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.
This book has been sitting on my shelf for over a year and a half. It’s been so long since I bought it that I can’t even remember when exactly I bought it. The only thing I remember about getting this book was the fact that someone I used to work with was reading it and she recommended it to me and I figured that I’d give it a shot. I don’t know why I kept pushing it back further and further down my list but I was finally down to one unread book on my shelf and it was this. After the longest time, I’ve finally read The Jewel. I enjoyed this book a lot! At first I wasn’t sure where it was gonna go or what exactly I was getting myself into but as it went on, I found myself getting more and more invested in it. There were a lot of things I liked about this book and the things I didn’t like are relatively minor. It’s not the best book I’ve ever read but it was still very good, in my opinion. I wish I could give it a full 4 stars, I really do, but I can’t.
- I really loved Violet’s character. When I first met her, I was somewhat afraid that she’d turn out to be a character like Mare from Red Queen; you know, infuriatingly pretentious, a holier-than-thou attitude, things like that. Mare isn’t exactly like that, but she definitely can be and I found it annoying. Violet initially gave off some of those vibes but you quickly learn that she’s just scared. She has no idea what she’s getting into but all she knows is that she doesn’t want to be a surrogate. And I liked that she wasn’t the kind of character that was quick to hate other girls for literally no reason at all. Not to call out Mare again, but she did that a lot. Violet did give nicknames to girls based on their appearance, like iced cake and lioness, but it was purely because she never learned their names. And yeah, she felt intimidated by these two girls when she first saw them at the Auction but never hatred. But then, as time went on, Violet felt sympathy for these girls because she realizes they’re all forced into the same situation and it’s one that no one deserves. I just appreciate that Violet isn’t anti-girl and actually develops the need to save them all before herself; it’s really admirable.
- I felt like the writing of this book was really well done. It had a nice flow to it and never felt pretentious like other books in a royal setting can feel. Even though it started off a bit slow for me in the beginning, I think once we hit the Auction the writing just took off. I liked the world building and I think it was described quite nicely. I liked how the characters were all written and how there was just enough backstory for them all. I liked how the flow of dialogue carried and how it was different between, for example, Violet and Lucien and Violet and the Duchess or even the Duchess and other royal figures. There always seemed to be a proper time and use for the language the author used and I think that’s a big factor into why I liked the writing so much. I feel like Ewing was very smart in her writing for this book.
- The character of the Duchess of the Lake is a very interesting character, in my opinion. She wasn’t like a blatant antagonist that you usually find in a story like this…..but she also wasn’t loveable. In my opinion, the Duchess is a character that’s the lesser of two evils. Sure, she treated Violet poorly at times and would get physical with her to establish her control, but there were also times where she would treat Violet like an actual human being instead of just a walking incubator. There were times where I hated what the Duchess was doing and there were times where I would actually feel sympathy for her. She’s incredibly ambitious, I’ll give her that. But when I say she’s the lesser of two evils I mean that she’s not as horrible as the Electress and her “side” aka the people who want to test on the surrogates and essentially strip away their mind. The Duchess doesn’t want to do that which is why I think that she’s not the true antagonist here. She can be crazy, yes, but it’s like an acceptable crazy.
- The plot twist at the end was SO good!!!! I was literally waiting the entire book for that to happen, granted I thought a different character would be involved, but I loved who it turned out to be. I can definitely say I was shocked and surprised with this particular plot twist and I can’t tell you all what it is because it’s literally the last page of the book. But trust me, it’s so good.
- I think overall my biggest complaint is that the explanation for the surrogates took too long. I couldn’t understand why the royalty needed surrogates when I first started this story and I kept waiting for an explanation that took at least 100 pages. Because of this I kept thinking that the whole surrogate thing was a cover for something much worse and I was lowkey disappointed to see that there was no cover. When we finally did get the explanation it all made sense but I think I just wish that I got it earlier.
- Very early on in this book you’ll get a lot of The Selection, The Hunger Games, and Red Queen vibes from it and I think that takes away from what Ewing is trying to do at first. When you get further into the story you see how different this book is from those other three but I think initially you’re more concerned with those similarities instead of appreciating the book as its own work and your enjoyment definitely goes down. I don’t think the similarities are bad but they’re a huge takeaway from this story for sure.
- This is petty but it took 100 pages for a boy to show up. I don’t appreciate how long it took. But I guess Ash made it worth the wait so I won’t complain too much.
THE BOTTOM LINE
- While this book started out somewhat slow and confusing, when it picks up you can’t help but be invested in what was happening. With a wonderfully likeable protagonist like Violet you’ll find yourself enjoying this book greatly and will want to dive into the sequel immediately after such a great cliffhanger.
BONUS: how this book made me feel in a GIF
ABOUT THE BOOK
Title: The Jewel (The Lone City #1)
Author: Amy Ewing
Release Date: September 2, 2014
Pages: 358 (Paperback)
Until next time,
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