Have you ever wondered what it might be like if all the streets, skyscrapers, monuments, and parks in NYC were stacked on top of each other instead of sprawled out across the island of Manhattan? It would probably be, like, a thousand stories high.
That’s exactly the setting Katharine McGee has created. And it’s ridiculously amazing.
It’s the year 2118, and the Tower dominates the skyline. The Tower is 1,000 stories high and contains homes, hotels, restaurants, nightclubs, arenas, churches, playgrounds, aquariums… you name it, it’s there. Your status is dictated by the floor on which you live and the higher up you go, the more you have to lose.
The story is told from the alternating perspectives of five main characters: Leda, Eris, Watt, Rylin, and Avery.
Leda has a prescription drug problem and is hiding a recent stint in rehab from everyone, including best friend Avery. She also has a secret crush that, if revealed, could tear their friendship apart.
Eris is a highlier (a term used for the wealthy who live on the upper floors) whose life is shattered when her family falls apart, costing her the status and lifestyle to which she is so accustomed.
Watt is a computer genius who is hiding a very brilliant, but very illegal device, somewhere no one would think to look. He has insight into everything and everyone in The Tower, which puts him in a very tough position when he’s hired as a spy for a highlier.
Rylin lives in poverty near the lowest floors, and struggles to keep her and her sister afloat after the death of her parents. But when rich and handsome Cord Anderton hires her to be his maid, she may find a way to leave her old life behind.
Avery lives at the literal top of the world on the 1,000th floor. Her parents genetically designed her to be flawless, and she lives the lavish, perfect life her parents dreamed for her. She never wants for anything, except the one secret thing she can never have. If that secret ever gets out, it will no doubt destroy her.
COULD THIS BE MORE INTRIGUING?!
Oh, yes. It can. The prologue kicks the story off with an unnamed girl plummeting from the 1,000th floor of the Tower. It takes her three full minutes to fall the two miles to her death… the first time anyone has fallen from the Tower in its 20+ year history. The story then goes back two months and chronicles the events that led up to her death. It’s mysterious, intriguing, and the uncertainty of who is or isn’t going to survive is always lingering in the back of readers’ minds.
One of the things I really loved was the futuristic technology McGee created. Do these teens have social media and texting/instant communication? Of course! Do they use phones, computers, and tablets to do it? Only if you’re the poorest of the poor. The rich kids have CONTACTS. That’s right. A legit gadget to monitor social media feeds and call/email your friends that you operate by TWITCHING YOUR EYE.
Dude, seriously. I can’t even pull myself away from my phone. If I had texting and social media in my eyeballs, there’d be no end to my madness.
This is very much a Gossip Girl-esque novel, as it is primarily about the exploits of uber-rich teenagers. So if you’re a fan of those types of antics, this novel is definitely for you. McGee’s writing is great, and the story is well paced and steadily keeps moving.
I was a huge fan of this one and I was very excited to see that a sequel is in the works. It doesn’t have a true cliffhanger ending (i.e. you’re not left thinking, “OMG WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED?!”) It’s a solid ending and the mysterious death we see in the prologue is fully explained, but the story absolutely will continue. I thoroughly enjoyed The Thousandth Floor and am eagerly awaiting the next one.
OFFICIAL RATING: 8.5/10
*One thing I have to mention . I’ve read a handful of other reviews on The Thousandth Floor and many of them describe this novel as dystopian. I feel this novel is NOT a dystopia. A dystopian story features a government or other ruling body that asserts a seemingly perfect society by oppressing its people (think the Capitol and Panem in The Hunger Games).
This book doesn’t feature a corrupt ruling body or government. There is no oppression or illusion of a perfect society. There is no rebellion when one of the main characters discovers how shady everything is. IMHO, The Thousandth Floor could best be described somewhat as light science fiction about teens living in a futuristic setting in which class systems are still the norm.
And with that, I’ll get off my soap box. And, with my luck, I’ll probably trip over my own feet on my way down.