The Jewel by Amy Ewing

The Jewel by Amy Ewing

Release Date: September 2, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Series: The Lone City, Book 1
Rated: YA 14+
Format: eGalley
Source: Edelweiss
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads Website

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.

I will say that the cover was the reason I wanted to read The Jewel SO badly. I mean, that dress? The sparkles? A cover that’s slightly reminiscent of The Selection with the mirrors? I was so in to read this one and absolutely desperate to get my hands on it. However, right before starting this book, I had a sudden suspicion that I might not like this book. It sounded like a mix of Megan McCafferty’s Bumped and Kiera Cass’s The Selection, along with an unsettling clichéd dystopian-feel to it. I also read some reviews and some of them... well. Let’s just say they didn’t paint the brightest picture of this book so my expectations sunk despite the gorgeous cover. I was, however, pleasantly surprised when it came to reading this book. The writing flowed so well, and the author really had built up this world beautifully. While there were some problems with the book, I found myself lapping it up huge chunks at a time and immersed myself into the world of The Jewel.

I think the problem with many dystopian novels today is originality. There are so many novels set in the future and sometimes it can be really hard to come up with ideas that standout. I’ve read a ton of dystopian novels that all sounded very similar, and while I overlooked it due to other factors, it can get annoying if it’s too repetitive. The Jewel seemed to be made up of some of these already existing books. For instance, the scene when Violet’s being prepped before she’s going to be presented in the auction, there’s her stylist, Lucien who really supports her and thinks she’s different from the other girls he has prepped in the past. Sound familiar? If you thought of The Hunger Games, you are correct! Round two: the idea of caste systems or rather ranking by the area you live in in the city. Girls competing in an auction (which doesn’t last too long but still). Any guesses? Yeah, I was right when I thought of The Selection. It’s not just the dresses people!

While I did root and empathise (slightly) with our protagonist, Violet sometimes annoyed me. She’s feisty, I’ll tell you that, but sometimes, she does the stupidest things that make you want to hit your head against the wall. The love interest Ash elicited a similar reaction. I don’t think it was something wrong with the characters but rather the idea of insta-love that kind of through me in a loop. Thankfully, it’s only the second half of the book that it starts, so there’s plenty of other things going on that distractedly me from the ridiculousness of how fast they both fall for each other. The Duchess, on the other hand, was an interesting character. I loved the two sides of her: some of the stuff she does in this book is really evil, but suddenly, she’ll reveal a much softer side to her – you never know what she’ll do next.

If you’ve read some of the other reviews of this book, you’ll notice how much everyone freaks out about the end. Um, THEY HAVE GOOD REASON TO. I was completely blown away by the end! Some characters are not who they seem (and I had a sneaking suspicion), and now I’m dying to get my hands on the next book. So much happens and I had to re-read the last lines over and over again because I couldn’t believe what was going on. Excited and a little bit freaked out to see where it picks up again in the sequel.

When I got to the end of Amy Ewing’s debut, I instantly wished I had more to read. The Jewel is a stunning start to the trilogy that had my eyes wide open, scouring the pages as I devoured more and more of this delicious book. Incredible world building and a plot that thickens with every word, I have no doubts that the next instalment will be as spectacular as this one. Can’t wait!

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  1. Yes, so many stories sound like mashups or remixes of other stories... Glad you enjoyed this one, though!

  2. I want to start a series that is original... But I'm getting so many positive/negative reviews about The Jewel that I'm a little confused as to whether I want to start this one or not? ANyways, great review! :)
    Book Maniac Reviews

    P.S. I'm a new follower :)


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