“Welcome back to New York, 2119. A skyscraper city, fueled by impossible dreams, where the lives of five teenagers have become intertwined in ways that no one could have imagined.
Leda just wants to move on from what happened in Dubai. Until a new investigation forces her to seek help—from the person she’s spent all year trying to forget. Rylin is back in her old life, reunited with an old flame. But when she starts seeing Cord again, she finds herself torn: between two worlds, and two very different boys.
Calliope feels trapped, playing a long con that costs more than she bargained for. What happens when all her lies catch up with her? Watt is still desperately in love with Leda. He’ll do anything to win her back—even dig up secrets that are better left buried. And now that Avery is home from England—with a new boyfriend, Max—her life seems more picture-perfect than ever. So why does she feel like she would rather be anything but perfect?”
-Synopsis from Goodreads
I was really glad that The Towering Sky started with a thorough recap of what happened in the last two books because it has been quite a while since I read them, and although I remembered the big moments, I was fuzzy on the details.
In The Towering Sky, Leda’s actions from the previous two books are finally catching up with her. If she doesn’t do something about it, not only will her worst secrets be revealed and her life ruined, but the secrets of Avery, Watt, and Rylin will be revealed, too. Each of them wants to move on from what happened last year and start fresh, but when the police open up a new investigation into Mariel’s death, they have no choice but to reconnect and try to figure out what the police know and what the repercussions could be.
As with the previous books, each chapter is a new viewpoint from either Avery, Leda, Watt, Rylin, or Calliope. While Calliope is still very much a main character in this book, her story isn’t connected to the others. Instead, we see Calliope dealing with an entirely different issue. She and her mom are attempting to settle down and retire from the con life, starting with her mom getting married to a wealthy man who believes Calliope and her mom are selfless philanthropists who have been traveling the world doing humanitarian work. Keeping up the act is trying for Calliope and her patience for living a fake life, and the thought of being stuck in it, is wearing thin.
I was more interested in Calliope’s story than anyone else’s for the majority of the book. The other character’s storylines were just not as strong for me; it felt like a lot of re-hashing of old plots with not a lot of new material. There is plenty of growth in each character, I just wasn’t very interested in their stories. I think it was because I didn’t “care” enough about them at this point in the series.
I will say that from the beginning, I have never been able to get over how out of left field Avery’s secret relationship is with her adoptive brother. I was never able to get on the side of feeling sorry for her for having to hide her true love from the world. No matter what, I just couldn’t rationalize it in my head. The other characters had secrets that were more believable (murder, building an illegal computer, dealing drugs) but this was so random and odd to me and I couldn’t decide if I was willing to just go with it for the sake of the story or if it was truly necessary. This ultimately made it a distraction for me. I also think the trope of having a character (Avery) who appears to be perfect but is actually misunderstood and only wants to break out of her box is a bit overdone for me.
I also never really connected with Leda. She is just such an awful character! Not once did I feel sorry for her, even when we find out the truth about Eris. As for Watt, I was lukewarm about his storyline, too. The only character I sympathized with and wanted to see more of was Rylin, and it felt like she was hardly in the book at all.
I think a big part of what made this series enjoyable was the fact that it is set in 2119 and we get to see the futuristic New York City. The concept of the Tower and the thousandth floor and everything (literally) in between the tower was fascinating to me. The tech described was ingenious and fun, everything from the contacts people wear to communicate with one another, to the vitamin and minerals pumped into the air to keep people healthy, the hover cars, and more. If the series weren’t set in the future, I don’t know that I would have been as eager to read it.
At the end of the day, I did enjoy this series even though it didn’t reach out and grab me as much as I wanted it to; it was interesting but it wasn’t life changing. If there had been more than three books, I wouldn’t have continued with it which I think is the best way to sum it up.
Goodreads rating: Four stars