Author: Amy Ewing
Published: September 2, 2014
Source: ARC provided by the publisher
Genre: Dystopia, Romance, Sci-Fi
The Jewel means wealth. The Jewel means beauty. The Jewel means royalty. But for girls like Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Not just any kind of servitude. Violet, born and raised in the Marsh, has been trained as a surrogate for the royalty—because in the Jewel the only thing more important than opulence is offspring.
Purchased at the surrogacy auction by the Duchess of the Lake and greeted with a slap to the face, Violet (now known only as #197) quickly learns of the brutal truths that lie beneath the Jewel’s glittering facade: the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way of life.
Violet must accept the ugly realities of her existence... and try to stay alive. But then a forbidden romance erupts between Violet and a handsome gentleman hired as a companion to the Duchess’s petulant niece. Though his presence makes life in the Jewel a bit brighter, the consequences of their illicit relationship will cost them both more than they bargained for.
Violet Lasting, also known as 197, ranked third from the best surrogates out of 200. They are all from the Marsh, the poorest circle in the Jewel. They are being trained to be surrogates for the Royal families that will soon buy them from the auction. This is built so the royalties can continue their bloodlines without bearing an heir with chromosome malfunctions. There is a unique genetic composition that is found only from the people of the Marsh. The Royalties can no longer bear children because of these chromosome incompatibilities. Violet was bought by the Duchess of the Lake and was then asked to bear a daughter in three months. Since these surrogates have special abilities called Auguries, Violet is supposed to make the child grow as perfect as she can in a short span of time so the child can be betrothed to the son of the Electress. She is not ready to bear a child, she misses her family and worries about her best friend, she's afraid of the Duchess and she falls in love with this handsome Companion, Ash Lockwood. Violet is overwhelmed with the events in her life that she has to find a way to escape. Treason or not, she has to escape from a life she didn't choose.
Okay. I would try my best to make this short. I was a little disappointed with The Jewel. Maybe I was expecting too much or I wasn't expecting anything at all but there's no surprise in it. The book was tagged as dystopia but I didn't feel much of that aspect in the book. Yes, the world building is a little dystopia but the rest is fantasy with sci-fi. I think the mash up of these genres fell short at some point because it didn't work for me. Or maybe it's just me, I really cannot tell. But I wish it stuck to being fantasy, I might have enjoyed it that way. Being a fan of dystopia, I was looking for elements of it in the story but I was given just dots of it. It was eighty percent fantasy in my opinion. It isn't true at all that this is "The Selection meets blah blah". The Jewel is far from The Selection and this part makes the Jewel stand on its own. But still, I wasn't impressed.
I was confused most of the time. It took some time for me to grasp the science behind Auguries and why they have to bear children for the royalties. That part was answered in the middle of the book and was thoroughly explained but their abilities weren't. I was hoping there would be more logical reason behind Auguries but I was left empty handed. I also hated how weak the protagonist is.
I understand that Violet isn't trained to become an assassin or something but hell, she's one the weakest characters I've encountered in a while. Though she doesn't have the luxury to decide for herself (because she's owned by the Duchess), she could have at least tried to be submissive and you know, be wise enough to save the people she cared for. But she's selfish that she risked Ash's life so she could get all cuddly with him. She didn't even think of Lucien who is only trying to help her. Stupid Violet. AND OMG, THAT INSTA-LOVE IS SO RIDICULOUS. That's it. It's official, I hate Violet.
The characters also felt like there's no concrete basis of who they truly were. Like, along the story, they were still trying to figure themselves out. I wasn't convinced a single bit on any part of this story. Nope, it just didn't click with me as much as I hoped for.
The Jewel would have been an amazing story if there's an absolute history in it or if the genre mash up were properly executed. Such a promising synopsis only to be led on. I don't think I would still be interested in reading the sequel though. But who knows, things might improve in it.
Thank you so much Megan and Sarah of HarperCollins International for the review copy!
"I love sunrises, even more than sunsets. There's something so exciting about the world coming to life in a thousand colors. It's hopeful."
"After I've left this place, when I look back on these last few weeks, amid all the memories and tangled-up emotions there will be a gaping hole of regret in my life, the empty echo of what could have been, if I'd only had the courage to stand up and say, "I want you for as much time as I can possibly have."