The Thousandth Floor is set in Manhattan in 2118, where a thousand storey tower covers blocks and stretches miles into the sky. Millions of people live and work across the hundreds of floors, from the poorest in the slums of the bottom floors to the very richest in the top few floors. Within the tower, a bunch of teenagers are trying to figure their lives out only to see their stories intertwine to a tragic conclusion.
The story opens with a girl falling from the roof of the miles-high tower. The book then jumps a month or so into the past and we’re shown the events running up to the tragedy. We’re not told who the girl is or why she falls, so in some respects this is a murder mystery - who is the girl and why does she fall? Was she pushed? Did she jump? The reader is kept guessing to the end, and the epilogue is a perfect set-up for the next instalment.
In a lot of ways The Thousandth Floor feels like a soap opera, and I mean that in the best possible way. It’s high-emotion, high-drama, not-terribly-realistic, and pure escapism. The emotional drama of this book made it a really fun read. I literally couldn’t put it down and even though it’s fairly long I read it in about a day and a half.
Even though this book is set a hundred years in the future, in terms of what people do and like and worry about, it’s remarkably like the present day. You have Rylin, who lives near the bottom of the tower, who is desperately trying to keep er dead-end job so her sister doesn’t get taken into care. Eris has issues with her parents and suddenly finds her life turned upside down. Leda is addicted to drugs and obsessed with a boy who doesn’t like her back. And Avery, a girl who seems to have it all, but is in love with the one person she can’t have: her adopted brother.
The world-building is good although it is mainly centred around the technological advances that have taken place over the coming century. I would have liked to see it investigate why social inequalities are exactly the same as they are today despite these huge advances, or maybe a bit more about what life is like in New York outside the tower as I think this would have given the story a bit more depth, but I still enjoyed it the way it was.
A lot of the pull comes from the portrayal of the characters. Even though the story is told from five viewpoints (brave decision by the author), everyone has their own voice and personality and the storyline never gets muddled or goes off on random tangents. Gradually we see how everyone’s storyline gets intertwined until the tragic rooftop finale.
I hadn’t realised this was the first in a series, and now I’m desperately looking forward to the second book. All in all, I’d say this is a really great read!
I was given a copy of The Thousandth Floor in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to HarperCollins and Netgalley