Friday, February 10, 2017

The Thousandth Floor - Katharine McGee (The Thousandth Floor #1)

The Thousandth Floor (The Thousandth Floor, #1)I read a snip of The Thousandth Floor sometime before it actually came out, so when it hit my library I put myself on the waitlist.  The snip featured the prologue of the book, in which a beautiful young woman falls from the eponymous thousandth floor of the Tower, which is I guess like the NYC of the future (and takes up most of Manhattan).  There's something tantalizing about that beginning.  Something that hints at glitter and glam but with a dark underside.  I was excited to see more.

Unfortunately, this book fell flat.  The Tower, which could have been an amazing setting, is really no different than our current New York, except with things like touchscreens and holograms everywhere.  There's a large ensemble cast of characters, all of them in their teens, who spend all of their time partying and doing drugs.  Indeed, there are two main plots here that intertwine, and they can most easily be described as "love and drugs."  Two characters like the same guy (who happens to be the adoptive brother of one of the two) and the rest of them spend their time doing and selling drugs.  Oh, and there's one character who suddenly loses all of her wealth and another who is a hacker.  While there was glitter and glam and polish, I really wish we could have seen something other than how the people on the 900-something floors lived.  Eris and Watt offered a glimpse into lower-floor life but even then they spent most of their time pretending to belong to the upper floors, so that real sense of what life was like down below didn't come through.

The writing here isn't bad; McGee can very easily convey has glamorous it is to be Avery, who lives in the thousandth floor penthouse, and she does handily weave together all of the characters' stories to lead up to the climax--the girl falling off the top.  All throughout the book there's a lingering question: Which girl will it be?  Eris?  Leda?  Avery?  That is the question.  However, I do still think there were too many characters and the same could have been accomplished with a slightly smaller cast.

And then there's this.  The end.  That the entire book leads up to the end, and then it's set up so that the real plot, dealing with the consequences of that fateful fall, will be done in two other, future books.  But I don't buy the ending.  I don't buy that all of the witnesses to the fall choose to say nothing for fear that their own petty little secrets will be revealed.  All of them could easily conceal what they've done if the person who threatens them with their secrets actually said something.  As one character says in the course of the story...who would the police believe?  Certainly not the blackmailer, in this case.  And honestly, is a murder really something you should keep secret so your own little dramas can continue to play out?  I can't believe that even a group of spoiled teenagers would have such an ambiguous moral compass that they would letter a murder go as an accident, when they liked the victim, for such small reasons.  I didn't mind the characters, though I did honestly find their lives vapid, but I just can't go along with such a ridiculous premise for another two books.

Oh, and there's also a drugging and rape (female perpetrator) that McGee just kind of brushes off as a seduction, which it most definitely was NOT.  Not good.

2 stars out of 5.

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