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September 04, 2014

Review: The Jewel by Amy Ewing

The Jewel (The Lone City, #1)

Title: The Jewel 
Author: Amy Ewing
Publisher:
 HarperCollins Canada
Publication date: September 2, 2014
 
Genre(s): Young Adult (Dystopian)
Source: Publisher
Format: ARC
Pages: 358
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.
The Jewel is both unique but also a cliche in the dystopian genre. Don't get me wrong, I love the concept of this book, and the ending! that was very shocking, however there seems to always be an underlying plot mold that dystopian authors always follow nowadays and The Jewel wasn't fortunate enough to escape that. Our main protagonist, Violet is a surrogate, this took a while to explain and I liked that there wasn't info dumping from the beginning. Violet can manipulate things, such as color, shape, and also growth. At a young age everyone is tested for these skills and if you do possess them then you become the properly of the government, grow up in facilities until your auction day where you are sold to the highest bidder, think sex trafficking but instead of that, it is surrogacy. I liked Violet, she was logical, wasn't impulsive but still had a little rebellious side to her. 
I was warned that there will be insta-love in this book and while I didn't feel it was 100% insta-love, I really disliked the romance and how it changed Violet. To be totally honest I wanted Violet to fall for someone else in the palace and was secretly begging the author to take this non cliche route as opposed to the one she ended up taking. However like I have been doing lately, I completely ignored the romance and focused on the plot. The characters in this book are definitely complex, the main one being the duchess, the woman who bought Violet. She is initially made out to be evil but then I glimpse something heartbreaking or vulnerable from her and I started rethinking my initial judgment. I also didn't know who to trust, I even thought some people who were helping Violet escape were actually going to betray her so kudos to the author for keeping me on my toes and surprising me there. 
The writing flowed easily and, as I mentioned, there wasn't any info dumping. There was enough information withholding to keep you guessing but not frustrated. Finding this balance for dystopian and mystery novels is very important. There was also a balance between dialogues, monologues, and descriptive paragraphs. Honestly I don't require a book to be completely filled with dialogues but I do require its monologues and descriptive paragraphs to be interesting. As for the ending, I honestly wasn't expecting it and again, I'm happy the author was able to surprise me. That ending alone is going to make me want to pick up the sequel and continue on reading about this world and Violet. Another book similar to this plot is Reckoning by Kerry Wilkinson, with the whole being locked up in a palace and wanting a way out. It's interesting to see dystopian books now are leaning towards this sort of plot line. 


9 comments:

  1. Thanks for the review :) Not sure if I'll be picking this book up but you've definitely got me curious about the ending! I think I might wait until the next book comes out to try this series.

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  2. I already talked to you in Twitter about this but I've heard so many mixed things about this one that I just don't know if it's for me. I keep hearing the romance is everyone's least favourite part so part of me wants to stay away from that but everyone has good things to say about the plot and world building! *sigh*

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  3. I'm glad that you enjoyed this one. I had a few issues with it, but overall I like it. Great review.

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  4. Huh. Amazing review Juhina :D I'm glad you enjoyed this book. <3 3.5 is pretty good :) But yeah. I will not read this book. Not ever. Have heard too many bad things, and I know I wouldn't enjoy it at all :p I'm sorry you didn't like the romance :\ Thank you for sharing sweetie. <3

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  5. I've been warned about the insta-love/romance issues in this one too so I like your advice about just ignoring that aspect of it! i've done that in the past too and if you were able to put it aside and focus on the rest, I'm hoping I will be able to as well :) The characters, the world and the writing style sound more promising so hopefully that'll help too! Thanks for the lovely review Juhina ^^

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  6. I was also shipping her with someone else, that might work out in the sequel.

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  7. Completely agree -- liked the writing, thought the magic was cool, and that the duchess was a great, complex villain. But to me, the romance was kind of blah and actually Violet was a little bland too. I may wait and read reviews of book two before making up my mind if I want to read it.
    Jen @ YA Romantics

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  8. Hehehe I strongly disliked this one. I don't think I'll be continuing with this series... though the ending was kind of a slap in the face. Like I'm curious but not curious enough to want to read this one. Oh wellz. Terrific review, Juhina!

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

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  9. I am so with you on the romance! I wanted her and another guy at the palace to have a thing (I hope we're talking about the same one!), and I really did not get the dude that she fell for. He was barely even in the book! Seriously, this was the biggest disappointment to me yet this year. I may read #2 when it comes out, but that's only if it has good reviews.

    Kayla @ Bibliophilia, Please

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