the thousandth floor by katharine mcgee
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
"The skies began to open overhead. Sudden rain poured down, the droplets so cold and fast that they stung Avery's face. But she couldn't move. She just stood there like a lightning rod as the storm gathered around her, her feet rooted in place, a hand raised to touch her lips in wonder."
I don't quite know where to start with this book. It was so intricate and well written, that all I can do is applaud Katharine McGee for such a stunning debut novel.
The Thousandth Floor follows a group of teenagers living in New York City one-hundred years in the future. Central Park is now a one-thousand-story tower, which contains a city in itself, with its own transport system, housing, schools, shops etc. People with a lower socioeconomic status towards the bottom of the tower, and right at the top resides New York's elite.
Firstly, the way that McGee has build this futuristic world was incredibly smart and believable, acknowledging a vast array of cultural factors such as technology, social norms and aesthetics. At certain points I would ask myself a question about the world, almost thinking I had found a hole in McGee's creation, only for it to be answered a few sentences later.
Secondly, I love the way this book is written. I am fascinated by the skill level of an author who writes a book with chapters representing different points of view. I have read some books written similarly, where it has been too easy to get lost amongst the characters but this is not the case in The Thousandth Floor. It was easy enough to follow (I admit that I did restart the book about 50 pages in as I had too long of a break from the book and lost track - so you do need to focus with this read), and the chapters were the perfect length to be on the edge of your seat, without feeling disjointed.
McGee's writing style is also quite beautiful, full of fantastic wit and imagery, which is almost poetic. I was excited to reopen this novel at the start of every sitting, and felt right at home, comfortably sinking into the dynamic paragraphs of each chapter.
The story is the only place where I feel some people may not rate this book as highly. Not a whole lot happens until about two-thirds through the book, although I don't necessarily think this is a bad thing. Think of it like a television series with a slow build where the story is mainly focused around smaller character plots and relationships. This didn't bother me too much. I was still thoroughly entertained, as I would be watching a television show similar, and being a trilogy I am aware that there is more to come. In saying this, the dramatic ending was really what had me on the edge of my seat and was definitely necessary for me to recommend it as highly as I do.
I could write about this book forever, and cannot wait for the second book. Note that while GoodReads places this book in the Young Adult genre category, I do think it holds a higher level of sophistication, but have added it to the genre category anyway. Think science-fiction Gossip Girl with an edge -- I really could not recommend this book more!