The Jewel

Amy Ewing
The Jewel
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Publisher
HarperTeen
Release Date
September 2014
ISBN
9780062235794
Genre
Young Adult Romance

SUMMARY
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.

Debut author Amy Ewing expertly crafts an enchanting story full of riches, rivalries, and riveting twists and turns that will keep readers on the edge of their seats until the very end.

Book Review by Ashia (reviewer)
Aug 16, 2014   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
106 people found the following review helpful
THE JEWEL is a compelling dystopian read with fascinating, superb worldbuilding.

Violet is a surrogate, and once she has finished her training, she's off to the Jewel to be auctioned off to the royalty. In The Lone City, the royalty cannot bear a child to full term (probably due to too much inbreeding). However, it seems the poorest girls are able to wield Auguries (a magic power that can determine color, shape and personality of the fetus, among other things), and they are trained then auctioned off to the royal ladies.

Violet is bought by the Duchess of the Lake, who is not all that bad, when compared with other owners. Yet, even with having the best clothes, food, water, she chafes against the loss of freedom and her power to choose. Luckily, she meets Lucien, someone who's working to bring her out of the Jewel and back to her family, but before that happens, she meets Ash and a forbidden romance sparks between them...

As with most dystopian YA books, THE JEWEL is set in a place where choices are taken away from young people, in this case, teenage girls (and boys, too, actually). The author depicted the importance of this freedom to choose perfectly in lots of scenes, especially once it has been taken away, how Violet is so grateful when people gave her the power to make even the smallest choice.

Violet is a great character; she's smart, determined and she's loyal to friends and family. She faces her situation with bravery and courage, and she knows to take the opportunities life directs her way. She's the blazing life force of the book, as she should be, since the story is told in her first person point of view. Ash, her romantic interest, on the other hand, comes across as a bit passive. True, they are both under the same scenario, both under the Duchess's thumb, but Violet has her moments of defiance, wherein she dared to stay true to herself, while Ash is careful to stay within the boundaries of his situation. Well, aside from embarking in a forbidden romance with Violet, that is. I suppose I like my heroes more...active, more Alpha, and Ash just doesn't come across as that way. Maybe he'll have a more active role in the sequels; I guess I'll just have to wait and see.

I like the scenes of warmth and humanity that are peppered throughout the novel--like the scene of Violet with her family, how she and Raven promised never to forget each other--especially when these are juxtaposed against the cold cruelty of their situation at the holding facility, the auction, and especially their lives among the Royalty.

Twists and turns also abound in the book, especially toward the latter part of the book, and there are also threads that are left hanging, that I hope would be resolved or revealed in subsequent installments. I do feel that there is more to the world that isn't revealed in this book, especially that last revelation at the end that hints to something more. I did guess that there's more to that character than meets the eye and I'm glad to see my theory proven correct. I can't wait to see if that character will have a more central role in Violet's life; certainly that character seems to have more potential for development than Ash.

Needless to say, I'm looking forward to the next installments! I hope the author continues to deliver riveting stories as this one!
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