates me so, The Thousandth Floor had me because of the promise of something similar.
If anything, I wanted more world-building. The Tower was fairly well laid out & described but ultimately, there's no context on how this place fits in with the rest of the outside world. I did like the mention that there were other similar towers in other locations around the world & it's made me think there could be interesting stories to be told from those who reside in them. Are these towers constructed by one architectural group or is there a Dubai situation going on where these great constructs are the work & will of a very wealthy & visionary individual or family? It's not explained why those eking out a living of strife & toil on the lower levels chose to live this way inside the Tower. Is life outside the tower worse, more dangerous. even less desirable? Perhaps this will be covered in the next book. I did love the future tech and all things Nadia. While I'm still contemplating my comfort with ingesting gummy candy with RFID chips in them, the screaming & wiggling Gummy Buddies candy has my interest.
Now to the characters.
Rylin had my interest the whole way through. She finished as she began, a favorite. Watt too was worth every word devoted to him & he started off & finished as a well done character. I look forward to more from both.
Leda was one of the most interesting characters and while I enjoyed her having an actual arc and personality, she devolved into a drug-maddened unsympathetic shell by the end. Here's to hoping for a bit of character redemption in the next book. Eris began basic but by book's end had become one of the best characters.
Fifty pages in, I was already hoping Avery was the girl in the prologue who takes the plunge to her death off The Tower. Alas, I reached the final page disappointed. All that money spent on genetically engineering her into being and her parents didn't bother to get her an enhanced personality. Apparently the only things you can manipulate genetically in the future is still physicality. Pity. Her brother, Atlas, flirted with being interesting but that unfortunately fizzled. Cord became tolerable but only because of his connection to Rylin. In general, the monied males need a lot of work. Their personalities & gender attitudes were like they stepped out of modern day America from any teen show from 1990 to now. One hundred years on & they're stuck in our modern day rich teen boy trope? It just felt dated, much like a lot of the slang being the same as that of today.
About the sib-cest situation... not rooting for it & won't because the author didn't sell it. One hundred years in the future & apparently siblings hooking up is still wrong not just frowned upon which explains Avery's shameful secret lust for Atlas. At times it seemed the writer wanted the reader to root for Avery "getting her man" because... twu wuv but who can invest when the characters are themselves hesitant because they know sleeping with the kin folk is not cute? I'm not sure where the writer is trying to go with this. If it's "only adopted" & the siblings aren't related by blood (while having been raised as such from a very young age), the familial bonds don't count & the hook up is on? Does only blood matter? Adopteds aren't "real" family members? I needed the author to pick a lane & ride it to the end here. She's going to need to do more to sell Aves & At as rootable because I'm still side-eyeing their vibe like they're channelling Woody & Soon-Yi. Not cute.
Some weird similarities to another series struck me. Avery felt very like Glass (from The 100) to me. Not good. In other things Very Like The 100 here, there's a familial connection that was so similar to Wells & Bellamy, I balked. I know these two series are written by different authors but this made me wonder if The Thousandth Floor is also under the Alloy Entertainment multi-platform umbrella going for YA sci-fi setting drama.
I read this in a day so I give points for being a page turner. It's a good, quick read & I'm fairly sure I'll read the next in the series. Recommended as it definitely got me out of my slump.
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