I read this book on the recommendation of Mery@MyParisianBookshelf and I have to say, I really enjoyed it, despite being sceptical at first! The book is pretty confusing to explain, but I’ll do my best and I would really recommend it to anyone who fancies a thrilling, fast-paced book with loads of imagination behind it.
‘The Thousandth Floor’ is about a big tower in the future where lots of people live. Which floor you live on depends on your wealth, with the richest people living on the top floor (the thousandth floor!) and the poorest on the bottom. The book follows the lives of around five characters, each living in different parts of the tower. As I can remember (it was a while since I read the book and I don’t have a copy on me!), the points of view switch between Avery, who lives right at the top and is the wealthiest, Leda, who is also very rich, Eris, who used to be wealthy but has to move down to one of the bottom floors, Rylin, who is one of the poorest members of the tower and Watt, who is also quite poor and lives down- tower.
Although this switch between perspectives was a little confusing, I generally enjoyed it because it meant I got the same story from different angles and when a character I didn’t like as much came up, I knew that soon it would switch.
The book begins with a prologue, telling the reader that a girl has fallen from the top of the tower- which obviously has a thousand floors, so that’s quite a drop!- and so the whole book, for me, was wondering who that was going to be and why she fell. The fact that McGee used this prologue made the book even more exciting, as in the final scene, I was on the edge of my seat wondering which character it would be that fell. I don’t mean that in a bad way, I wasn’t egging any of the characters on or anything, but it really helped to build up the suspense!
I thought a good way to do the rest of the review was to go through my opinions on each of the characters….
Rylin- She comes first because she was one of my favourite characters. Rylin lives near the bottom of the tower, looking after her sister alone as her mother has recently died. She works as a maid for the low self-esteemed up-tower boy, Cord, who is amazing. I loved the relationship between Rylin and her sister and the way that she worked so hard for her family was so admirable. The way Rylin and Cord act with each other is also both funny and adorable and I loved the innocence of their friendship. Throughout the book there are clear issues with friendships and the common idea that appearances are everything, a very artificial idea, seems to ruin friendships. This meant that Cord and Rylin’s friendship was very refreshing! Out of all the characters, Rylin was the most honest and likable, there was just something about her that made me take to her.
Eris- I also really liked Eris! After finding out a family secret she is forced to leave her up-tower life and move down-tower to a much smaller, less luxurious lifestyle, which is a bit of a reality shock for her. The fact that she is one of Avery’s best friends (the girl who lives on the thousandth floor, at the very wealthiest top of the tower) adds to her sense of shame and it takes her a while to come to terms with her change in situation.
But once Eris meets one of her neighbours, there is the best romance (except from Rylin and Cord <3) and I also thought that Eris was a very likable character, despite her often materialistic outlook at the start. This is only because she doesn’t realise the benefits of living a more simple life, without the clear pressure of wealth and keeping up with a rich lifestyle.
Leda- I really hated Leda. Not as a character, as a character she was written brilliantly – the way McGee encouraged the reader to feel equally sympathetic for and angry at Leda made her a really interesting character, with her clear mental problems and mysterious summer experiences also making her a bit different from the other seemingly perfect characters. However, despite the sympathy I often felt for her at certain stages in the book- when she explains how she feels she cannot tell her best friend that she has been in rehab because of her apparent perfection, for example- I just could not relate to her.
The fact that she manipulated every situation to her advantage, ruining everyone’s lives because of her own selfishness and false conclusions annoyed me so much! The other characters would have ended up in a much different position if she had not been there, which is really frustrating. But then I suppose the book wouldn’t be as exciting or thrilling! Although I really disliked Leda as a person, she was a very realistic character. In fact, every character in the book was brilliantly written.
Avery- Avery was probably the least interesting character of the lot. She is a perfect, genetically modified child, living at the top of the tower with every possible luxury. But despite this, she is not happy and she does not have the one thing she wants, which is something she cannot buy. For me, Avery really highlighted the materialism of their, and maybe even our, society, with Avery’s perfection and wealth acting more as a burden, rather than a gift.
Although I enjoyed following her conflicting emotions towards the person she was in love with, and the struggle she had in keeping her secret, when the story flipped to Avery’s viewpoint I was not as excited as the others, as even with Leda there was some excitement or action, whereas with Avery I found the sections a little dull. I also thought as a character, Avery was quite dull and her often ‘too nice’ personality became boring at times. I’ve just contradicted myself there, saying Leda was too mean and manipulative and now Avery is too nice, maybe I’m just impossible to please. 🙂
Watt- I think, to be honest, Watt was a bit of a random character amongst the other ones and his role in the action wasn’t that big. However, I did think his character was interesting and I really enjoyed reading the bits from his, Rylin’s and Eris’ points of view, as the lower part of the tower interested me in that is showed the divisions between the rich and the poor. The poorer peoples’ lives were, generally, more interesting to read about. Watt is a computer (and lots of other devices seeing as in this future world people have computers in their contact lenses, with no need for phones!) hacker and he is given a job by Leda to track and, basically, stalk the man she loves. This is really how he gets caught up in all the action, with him slowly becoming part of Leda’s and then Avery’s world. Throughout the novel he knows everything, due to this hacking abilities, and even Avery’s dark secret is not a secret for him or his high-tech computer system.
Overall, I would say that I really enjoyed this book and I loved all the small details that Katharine McGee included, such as the new scientific developments of the future and the different drugs that people would have access to. This world that McGee created was also so realistic, as although we are not at the stage of living in an artificial, thousand floor high tower, the amount of technology we have access to is slowly growing and all the things that McGee created were not out of the realms of possibility, making for an interesting, if slightly worrying, read!
Thanks for reading, let me know what you thought of this book, or any books you’re reading at the moment, in the comments below!!
Currently reading: ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ by Stephen Chbosky