4 out of 5 stars
Ahoy, spoilers! The Thousandth Floor series ends with a twist that I think I saw coming. Or maybe I just really wanted it to happen.
It ends as it began: with a death. Sort of. The first book in this series started with a flashback of an unknown girl plunging off the 1000th floor of the world’s greatest superstructure. The final installment does the same…-ish.
In book one, Eris dies. As book two ends and three begins, Mariel is dead. How and when and by whose hand: that is the question. The secret of the first death have fueled the second, the paranoia fueled to a boiling point. Friends turned against friends could go either way: take each other down for good, or band together to get to the truth.
In The Towering Sky, everything is exposed. Katharine McGee keeps her multitude of plates spinning to the end. As they crash one by one, each takes a carefully orchestrated web of secrets and lies down with it. Avery and Atlas’ relationship, Watt’s supercomputer, Leda’s family skeleton. Rylin always had the least to hide (and it seemed she could have fixed her problem with a little gumption), but she gets a new and better twist to end this series. There’s even a whole new main character named Calliope, and and who doesn’t love a con artist? All comes around to an end that isn’t as surprising as this series is good, but it’s just as satisfying.
Through three books, McGee writes her characters with true depth. They’re sleek and shiny while still interesting; avoiding the opposite pitfalls of being cheap or plodding. Despite their rarefied air, any could be your friend. It gave me a true sense of why they go to such lengths for each other.
It seems to me that McGee envisioned this ending before she wrote the series. It’s a tight bow, not too neat, on the entire package. The best series seem to know where they’re going from the start. Like the rest of this story: it’s not earth-shattering, or even that unpredictable. But it’s quiet and confident and very enjoyable.