The Thousandth Floor reads like a doll house. No matter how intricate and detailed the world, the people living in it are only dolls. Sure, in this doll house you’ve got real Mattel Barbie’s that were expensive. Just like there are dolls of a knock-off brand. In the end it doesn’t matter how much they’re worth. All of them are dolls in the end. The only difference is the clothes they wear and the shinier hair.
What I’m trying to say is: no matter how pretty and well crafted this world was (and it was!), the story was flat. Most of the characters acted the same. If their names weren’t at the top of each chapter I’m sure for most of them you wouldn’t even have noticed who’s chapter it was. I haven’t been able to recognise any quirks or even character traits that make these characters unique. Except for Watt, who wasn’t interesting because of his characteristics but the clever use of technology Katherine McGee is able to produce. Maybe it feels this way because this book was one big dramabomb.
Which I did expect, mind you. Hell, I picked up this book because it promised me Gossip Girl with technology. I won’t say they didn’t keep their promise, but I’m still let down. What Gossip Girl does so well is give us a glimpse of society life and all the bitches that roam high school, through their eyes but also a poor girl that will do anything to be a part of them. Through Jenny’s eyes (the poor girl) you get thrown into this crazy wild life that millions of teenage girls dream about – but should be careful of what they wish for. It’s crazy, it’s dramatic, it’s hysterical and it deliveres. That should be the keyword here. For me The Thousandth Floor didn’t deliver. There was a lot of drama and hysteria, but in the end the reasoning behind it always felt stupid. Atlas’ reason for leaving so long feels like a cop-out and so does the one that falls from the tower. There’s always more characters with their drama, more new plotpoins to focus on, but when we get to the reveal it never feels worth fuzzing so much over. I want what Gossip Girl gave me. I need true scandals that completely drag these characters. I crave for the exact guilty pleasure factor I get whenever I click a news article about the Kardashians. That you know you just can’t help clicking it every time, because for some reason you need to know. I want to SEE them in rehab, I want the differences between living on the highest floors and the lowest be even more apparant. Sure, this book has big, dramatic secrets. But they aren’t juicy nor fun.
Another thing seriously all characters have in common is their drug problems. Why is drugs such a big part of this novel? Did McGee want to make a point about recreational drugs? If so, what’s her point?! That drugs are dangerous or that they should all be legalized. I get using drugs for some characters and to show how far they’ll go to pleasure themselves, but it was mentioned a little too much.
The scenes that were fun consist of actual sweet moments. It’s the parts that some characters become humble that can actually be called good. The couples that could be called starcrossed lovers and that were made up out of a person living in the lower parts and in the higher were my favorite. Those scenes the characters outgrew being Ken and Barbie, if only for a second. They actually showed character growth and felt like people. Also, I love this book having an LGBTQA+ couple without anyone having to come out of the closet. In this world it seemed normal and the characters didn’t feel ashamed about it. I hope more writers use that for their novels.
It’s not the only thing I loved about this book. If The Thousandth Floor is a doll house than it’s a very well crafted one. The tower felt like the tower of Babel, only when they weren’t able to all speak the same language anymore. I love that the world feels like it could be our future. The technology feels like a natural process from what we have now. And it’s incorperated just as well as the LGBTQA+ couple. I’m hoping one day I get to play in an ARena myself. The honoary mention goes to Watt and Nadia. I think it’s really cool how far McGee took it and how realistic for this world it all is. Sometimes I wonder if Katherine McGee has written a book in the wrong genre. Her world building skills are superb, but the actual characters don’t set this novel apart from any average young adult high school novel.
The Thousandth Floor is a novel by Katherine McGee.