Series: Landry Park #1
Published by Speak on January 22, 2015
Genres: Dystopia, Young Adult
“Downton Abbey” meets The Selection in this dystopian tale of love and betrayal.
Sixteen-year-old Madeline Landry is practically Gentry royalty. Her ancestor developed the nuclear energy that has replaced electricity, and her parents exemplify the glamour of the upper class. As for Madeline, she would much rather read a book than attend yet another debutante ball. But when she learns about the devastating impact the Gentry lifestyle—her lifestyle—is having on those less fortunate, her whole world is turned upside down. As Madeline begins to question everything she has been told, she finds herself increasingly drawn to handsome, beguiling David Dana, who seems to be hiding secrets of his own. Soon, rumors of war and rebellion start to spread, and Madeline finds herself at the center of it all. Ultimately, she must make a choice between duty—her family and the estate she loves dearly—and desire.
Fans of Ally Condie, Kiera Cass, Veronica Roth, and even Jane Austen will be enthralled by this breathtaking read.
Well phew! For a little bit there, I was nervous. Here I have a signed copy of both books in the duology and I wasn’t sure I was liking Landry Park enough at first. Thankfully it picked up and I ended up really enjoying it.
I thought the concept was great from the word go. We’re basically living in pre-civil war south all over again, except slavery has nothing to do with the color of your skin. That connection would have been all the greater if the book didn’t flat out tell you it was like that. I prefer my books to let me be smart enough to see the connection. I know it’s written for a young adult audience, but make them use their brains!
Anyway… How you live in Landry Park is all based on where your ancestors stood during a war 200 years ago. It’s a pretty cruel way to decide how people will live. Pretty arbitrary, much like the color of one’s skin. Long story short, they’re using nuclear power in this world and the descendants of the losing side, called the Rootless, have the shit job of taking care of that nuclear power when it’s dangerous. They keep the world running and everyone else safe from the harmful effects of the power, while they live in broken down shacks, work in horrible conditions and watch their loved ones suffer and die from cancer and whatever else happens when you’re exposed to radiation.
So the world concept was great but the characters and story for Landry Park could have been better… at least for the first half of the book. Madeline, the main character, was my big problem. She was not unlikeable, she just could have been a lot more likeable. She’s gentry royalty and she loves her glamourous life, even if she has petty complaints. Her interest in the Rootless and their plight often felt insincere. In reality, I think this means Hagan wrote her well – how many daughters of billionaires – wouldn’t struggle to risk losing what they have for the lowest of us? But it makes Madeline frustrating for about half the book. I want to shake her and make her focus. But, she does redeem herself in the second half of the book. And she does feel guilty about caring about her life. She she’s very likeable in the long run. Just continuously frustrating because her sense of urgency is never what I felt it should be.
The romance in Landry Park was one of those elements that frustrated as well. It was a distraction more than a help to the story, in my opinion. I did like the love interest, David. But the mystery of his changing moods and attitudes toward Madeline was just frustrating for me. I didn’t want to focus on it when other things way more important were going on. But again, I thought it was realistic. Of course Madeline, a girl whose whole life has been steered towards getting married and producing heirs is caught up in romance confusion when an entire group of people are suffering.
The end of Landry Park sealed the deal for me though and I couldn’t wait to pick up the next book. The characters were well written and the world was fascinating. I have already read the next book and that 5 star review will be coming soon.
Despite a few frustrations, Berls really enjoyed Landry Park. 3.5/5 stars! Click To Tweet