Synopsis: 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.
*we received advanced copies from the publisher,
but that did not influence the review**
♦ Quick Thoughts and Rating:
Celeste: 4.5 stars Holy cliffhangery, crazy, hideous world of surrogates that was good. I have ALL THE THOUGHTS. *bites fist so I don’t blurt out any potential spoilers*
Christina: 3.5 stars! Indeed, holy cliffhanger, Batman! The Jewel is set in a very interesting world revolving around a very interesting plot with very interesting characters. So, yeah, it’s interesting. But, and this is kind of a big but, it felt kind of like how I color. I’m one of those people that has to completely trace the outlines darker and fill in the actual picture later, and that’s how this story read to me. Like the author traced around the grand picture a bit, and maybe she’ll fill everything– flesh out the characters, government dynamics, and romance more– in the coming novels.
Celeste: Insane. this is the part where I am taking off the half star though. There were details that left holes in the story. We were told how things were, but the background was hazy. I wanted to know why things had gotten to the point they had where society needed these surrogates. I understand that we, the reader, really needed to relate to Violet so we learned things as she learned things, but I think she knew some of the history that we never got.
Christina: This was probably the biggest source of intrigue for me in this novel, what kept me turning the pages. I wanted to see how the Lone City was created and why. I needed to find out more about why the surrogacy was really necessary and why the people in the Jewel felt the way they did. I wanted to feel out more about what made this society run the way it did. It definitely held my attention the entire way through.
Celeste: What a cast. Their names are so symbolic too. Again, I have ALL THE THOUGHTS. The heroine, Violet, is fantastic. She is brave, sassy, compassionate, and smart…and of course stunningly beautiful. The were so many others, and the author brought each one into the story in a way that I got to know a bit about them too. Ultimately no one is to be trusted, but in order to survive Violet did have to take some leaps of faith. I can’t wait to see how it all plays out. I made some judgements on many characters, but I have a feeling I don’t know the half of what their true agendas are. I don’t trust most of them, and I think the obvious evil ones might not be so evil after all. What? I can’t say anymore because I don’t want to spoil!
Christina: Violet was a surprisingly good heroine. I felt like she fought as much as she could given her situation and I liked that she still held such hope, that she still made judgment calls that could get her killed simply because they felt right. I’m still working out everybody else. I feel like we were only given brief snippets of who they were.
Celeste: Hmmmm. This is where I also have ALL THE THOUGHTS but can’t say anything for fear of spoiling. Let’s just say I was meh about it, but now I get it. I totally get it, Ms. Ewing. Brilliant. *zips lips because of spoiler phobe issues*
Christina: Unlike Celeste, I still don’t get it. I could maybe see this heading toward something good (which I don’t know about now with where this ended, buuuut…), while the rest of the story seemed to progress at a leisurely pace, this romance got stuck in hyperdrive. Holy cow, I was thinking insta-love all the way. I don’t know, perhaps the thought of dying or being separated makes you fall in love quicker? I still don’t know how someone could go from one laughing encounter to “you’re always on my mind” to “I think I might love you” in a matter of chapters. I just wasn’t feeling it and this is where my rating suffered the most.
♦ Double Crossings / General Sneakiness:
Celeste: Off the charts my reader friends. I have a feeling who the bad guys are, and it’s not good!
Christina: Basically, I trust no freaking one at this point and I have no clue with where this headed. Everyone apparently has their own agenda and this world’s effed up enough to let the psychos flourish with abandon. And then the people you wrote off as pointless end up being potentially awesome at the last second.
Celeste: HOLY CRAP. I knew something was up, but exactly that? Nope, not that. Not that at all and I really wanted to use more shouty caps here but I am restraining myself. And if you are wondering, yes, I have ALL THE THOUGHTS. It’s the granddaddy of cliffhangers so be prepared.
Christina: Talk about a heart-in-your-throat moment. And then I wasn’t expecting that individual to be on the other side of fork. (This won’t make sense unless you’ve read it.) My interest for the next book has officially been piqued after that.
♦ Rec it?
Celeste: YES YES YES. It’s been a while since I’ve read a dystopian that created a world so awful, terrifying, and hideous. With scandals, alliances, and a little bit of magic this book has just started the epic journey Violet is to go on and I can’t wait to see how it plays out.
Christina: Yes, but I definitely want more details about the world and characters next time. Also? If the romance is around, I’m hoping to feel a little more of it next time
even if it’s already kind of late because they dropped the ILY bomb after a couple interactions.
Though I think it’s worth noting that I’ve seen a lot of other bloggers making references to this resembling other dystopians (ones that I haven’t read like Wither, Eve, and The Selection). I can’t vouch for the similarities, but I thought I might forewarn you just in case you disliked those.
♥ A very special thanks to HarperTEEN and Edelweiss for providing us with an advanced copy of this title in exchange for our honest review.