Sunday, September 11, 2016

Review: The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee

The Thousandth Floor

Author: Katharine McGee
Release: August 30th 2016
Genre: Science Fiction, YA
#1 in the Thousandth Floor duology
Sequels: Untitled (#2)

Plot:

New York City as you’ve never seen it before. A thousand-story tower stretching into the sky. A glittering vision of the future, where anything is possible—if you want it enough.

Welcome to Manhattan, 2118.

A hundred years in the future, New York is a city of innovation and dreams. But people never change: everyone here wants something…and everyone has something to lose.

Leda Cole’s flawless exterior belies a secret addiction—to a drug she never should have tried and a boy she never should have touched.

Eris Dodd-Radson’s beautiful, carefree life falls to pieces when a heartbreaking betrayal tears her family apart.

Rylin Myers’s job on one of the highest floors sweeps her into a world—and a romance—she never imagined…but will her new life cost Rylin her old one?

Watt Bakradi is a tech genius with a secret: he knows everything about everyone. But when he’s hired to spy by an upper-floor girl, he finds himself caught up in a complicated web of lies.

And living above everyone else on the thousandth floor is Avery Fuller, the girl genetically designed to be perfect. The girl who seems to have it all—yet is tormented by the one thing she can never have.

Review:

Honestly, this book is just so infuriatingly frustrating and full of clich├ęs that make you want to rip your hair out. I wish I could say in its defense that at least it's engaging and addictive, but it isn't even that. I can't even tell you what drove me to finish this after all, because nothing about this one is in any way compelling.

The thing that angered me the most were probably the horrible white stereotypes cast upon the book. There's white, blonde Avery, who's the most beautiful girl in the whole world — literally, since she was genetically engineered to be. And then she's also the richest girl living on the very thousandth floor, above everyone else in every way. But oh no, she is not stuck-up or arrogant in any way, in fact, she hates when people call attention to her flawless looks and she doesn't even care about all of her money! What. A. Darling. Am I right. She was just so aggravatingly perfect and McGee tried so hard to make her "the best" character of all of them, morally and aesthetically superior to everyone else and she has it all, looks, money and she even gets the boy she supposedly cannot ever have at the end. Big motherfucking surprise. And then we have the evil villain who's a drug addict and, oh, incidentally also (half-) black, the Asian boy who is a manipulative dick to his (half?) Korean girlfriend, who is poor and has another toxic imbalanced relationship with a rich white kid, not to forget the promiscuous bisexual girl who ends up dead and the lesbian girlfriend who's left behind, grieving and in pain. It made me so fucking mad you won't believe. 

And for a book that so desperately hinges on its characters to carry the story, they sadly weren't very well developed or well-written for that matter either. Not enough to make me care about them and subsequently care about the book, it all simply fell really flat and was mostly uninteresting, especially because I basically had two characters whose lives I cared about a little at least, and then having to read all the other boring POVs in between was very close to torture a lot of the time.

Lastly, the world-building, which was lacking in all aspects, much as the rest of the novel. This book takes place in the future and in this thousand-floor Tower, but McGee is either very inconsistent in what she wants her world to be or she's just really bad at descriptions and unintentionally vague. Because there's this Tower, okay, but it's really huge and it is shopping malls, churches, arcade centers and basically everything you could ever need all rolled into one, so it also has to be really huge in both height and width, right? Is that it? And at first I thought that maybe something had happened to the world and now there were only these Towers left and NYC was basically only this one Tower and that's it, but that didn't seem to be the case either. This isn't a wholly original sci-fi novel with a groundbreaking premise and interesting world-building, because it's just our regular ol' world, nothing exciting happened to it over the last hundred years apparently, they just built this huge damn tower for the lulz and now everyone and their grandma just lives in it, just because. It was all very anti-climactic and like I said, very fuzzy and hazy with the actual descriptions and I could never get a right image of all of it in my head. Which is extremely bad and sloppy writing. 

And that is something I can say for most of the book. It's simply sloppy — she takes the most unoriginal concepts and stereotypes and writes a book about it. McGee isn't doing anything new, in fact, she's not doing anyone a favor with her horrible caricatures she calls characters. Rather, she's doing some harm in portraying and perpetrating these harmful stereotypes and expectations of different races, sexualities and so on. Right, all black people are evil criminals. All bisexuals constantly sleep around. Only the beautiful white girl is pure and perfect. Sure, got'cha. Needless to say, I think I probably won't be back for the second book. 

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