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. (goodreads.com)
So on the one hand I thought the world was lazy. On the other hand I ended up really liking the story itself. I’m not necessarily in the middle of this. Leaning closer to liking it than not, but it is hard to get past the world part of it for me.
The world: it read to me like Hagen wanted to write a story set during the Victorian era but didn’t want to do the research required in order to do that. So she pulled obviously Victorian things like a patriarchal society, corsets, snobbery, and tea and littered her world with it. Also mixed in were modern things like vehicles, iPad-type things, TVs, and the like. Also a feudal-like society with a ruling elite because no one in these worlds ever learns from history. *cough*peasantrevolt*cough*
It was just very weak to me. The world is ruled by nuclear energy, the likes of which are forcibly thrust onto the poor to change out and handle because screw those guys. The ruling class repeating to themselves that they’re HELPING the poor people by doing this and making them functioning members of society while rationing their food is hilarious. Of course it’s a comment on modern society. Kind of hard to miss that. But in a book where the world is very important, I’m just not impressed with it at all. Like I said: lazy. That’s the best way to put it.
On the other hand I actually really liked the story. It took some unpredictable twists and went down some pretty dark roads that I totally didn’t expect and I ended up being pleasantly surprised. Madeline ended up being incredibly realistic and relatable, especially when it came to helping the Rootless. David was the same way. Hagen shows the intention of the wealthy, their desire to help, but unwillingness to forfeit their comfort in order to do it. They’ll help from their plush living situations. Madeline struggled with that a lot. She didn’t want to leave Landry Park and spent a lot of time convincing herself that she could do more good from inside the estate.
Cara, I think, ended up being my favorite character, though. I knew from the beginning that there had to be a reason behind the way she acted, some kind of attention grab, playing some game, something. There had to be more to her than met the eye. And there was. She turned out to be just as multi-dimensional as Madeline and David and the three of them together make a rather dynamic trinity of characters that I look forward to following.
The story ended in a place that hooked me in. I’ve added the next book to my Goodreads Want list. I want to see where it goes and what the characters do with themselves. At the same time I’m still not a fan of the world, and that’s a big mark against the book in my eyes. So I’m not frothing at the face to get my hands on the next one, but I would like to read what happens next eventually.
Read LANDRY PARK for the story, not so much the world. The plot has a lot to offer and I was surprised how much I liked it by the time I was done reading it. But if you’re a world whore like I am you may be less-than-impressed from that perspective. It annoys me that that black mark is there on the book for me, but it is what it is. I look forward to reading more at some point.