Finally I found a futuristic book that I actually like! I picked up Landry Park by Bethany Hagen because I liked the cover – a girl in a gorgeous gown in front of a huge estate. It reminded me of Downton Abbey, a show I am absolutely obsessed with. It’s actually a lot more like Downton than I expected. On Downton Robert, the Earl of Grantham, expects his oldest daughter, Mary, to follow in his footsteps by presiding over their estate and the surrounding lands. Madeline Landry’s father expects her to carry on their family’s great name as well. Like the world of Downton Abbey Madeline’s society, set 200 years in the future, is also based on the class system. In Madeline’s society, however, there is a grave danger to belonging to the Rootless, the lowest in their caste system. The upper class estates are powered by nuclear energy and the Rootless have the jobs of changing the chargers and disposing of them, exposing them to harmful and eventually fatal levels of radiation. Madeline knows that the Rootless exist, but she is sheltered from actually seeing them until she accompanies her friend Jamie to his job at the hospital and sees how the Rootless are actually treated. After Madeline strikes up a conversation with Ewan, the Rootless are no longer a faceless group of subhuman people like her father would have her believe. Not only is Madeline’s family gentry, they are part of the Uprisen; their ancestor, Jacob Landry, is responsible for the nuclear energy that powers their society as well as the extremely oppressive class structure. Once Madeline’s eyes are opened to the world around her she must decide whether to stick with her comfortable lifestyle or fight for what she believes is right.
I don’t usually enjoy books set in the future or any type of science fiction, for that matter. However, this book was interesting because there was a lot more dialogue than action and I liked Hagen’s world-building, especially when Madeline reads the journals of her ancestor Jacob and finds out how much destruction her family has been responsible for. There was a romantic element that I felt was overdone and I didn’t think the ending was concrete enough, but on the whole I think Landry Park is definitely worth a read!