Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Review: The Jewel by Amy Ewing

The Jewel (The Lone City #1) by Amy Ewing 
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: ARC provided by publisher and eARC from Edelweiss
Goodreads link: (click here)

What's it about?

Violet Lasting was taken from her home in a poor district of The Lone City, like many young girls are. These girls are special. They have a genetic abnormality that gives them powers, called Auguries. They can make living things grow and change the shape and color of objects, but this ability comes at a great physical cost. These girls, including Violet, are taken to holding facitities where they are taught to control their powers in preparation for being sold at auction to the wealthy royalty of The Jewel. The Jewel is in the center of the Lone City, where people live opulent lives of luxury. Once purchased, the girls are stripped of their identity, paraded around in fancy dresses and treated like property. But, there is a reason that they are bought and sold. These girls are the last hope that the nobility have to continue their bloodlines. The women of The Jewel are no longer able to bear children on their own. Every attempt ends horribly, with the child disfigured or stillborn. The only way for royal children to be born is with the help of unique surrogates, the girls with Auguries. The Auguries allow them to control the growth of the royal babies, internally fixing what causes their deformities. Violet is bought by The Dutchess of the Lake, a powerful and cruel woman with a frightening agenda. Violet is beginning to understand that beneath the glamour of The Jewel is a dark, dangerous world of deception and murder. As bad as she thinks she has it, she also knows that it could surely be worse. Something horrible is happening to other surrogates and she fears the inevitability of her own uncertain and terrifying fate closing in.

While Violet waits to become a surrogate, she meets a handsome young man who is employed by the Duchess of the Lake. The two have an instant, intense connection and they fall hopelessly in love. This romance is strictly forbidden, but they can't forget each other. Every moment they steal away together could be their last. Violet will eventually have to choose between love and freedom, but she knows  that as much as she wants both, there's a possibility that she could end up with neither. 

My Thoughts

Well, The Jewel definitely kept my interest. First of all, The Jewel is being compared to The Selection series by Kiera Cass, and it really shouldn't be. The only things it has in common are 1) there's a girl in a pretty dress on the cover 2) there is a hierarchical system 3) a poor girl moves into a palace 4) The Jewel is vaguely dystopian. Not much is said about the rest of the world, so I'm not really sure what happened to cause the formation of this dystopianesque society in which the nobility dresses like it's 16th century France, when it's obviously set in the future because of some of the technology. It also kind of falls into the category of fantasy because some people have magical powers. I had really high expectations going into this book, I did like it, but there were definitely some things that made me go hmmm... If anything, The Jewel is kind of like a combination of The Chemical Garden series by Lauren DeStefano, The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski and Perfected by Kate Jarvik Birch. It does have its own original story, but it feels very reminiscent of a lot of other books. I will surely be picking up the next book, though, because the story did hook me and I want to see where it goes next. I was quite intrigued by the second to last paragraph (I read the ARC version, so hopefully it's the same in the final product) and I really like the addition of a certain character's involvement in the thickening plot. In the second book I wish for more world building (Why are they all confined to the Lone City? What happened to the outside world? Why can't the royal women have children? etc...). This story has serious potential and I'm sure it's going to be well received in the world of YA. 

<3 Michelle

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