The Jewel by Amy Ewing
Published September 2nd 2014 by HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult Dystopia
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 review has been looong overdue! I read this last October in preparation for Amy Ewing’s book signing, and I thought I was gonna like it. Well I did, but one thing ruined it for me, causing me to give it a two star review. I’ll explain why.
Our protagonist Violet Lasting is a surrogate. It means that she has a specific gene that grants her the honour of carrying the baby of a blue blood family who chooses her. After she is tested positive, she’s taken away from her family to be trained for life in the Jewel. Surrogates also have auguries: abilities to change color, shape and growth. Royals take into consideration how good the surrogates are at these skills, as the surrogates are going to apply these to the child they’re carrying. Basically, the better a surrogate is at auguries, the higher the chance of royals to get their ideal child.
The idea of the story is interesting, though I don’t really see anything unique about it. I see elements from The Selection, Red Queen and even The Hunger Games. It’s also pretty political. In terms of world building, it’s pretty much your standard dystopian setting – your place in society depends on where you live, as well as it being isolated from other parts of the world.
Violet is a girl who… um… has violet eyes? I think she’s a pretty immature character who needs to set her priorities straight. She’s a painfully stereotypical YA heroine whose rational thoughts just fly out the window when she meets her love interest.
Ash, oh god what do I even say about him. I felt like he was inserted in the story just for the sake of a love interest. The story would be good without him, and he doesn’t make much changes to the plot.
There are a whole lot of other surrogates Violet interacts with, including her best friend Raven who just seems to be drugged for the most part after the auction.
Lucien is a lady in waiting, and he is basically the Cinna of the story.
The founding families of the royals are a mess of their own was well. All the power plays, the deception, the betrayal.
This book was supposed to be good and not gonna lie, it really caught my interest. I liked it up until halfway but it all went downhill when the love interest was introduced. I’m sorry but I could not stand it.
I mean honestly.
It’s only been a couple of hours since I met him, but he’s somehow even more handsome than I remember. My whole body feels like it’s blushing.
And literally a few days after:
“Violet,” he says, and when he looks in my eyes, my stomach somersaults. “I think . . . I think I love you.”
I feel myself dissolve into a thousand molecules, amazed at how three small words can completely alter my state of being.
“I think I love you, too,” I whisper.
The second half was just them mooning over each other that I found myself just skimming the pages cause nothing really relevant was happening. I was 90% in and i almost DNF-ed this lol.
I found the ending really funny, and quite predictable. I found the side characters more interesting than the actual main characters, and the romance was really underdeveloped. This book had so much potential, and I have friends who have read the entire series and they said that it gets better. While I do believe that, I have no interest in continuing to read about Violet and Ash.
These are just my opinions, though. You might like it, you might think the book is actually good. I encourage you to check it out and see for yourself.