Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Landry Park by Bethany Hagen

"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..."

This dystopian story had a background story very similar to The Hunger Games. There was a war hundreds of years ago. What once was the United States was attacked by the East (Asia). Afterwards, they were left in ruins. The West Coast fell. As a result of the war, the United States were no longer allowed to use fossil fuels. Jacob Landry saved the country by introducing his Cherenkov lantern, which paved the way for personal nuclear reactors in every home. Of course, only the upper classes, the Gentry, are able to take advantage of nuclear power. As punishment for not fighting hard enough during the war, the lowest class, Rootless, must perform the deadly task of handling the radioactive cores. The Gentry make sure that the Rootless receive lots of medical care for their breedin' parts so that they can make more Rootless to handle the reactors. They pay no attention to them dying painful, early deaths from radiation poisoning.

Now let's go from the poor down-trodden masses to a poor little rich girl. Madeline Landry is unhappy with her life. She wants nothing more than to attend university. As the first (And only) heir to Landry Park, their sprawling estate, her job is to marry rich and produce an heir. Unfortunately, Madeline has no interest in the parties and usual bunch of eligible bachelors. That is, until David Dana comes to town.

David is the son of her father's old girlfriend. The two hit it off, but their relationship is complicated. He acts affectionately towards her when they are alone, but ignores her when they are in public. It just gets weirder when he asks her frenemy, Cara, to debut with him. This means that David and Cara are practically engaged. David definitely puts out a lot of mixed signals, and Madeline has no idea what to think.

Back to class warfare! After Cara is attacked at a party, she blames a member of the Rootless. Soon, Mr. Landry and the Gentry government are severely punishing all of the Rootless. Madeline can tell that Cara is lying about the attack. She takes it upon herself to find out the real culprit, whom she suspects is one of the Gentry.

One day, she follows David into the Rootless side of town. While there, she learns of the suffering of their people so that the Gentry can live in comfort. She also learns that the Rootless are planning a revolution, and they have the East on their side to fight. Madeline eventually learns that the history of the country is a lie, and she must turn her back on her family and Landry Park in order to help the people who need her most.

The background of the book really interested me. I'm a big fan of Downton Abbey and Jane Austen, and the Gentry system of courtship was similar. When the regency drama is combined with the dystopian, I am very excited. I wasn't disappointed with the actual contents. It was a great story. Madeline could be annoying at times, but I'll forgive her as her entire world ends up falling apart. I won't forgive her for the love triangle, especially since I thought she'd stop whining about David once she starts a relationship with Jude(David's friend, doesn't matter that much). But, no, she still goes on and on about David Dana. I appreciated that they didn't make Jude be evil incarnate just to make Madeline and David seem inevitable. Cara amused me greatly, because she was bitchy in an amusing, Cordelia Chase way.

I thought that Landry Park was a really good start to the series. It ends cleanly, while leaving space for the next installment in the series. I'd like to read more, but I'm not freaking out because of a horrible cliffhanger.

I received my copy of Landry Park from Edelweiss, courtesy of Dial and Penguin. It's available for purchase now. 

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