Format: Hardcover, 374 pages
Release Date: February 4, 2015
Genre: Young Adult / Dystopian
In a fragmented future United States ruled by the lavish gentry, seventeen-year-old Madeline Landry dreams of going to the university. Unfortunately, gentry decorum and her domineering father won't allow that. Madeline must marry, like a good Landry woman, and run the family estate. But her world is turned upside down when she discovers the devastating consequences her lifestyle is having on those less fortunate. As Madeline begins to question everything she has ever learned, she finds herself increasingly drawn to handsome, beguiling David Dana. Soon, rumors of war and rebellion start to spread, and Madeline finds herself and David at the center of it all. Ultimately, she must make a choice between duty - her family and the estate she loves dearly - and desire.
Bethany Hagen's Landry Park has left me with so many emotions, that it is hard for me to explain why I am rating this book with 3 stars or why I decided to pick up the sequel from the library. 17-year old Madeline Landry is the story's primary protagonist. She lives in what is apparently 24th century America where there is a pretty apparent caste system with the Gentry ruling over what are known as the Rootless. She is a direct descendant of the man, Jacob Landry, who created nuclear powered lighting called Cherenkov lantern.
The problem with the lantern is that it needs to be regularly changed and replaced by the lowest caste system in this society. That leads to short life spans, and immense hostility. So, while the Rootless are struggling to survive, Madeleine spends her days reading, learning, attending balls, tea parties, and preparing for her debut in society. What she really wants, is to attend university but her father has no intentions of allowing her to go. The problem with this particular society is that as the oldest and only daughter of the Landry's, she is expected to marry and take over the Landry empire before she turns 21.
I'll say this about Madeline, she mostly held her ground on this issue until it wasn't a choice. She was left with absolutely no choice of going through with her so called debut, and was left choosing between who will become her husband. Madeline's outlook on the caste system changes when her nemesis and fellow Gentry Cara Westoff is found apparently assaulted. This leads to Madeline's father and others blaming the Rootless. This leads Madeline to helping a so called resistance group within the Rootless that want to tear up the caste system, and give everyone a fair shot at getting what they want out of life. Equal and level playing field for everyone. Sounds like Social Justice, right?
Anyway, let's talk about the world building for a moment. ::crickets:: No really, there is none. There is talk about China and an Eastern Alliance attacking the US and taking a major chunk out of the US right up until Colorado. There is talk about China preventing the US from having access to trading partners, oil, and other necessities. Consider that the US has a gluttony of oil resources available, I don't see that happening. I for one am tired of hearing about rising oceans that will destroy the largest cities in this country like NYC, and Miami. We've been hearing this same theory ever since men first walked on the moon.
Madeline finds herself drawn to the everyone wants him, David Dana. But, that isn't good enough for Hagen. Nope. She later adds Jude MacAvery to the triangle mix and then punts him in the nuts when it becomes apparent that Madeline has fallen hard for David and she can't get up again. I personally can't remember the last time I used so many expletives towards a certain character. I can't remember the last time I loathed almost every single character in ONE book, especially Madeline's father and the way he treats both his wife and his daughter and of course, the Rootless. I can't remember the last time I've read a book where there was a FORCED triangle shoved into our faces.
This is why I choose to continue this series. After the events of this book, there will be changes to everyone from the gentry to the Rootless. There is also a certain secret that I will not share about why the Landry's have all gone through a major sickness over the course of their lifetimes. Hagen hasn't touched on the reason yet, but with Madeline's cousin on the case, it is only a matter of time before that is exposed and revealed as well. As for the romance, I dare say that I don't care for the way Jude was handled, or treated. I think writers have got to get over themselves when it comes to triangles of any kind. Someone always loses. Someone always gets their hearts broken.