Title: The Jewel
Author: Amy Ewing
Series: The Lone City #1
Genre: Teen Dystopian
Release Date: September 2, 2014
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
The Overview: 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.
As a HUGE fan of the Selection Trilogy (well, the first one, anyway) you can imagine how excited I was when The Jewel popped up on my radar a couple of months ago. Whenever a new book draws my attention, I’m always nervous it won’t live up to my expectations. In this case, however, The Jewel was even better than I expected it to be!
It had most of the same elements as the Selection, but in my opinion took all of them to a higher level. The world-building was robust – maybe not quite on the level of adult genres, but interesting just the same. The conflicts were excellent – driving the story forward and keeping my attention the entire time. Even though the specific conflicts Violet dealt with weren’t totally relatable (as many women probably haven’t been forced to carry someone else’s child), her emotional reactions to them certainly were, making parts of this book downright heart-wrenching.
But great world-building and conflicts wouldn’t mean a thing without the interesting characters within them. Even though I never felt Ewing was withholding information unnecessarily (a huge pet peeve of mine), I still don’t know everything about the characters that I’d like to. They all had such depth and complexity that I feel we’ve only just scratched the surface of their potential in this first book. The desire to learn more about them all is the main reason why I’m chomping at the bit for the sequel (which is over a year away…fml).
I found everything about The Jewel a mite unexpected. The love interest was fantastically unconventional, all of the characters showed duality, the subject matter was slightly more serious than a typical YA, and the plot never followed the route I thought it would. All of these elements were delightful twists that made the book stand out that much more.
As you can tell, I really enjoyed the The Jewel and would strongly recommended to fans of the Selection. Only, I think the novels in this one are only going to get stronger going forward rather than weaker. Add this one to your TBR – you won’t regret it!
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