Author: Amy Ewing
Genre: Young Adult/Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Release Date: September 2nd 2014
Spoilers: I’ll try not to
Special: YABC Staff Review
The Jewel got to my attention when I received its sequel The White Rose couple of weeks ago. It had been on my TBR for a while, but I never really got excited enough about it to read it so it just stayed far away in the corner of my mind. With the release date of The White Rose coming closer, I picked up The Jewel – BEST DECISION EVER. I was totally surprised since this was the first book I read after a month of not being able to read anything except for the books I had to read for Comparative Literature (what I study). So, in short, The Jewel hit me like wrecking ball.
“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.” [goodreads]
So the concept of the book was hard to grasp at first. You arrive almost in the middle of an action-ish thing where Violet is going to an auction to get sold to a very rich person to get a baby. WAIT… WHAT? Yes, yes, girls with special ‘powers’ are sold to the royals to bare their children, since the genes of the royals are thus far screwed up they cannot have kids themselves. What fucked up society does this? Well… let me explain this to you.
The Lone City has 5 rings: the outer ring is the Marsh, the poorest part of the city. Since the city is practically and island only protected from the waters by the outer walls, the Marsh will be hit first when the walls cannot hold back the water anymore. Violet is from the outer ring, and like some other girls, she has special powers, that will help getting kids for the royals. They will be sold at a certain age and become surrogates, which is, in short, just a body to carry a kid. Nothing more. The forth ring is the ring of the Farms, whereas the labor hard but the environment is good, at least. The third ring is the ring which has all the factories. Violet’s brother, Orche, works there to support the family, while her father is dead and she’s in an facility for surrogates-to-be with her friend Raven. The second ring is the Bank, where all the shops are and all the rich people live. The inner ring, which is actually a circle, is the Jewel, where the royals live.
So – a society with class differences, unbelievable values and big differences between the poor and the rich. Genes do play a big part in the story over all, which I think is great. I loved that in Divergent and I love it in The Jewel.
Violet is the 197th surrogate to get sold to one of the four founding families of the city. She thinks she might have a nice place, but the Duchess of the Lake isn’t much of a nice aunt you visit every so often. Violet soon finds out how screwed up their society is and how dangerous it is to be a surrogate. Will she fight for what she believes in, or will she give in just to get it over with?
The Jewel features, luckily, some strong, straight minded women, who are not afraid to say what they thing and do what they say. The book does have some romance, though I think this could’ve been elaborated more thoroughly. To me, it felt like it was rushed: just something that HAS to be part of a young adult novel. But the thing is, I still fell head over heels for the guys, Ash.
The Jewel has a good plot, a very interesting cliffhanger and strong characters. The book discusses some real existing social issues like slavery and it will really get under your skin. It definitely surprised me and I’m so happy I decided to read it. I cannot wait to read The White Rose, which will be released October 6th: tomorrow. The Jewel is my new obsession and I firmly believe it could be yours too!
I recommend this book to anybody who loves The Selection by Kiera Cass or Divergent by Veronica Roth.
Have you read The Jewel? What did you think about the book? Let me know!