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.
Madeline Landry is the heiress to the most renown estate in a futuristic Kansas City. Being the only daughter of the most powerful man in the gentry and a descendant of the incredible scientist who changed gentry history, she has many responsibilities- running the property, finding a husband and keeping on their lineage. With all the privileges of her birthright, Madeline is, unfortunately, unable to do what she wants most- attend the university. However, when David Dana comes in to picture, she learns that there are other things her heart yearns for.
“You were like looking through a telescope at the galaxies. I felt dizzy and small just seeing you. I wanted nothing more than you, which was terrifying, because I spent most of my time vacillating between what I wanted for my own life.”
I finished Landry Park in one sitting, my eyes never leaving the words before me and my index finger constantly flipping through the pages. I think I forgot to blink for one moment. So, yes. I was pretty much hooked with reading this one. Bethany Hagen’s story-telling is sublime. She captures perfectly the impression she wants to make- a dystopian novel with a historical articulation. Her recount flows effortlessly and she paints an amazing picture of the setting in the reader’s head, giving much detail and background about every piece of information handed out in the book. Her vocabulary is also extensive, fitting perfectly with the theme.
No matter how small I felt, how infinitesimal my feeble gestures seemed, I was part of a larger chain, a larger system, and so help me, I would bring order to this chaos.
While the writing is superior, the author’s development of the plot and especially of the main character was just the same. I adored Madeline; she was well-read, obviously smart, ambitious & determined, but most of all, she was honest, righteous and kind. She saw the disdain of the gentry towards the Rootless aka the poor. She saw that it was wrong and she wanted to make it right and was willing to help in the little ways she could. But she isn’t the perfect heroine- she questions herself often too and her character felt genuine then. We also see her not just as a heroine, but as a young girl who was being told by her parents what to do, who was reclusive when it came to social gatherings, who got all dumbfounded when facing a certain handsome young man. She got braver and bolder as the story went on and I found myself cheering for her during the latter part of the book.
“Marriage is not supposed to be like war.”
Elinor came over to help the seamstress pull my corset tighter. “With the gentry, everything is like war.”
David Dana, Madeline’s love interest may or may not be the epitome of temperamental. Quickly changing from hot to cold, he is a source of constant confusion for Madeline. Sadly, I didn’t fall in love with him as much as I wished (although his kisses are spicy, smoky and all). I’m hoping that the second book will sort that out. Still, David was likable, if you’re in to the unpredictable type. Aside from him, I also liked the other characters, especially Cara whose change in the story was nice to see. I was, however, disappointed by Jude’s role in the story. While some of the revelations about the characters in the book didn’t surprise me, I like that they kept me hanging on and that they still made the plot slightly more intriguing.
I steeled myself against that smile, against that warm hand, against the flight of fancy on the velvet grass. I refused to be the kind of star-crossed girl who falls in love with the eager knight. But then I found myself smiling back.
In conclusion, despite my small misgivings, I would like to emphasize that Landry Park was a fantastic read. It’s an outstanding debut novel and I’m really looking forward to reading the next books. I highly recommend that y’all add this to your TBR shelves and give it a read some time. Definitely a dystopian series to watch out for!
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