ARC Review: Landry Park by Bethany Hagen (Blog Tour & Giveaway)

Posted January 16th, 2014 in Blog Tour, book review, Giveaway / 22 comments
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Landry Park Series #1

by Bethany Hagen

Publisher: Dial (Feb. 4, 2014)
Genre: Dystopian, Young Adult
Format: eARC (384 pages)
Source: Free book from blog tour for honest review
Find It: Goodreads | Amazon Print | Amazon Kindle | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3 stars)

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.

At A Glance
I am still unsure about Landry Park. I enjoyed the book but the story wondered a lot and the main character was not very admirable.

The Good
Even though I complain about a lot of things in Landry Park in The Bad, I did find myself enjoying it overall. It was a back and forth for me. Sometimes I was obsessed with continuing reading and seeing what was going to happen next, and sometimes it was easy to put down. With a little more consistency, this could be a great dystopian series.

Though the world building could have been better, what we got was pretty awesome. Separately, I have seen these concepts in other books before, but never all thrown together like in Landry Park. It was very interesting to see how the author intertwined all these elements, like the futuristic time frame with the older time period atmosphere and society. Or the advanced technology and concept of mass slavery.

Though Madeline often got on my nerves, I actually found her quite fascinating. Really, she is not the heroine you usually look for in dystopians. She may rebel a little, but she likes her comfy lifestyle and is deathly afraid of losing it by helping the poor out of their suppression. She is so afraid of her father and his control, she often relents and does whatever he asks. But we are so in Madeline’s head that it was easy to understand why she didn’t stick up for herself or fight harder. She lives in a scary world where she has little control. Rebellion could mean death, or worse. Madeline is the product of her world and you can’t blame her. But she does grow by the end, finding some backbone to initiate change.

I loved the mystery surrounding David. He was so up and down and I never knew where his head was at or what team he was on. It kept me on my toes. The mystery of the whole book was pretty awesome. I couldn’t guess half of the twists revealed. I think the writing was the best part of Landry Park. Hagen is one hell of a writer. She knows how to spin a word and create some beautiful literature. The pictures she created with her writing were breathtaking.

The Bad
The biggest annoyance was that the story wondered from the main plot quite often and for long periods. As a result, a lot of the story was bland.

Madeline was not my favorite character. I didn’t admire her at all. She was easily persuaded to forget about the causes she supposedly supports, like ending the slavery of the lower class. She may do one or two heroic things, but that’s it, the rest of the time she only cares about herself.

I never got a full picture of the world. We get some world building but the story is very narrow in what we see of the world. I wish more things were explained, like how this is set in the future but the clothing, society standards, and ideals are based around the 19th century.

The Snuggly
I did like Madeline and David together, but they really didn’t get to spend a lot of time together. David was off with another girl and Madeline spent her days pining for him. I did often feel like Madeline was a little pathetic in her obsession with David. But I liked how when Jude came into the picture David got so jealous, and Madeline got to rub Jude in David’s face. I know, that sounds mean, but after you see how David strings along Madeline, you would totally agree with me. I would like to see how David and Madeline’s relationships progresses in the next book.

Only kissing, very young adult.

Final Thoughts
There was so much I liked and disliked about this book I still don’t know what the accurate rating is. I just have to be okay with leaving this book still conflicted. I have a feeling most people will either love or hate this book. You will have to decide if you are willing to take a chance on this one. Recommended.

“I felt the ghost of his kiss on my lips, felt the ghost of all the kisses I had craved and desired, and all the kisses I had yet to dream of, and then his mouth parted slightly and I wondered if he was dreaming of those phantom kisses, too.”

“He bent his head down, and — as the summer wind blew silken petals and the scent of fresh crisp fruit around us — he lightly brushed his lips against mine, so lightly I wondered if it had been a stray petal and not David.” 

And then – on this sprawling estate in this large house, on the brink of a revolution – I was reminded of the power of the small. Small ideas, small acts, small people. After all it was the furious industry of those tiny atoms that fueled the stars, stares that then nourished planets, and planets that the nourished life. Not matter how small I felt, how infinitesimal my feeble gestures seemed, I was part of a larger chain, a large system, and so help me I would bring order to this chaos.

Author Bio
Librarian by day, Bethany Hagen is the author of the forthcoming LANDRY PARK, set to be released from Dial February 4th, 2014. She lives in Kansas City with her husband and two children.

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22 Responses to “ARC Review: Landry Park by Bethany Hagen (Blog Tour & Giveaway)”

  1. kimbacaffeinate

    The quotes are beautiful and why is it so many dystopian novels set in the future return to almost the Victorian era? We need one where woman rule. Not sure about this parts interest me and others concern me.

  2. Melanie

    Ah geez, it sucks that this was boring at times and had a not so likable protagonist! I;ve only heard of this one recently–I still might try but I’ll definitely be lowering my expectations.

    Lovely review, hun! <33

  3. Ashley

    Sorry about the story being a bit bland—bummer! I think I’ll need to give this one a try though. It sounds interesting!

  4. Diamond Cronen

    I’m still on the fence about this one. Not sure if I’ll actually make a point to read it…doesn’t seem like I’d be missing anything spectacular if I skipped out on it, u know?
    Great review Jen. Sorry it didn’t have more zing! ;D

  5. Zoe N.

    Personally, I really, really liked this one, but I can definitely see how the issues you mentioned could turn out to be rather annoying – especially the “wandering plot.” Are you planning on finishing the series? As always, thanks for another fantastic and informative review Jennifer! 😀
    ~Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf

  6. Jaclyn Canada

    I’m honestly not sure how I would feel about this one. I let a lot slide in YA reads, but I definitely prefer a strong female heroine and really like the ones that aren’t pining over a guy. Excellent review! Jaclyn @ JC’s Book Haven.

  7. Braine TS

    I think I’ll skip this because the impression I got about the characters isn’t really good. The heroine sounds like she’s got this big responsibility but didn’t quite measure up to her role and the romance seems off… meh.

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