Release Date: February 4, 2014
Series: Landry Park #1
Review Source: ARC from Razorbill Canada
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Downton Abbey meets The Selection in this dystopian tale of love and betrayal.
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.
Landry Park is a book that gets compared to Downton Abbey and The Selection (just see the synopsis above), and I’ve also seen it compared to For Darkness Shows the Stars. After reading the book I’d definitely agree that those are apt comparisons.
The book starts with a "here’s what happened before the story" type of world building snippet. I’m not sure how well that worked for me, having the back story piled on right at the beginning -- however I don’t think it really hurt either. I went into the book not entirely sure I understood the concept, but I didn’t really feel like a complete understanding was necessary to enjoy Madeline’s story. As I kept reading I understood more and more of the world and its current state, and that was fine for me.
Probably my favourite thing about this book is that every character is quite complex and has things to hide. I actually loved that none of them are 100% likeable. Madeline, our main character, is definitely a good person deep down, but she's been raised with elitist ideals. Madeline feels bad for those who are enslaved, but she doesn't know what she can realistically do about it. She hates the situation, but she doesn't really want to endanger her position in society. I loved this reaction from her: it just felt completely natural for her to hang back a bit and wonder if she really wants to upheave her whole world, when she isn’t sure if she can really make a difference.
There’s definitely a romantic aspect to the story, though it’s more of a yearning and unrequited love situation, at least from Madeline’s perspective. David Dana is a mysterious character who we get to know very slowly. It’s an interesting relationship because you can tell that he likes Madeline, but he’s very hot and cold. There’s also a love triangle aspect, with Cara, though it’s definitely an unconventional one. David is a character who I didn’t really like, mostly because we rarely get to see the “real” him, but for Madeline’s sake I kept hoping something would work out between the two of them.
Overall I found this to be a very interesting start to a new series. I liked the future setting with a historical feel to it (a la For Darkness...), and I liked the complex characters. The book ends off in a very interesting place, and I can definitely see myself reading on to the second book when it releases.
Kobo | Amazon.ca | Amazon.com | Chapters-Indigo | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository