Thursday, July 31, 2014

Book Review: The Jewel

The Jewel (The Lone City #1)
Published By: HarperTeen
Publication Date: September 2, 2014
Page Count: 358
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via Edelweiss
Audience: Young Adult - Dystopian, Fantasy

Okay, I admit that I may have picked this one up solely based on the cover. I really wanted to know who this girl was and why she looked so sad. I hesitated when I saw this had a dystopian spin to it since I typically am not the Lark who jumps on that genre, but I decided to read outside of my comfort zone. I'm so glad I took a chance on this one. It was entertaining, thought provoking, and creepy.

Violet Lasting lives in a world where choices do not exist unless you belong to the royal class. Her society functions like a caste system with one interesting twist. The royals cannot have children so they must purchase surrogates to carry a baby for them. These surrogates always come from the poorest sector of the society. The girls with the potential to be successful surrogates are identified through blood tests that are administered at the onset of puberty. If a girl is identified as a potential surrogate, she is taken from her family and sent to live in a facility that will educate and train her for her future role. The girls are ranked before the auction and those with the highest rankings fetch millions of dollars. Violet's story begins on the day before she is sent to auction. Once she is purchased, Violet becomes the property of the Duchess of the Lake, one of the most powerful and vindictive women in the Jewel. The Jewel is the most wealthy sector of this society. Violet is in awe of the extravagance, but soon finds that The Jewel hides dark and violent secrets.

There is an underground resistance to the system that readers will experience in brief moments throughout this novel. I expect that future novels will delve into this aspect more deeply. I am looking forward to knowing more about this part of the story. I found it to be intriguing and surprising at times.

In addition to being horrified and intrigued by this society, I was drawn to the romantic aspect. It did develop quickly, but I felt like it was a natural course considering the circumstances of both characters. I loved these two together and am anxiously awaiting the next installment. The romance was one of the first times I saw Violet choose to do something for herself simply because it was what she wanted and not what was expected of her. Her tiny rebellions prior to following her heart seemed insignificant as a result, but this one choice allows her character to grow.

Overall, I enjoyed the mixture of dystopian and fantasy elements in this one. I found the Auguries to be interesting, but I wonder why they only develop in the poorest girls. I hope to find the answer to this lingering musing in future novels. I also like that this novel forced me to think about socioeconomic divisions, gender roles, social justice, and medical experimentation. Ewing also kept me guessing from start to finish; I never saw most of the twists and turns coming. I love the Cinderella Dystopian vibe I got from this one and can't wait to read the next installment.

One Last Gripe: The beginning of this one was tedious as the author built up the characters and this world, but the middle and the ending were well worth the slow start.

Favorite Thing About This Book: The surrogate system, while horrible, makes this an unforgettable read for me.

First Sentence: Today is my last day as Violet Lasting.

Favorite Character: Violet

Least Favorite Character: Carnelian

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.


  1. Wow!
    Well, this truly looks really good
    This is the first time i hear about it, though
    GREAT review
    Your reader,

    1. I hadn't heard much about it before I received the ARC, but I am so glad I took the time to read it. I loved it and it brings up a lot of intriguing questions.


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