Series: Landry Park #1
Published by Penguin on February 4th 2014
“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.
I feel a bit on the fence about this book. On one hand, it did entertain me, and that certainly counts for something. On the other, it felt very… done before. Not that the story wasn’t unique in its own right, but I guess it just didn’t stick out for me in a sea of similar books. Let’s break it down, shall we?
- The Characters: Madeline was a good protagonist, most of the time. I liked her, and I usually felt pretty connected to her, so that was good. She wanted to be well rounded, she wanted a chance to study before settling down to have a family, she was quite strong in her convictions. There was one inconsistency that irked me about her though. While she was sympathetic to the Rootless, she was ridiculously worried about some cosmetic house damage, which didn’t seem to fit with someone who was otherwise not that concerned with gentry things. I understood even her wavering when it came to rebelling against her father, that made sense. But the drama over the house stuff confused me.
I was also very intrigued by what Cara’s situation was, and certainly felt sympathetic for the Rootless. And I had lots of wavering feelings about David, but I more liked him than I didn’t. And Jude didn’t seem necessary, and I feel like maybe he isn’t what he seems. Or I hope, because he needs a point. Otherwise, dude needs to go home. So the characters overall were a positive.
- Parent-in-YA Syndrome: You know, when a parent is either useless, harmful, dead, or vanished? Ugh, here we have your typical horrible excuse for a father, who only cares about his precious legacy. And a mother who is pretty useless overall. I do like the interaction with David’s mother and Madeline’s father, that was kind of fun and different. Otherwise, they were just… there.
- The Romance: This was not a love triangle. It was a love… pentagon? But it wasn’t. It is so hard to explain without spoilers, but it is not any kind of typical love triangle, so that was good. There was some insta-attraction, but not love, so that was fine. I enjoyed the romance part of the book.
- The writing: It was good, though a little slower than I would have liked at times, but overall, I can’t complain.
- The Plot: It was entertaining, but just a bit overdone. I think this may be in part because I oversaturated myself with dystopian books in general, but there isn’t anything that really stuck out as completely fresh to me. It’s Girl Meets Oppressive Society, mixed with Girl Meets Rebellion. The nuclear stuff gave it some freshness, but I felt like it could have been replaced with anything else (insert plague, war, or villain here) and it would have been pretty much the same. Perhaps it will stand out more in Jubilee Manor.
Bottom Line: It wasn’t a bad book by any means, it just didn’t “wow” me. I am probably curious enough to read the next book, and I did enjoy the author’s writing, so it definitely was worth reading, but not one I would rush to read.
What is the last book you read with “Parent-in-YA Syndrome”? Did it change your opinion of the book at all?