Book Review: The Jewel (The Lone City #1) by Amy Ewing

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.

Release Date: September 2014
Age Group: YA
Source: Kindle e-book, Purchased
Reviewed By: Nat


You will either love or hate this book. 

The world that Ewing created had some unique traits for the dystopian genre but it had far more similarities to previous YA novels. The premise of this broken world is nearly identical to that of The Handmaids Tale, which actually drew me in. Nothing can beat the classic of Atwood but there have been some fantastic spins! Namely, my two favorites, Wither by Lauren Destefano and Perfected by KateJarvik Birch. While we are naming similarities to other YA books, I should mention that the cover had the same appeal as The Selection by Kiera Cass. These reminders are not a bad thing; in fact, they are the main catalyst in why I downloaded the book.   

So far my interest is peaked by the story of Violet. The tragic, twisted world that she has been bred into (yes, you read that right bred--like a freaking dog) has a very odd cast of characters and you can't predict what role they will play.  There is a forbidden love that swoops in literally in the last few chapters. The love can be described as Insta-love. It was WAY too easy, too fast and had no depth. I’m not convinced that Violet even understands what the word represents, can she even emotionally feel? 

There is a paranormal/fantasy aspect but I don't fully understand it yet. Actually, there are lots of things that I don't understand. So far the world is still in "builder" mode.

What I do know:
  • Girls with special abilities are auctioned off as surrogates/servants/dolls for the rich and elite.
  • There is a select group of wealthy women from estates named for their industry of wealth, like The Lady of the Lake.
  • There are playboys that can be bought to train girls in the language of pleasure.
  • Family names are based on a theme, typically related to some symbol of their work or geographical location in The Lone City.
  • Violet is special.
  • Insta-love in lit. is pathetic. I really hope books 2 and 3 flesh this out a bit more and really sell it to me. Yes, book love revolves around my public opinion.
  • There is a rebellion in the works.
Overall, this series has real potential and I am going to hang with it! The next installment, The White Rose is set to hit shelves October 2015 and I can't wait!

1 comment:

  1. A successful start in a trilogy, I look forward to read more of The Jewel. With plenty of surprise twists and great development of characters, The Jewel is favorable.


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