Title: The Jewel
Author: Amy Ewing
Series: The Lone City #1
Source: BEA ARC
Genres: YA, Fantasy, Romance, Dystopia
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 the centre of the city, the home of royalty. Violet knows she is destined for a life in the Jewel, becoming a surrogate for some lady or duchess, whoever bids highest for her in the auction. Violet is a surrogate, born with the auguries, a magical ability to fix any babies genes she is carrying. The royalty in the Jewel are so inbred they can't have their own children anymore. Violet hates the thought of this life and dreads the time when it comes to auction her off to the highest bidder.
When she is purchased by the Duchess of the Lake she begins her new life, constantly awaiting the moment when she will be impregnated. She learns that the Electress, the ruler of the city's wife, has had a son and so many of the royal families are hoping to have a daughter to that they can become the future Electress. The Duchess believes Violet can conceive and birth the baby within three months using her auguries, making the girl stand out as a potential bride. This is all set against the backdrop of the war between the Electress and the Duchess.
I was dying to read this book ever since I first heard of it, the cover alone caught my attention. I loved the idea of The Selection meets The Handmaid's Tale. However , if you have read the Goodreads synopsis, you will notice there is absolute no mention of any kind of magic whatsoever. This was a huge part of the book, the whole reason for the surrogates, and I was very surprised when it was first mentioned.
The story itself was quite silly in my opinion, with Violet having no more problem putting her complete trust in a virtual stranger, simply because while making her pretty for the auction he was kind. She is also very kind to her maids in the same way as America Singer is kind to her maids in The Selection. She was simply a way to show how very kind she can be, without really doing anything a normal person wouldn't.
While I did like the machinations of the Duchess in her opposition to the Electress, not enough time was spent on this in my opinion. There was far too much time spent with Violet hating the life she was forced into.
When she is offered a chance to escape the Jewel by an almost complete stranger she jumps at the chance. This was just so preposterous I had to put the book away for a while, I just couldn't continue reading! I understand how horrible it would be to be forced to carry another persons child when you're only seventeen, but there are far worse fates that could have been in store for her! He could have taken her to a similar fate for all she knew. I just couldn't believe how incredibly stupid she was being!
As you can probably see I wasn't a huge fan of this book all in all. It was very simply an all right book.
Are you looking forward to reading The Jewel? Let me know in the comments below!