Audiobook Review: Landry Park

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Audiobook Review: Landry ParkLandry Park by Bethany Hagen
Narrator: Leslie Bellair
Length: 7 hrs, 50 mins
Series: Landry Park #1
Published by Penguin Audio on February 4, 2014
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible

"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.

Going into Landry Park, I was a bit worried, honestly. The premise of Downton Abbey meets The Selection was at once off-putting and as irresistible to me as a flame is to a moth. I’ve been badly burned by YA pseudo-dystopian novels many times before, and I have almost entirely sworn off the genre at this point. However, I couldn’t resist obviously. While very much of a type with the other popular YA dystopian romances, I quite enjoyed Landry Park, particularly because of the audiobook format.

For once, I think the pitch from the blurb is actually quite accurate.  Landry Park is all high society, fancy gowns, lavish balls, status, and abuse of the peasant class. The high society stuff was my favorite part, I think, because, honestly, I have a lot of patience for ballroom drama and pretty dresses. I love that stuff.

Plus,  Madeline Landry was a lot smarter than the usual YA dystopian heroine. She dreams of attending college before inheriting her family estate, and engages in intellectual pursuits. Madeline’s also not sure if she ever wants to marry, though her father says she doesn’t get a choice in the matter. Though Madeline is prone to flights of romantic fancy, she also never forgets about danger or the important political things that are going on. Because of this ability for Madeline to think on more than one thing at once, the romance doesn’t overpower the plot the way that often happens in dystopian romances.

A lot of the world building is a bit sketchy, but Hagen makes enough of an effort that I’m willing to roll with it for the most part. I won’t speak to the world building specifically, because there’s a reveal of more information at the end that would make any commentary I offer a bit misleading. However, I do want to praise the fact that Hagen didn’t draw the boundary lines for high society by race. The Gentry come from all sorts of racial backgrounds, and are mostly mixed race, though Madeline is a white girl herself, so far as I can tell. Hagen also included a gay character without making a big deal about it, which is another plus.

The romance, admittedly, wasn’t my favorite part. While I’m not opposed to the main ship, I did find the half-hearted love triangles frustrating. The competition for David’s affections initially makes sense, and I was okay with that, but by the end my patience for it had worn thin. Then, a completely unnecessary love triangle started for Madeline’s hand because David wasn’t honest. He had good reasons initially, but they were gone in plenty of time to prevent the drama from getting quite so out of hand.

Leslie Bellair’s narration is almost mechanical in its precision, but that really worked for me with Madeline’s character. Madeline has been raised to be perfect and to always give off the appearance of complete control. Bellair’s performance really drives that home, making Madeline feel like the sort of girl with a lot of book learning and polish, but not so much real life experience.

Landry Park is an excellent choice for those who never tire of high society drama, so long as it involves fancy dresses, balls and games of whist.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

amused Maggie Smith Downton

5 responses to “Audiobook Review: Landry Park”

  1. Rashika says:

    Yup psuedo-dystopians are not my thing mostly because I end up being so frustrated by the whole idea of us going back to our ‘olden’ ways in the future.

    I have to say though, the idea of a gentry that doesn’t distinguish based on race is comforting

    A strong female lead always helps matters as well! Especially when she has dreams and understands the danger of the situation.

    Great review Christina!! 🙂
    Rashika recently posted…ARC Review: Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. JensenMy Profile

  2. I believe this is the first time a book meets the expectations of the two pitched books! High society, fancy balls, pretty dresses: sounds great to me. That is always appealing to me 🙂 I’m glad to hear that Madeline is intelligent and strong!
    Mel@thedailyprophecy recently posted…Review 236. Cayla Kluver – The Queen’s choice.My Profile

  3. It sounds like the balls and dresses is a really fun part of the book, especially since Madeline seems like a pretty smart heroine this time around. I also really like how she doesn’t segregate the social standing of the population by their race, and the gentry are still from all different races and sexualities. I’d definitely be a little worried by the world-building and the romance, though, because both of those aspects have to be well done if they’re included in the book for me. Fantastic review, Christina! <33
    Eileen @ Singing and Reading in the Rain recently posted…Nil by Lynne MatsonMy Profile

  4. Kayla Beck says:

    I’ve been on the fence about this one (mostly because I didn’t read much into it after thinking it was merely another dystopian), but I’m so on board for fancy dresses and balls! Who cares if it’s set in the future?! I know where my next Audible credit is going. 🙂
    Kayla Beck recently posted…Blog Tour (Review & Giveaway): The Line by J.D. HornMy Profile

  5. Bonnie says:

    High society? Fancy gowns? Lavish balls? Absolutely, yes, please. lol I was a bit on the fence with this one for identical reasons but I’ve decided that I must have this. I must have this now. Fabulous review!
    Bonnie recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday – Popular Authors Not Yet ReadMy Profile

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