Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Expected Publication: September 2, 2014
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.
One of the things I really enjoyed about The Jewel was the plot itself. Blending multiple genres together isn't always an easy task but Amy Ewing does so rather effortlessly. I really enjoyed how the story wasn't just a typical damsel in distress type deal with the main character solely needing rescued from the big bad Government oppressing her. Instead this story tackles issues on a wide scale including reproductive trafficking, population control, indentured servitude, oppression, caste systems, xenophobia and even prostitution. The Jewel is definitely a story that will leave the reader thinking long after the last page is read.
Another thing I enjoyed were the characters. Violet is such a strong willed character, so much that you'd assume she'd constantly ignore the advice of her handlers and run off to do as she pleases. Nope, not this girl, Violet is smart and cunning. She knows how to play the game despite every muscle in her body telling her not to conform. I also really liked the secondary character Lucien. He reminded me greatly of Cinna from The Hunger Games but that's OK because that character rocked. Lastly, I liked Violet's mute handmaiden Annabelle, obviously she can't speak but that doesn't mean she didn't have a voice!
Now, while I enjoyed The Jewel, the one thing that really kept me from rating the story higher was the I suppose you could call it "twist" that happened in the later half of the story. I realize that in stories of emotional and physical repression it is customary that the protagonist falls in love with someone she's not meant for but based on how the story was going I really thought maybe this one would be different by allowing Violet to stand on her own without the emotional muss and fuss to get in the way of derailing her escape and helping all the others like her. It's not that I didn't like Ash but maybe he would've been better introduced as a companion for Violet in the sequel instead of rushed like it was in The Jewel.
Final ThoughtsWith that being said, I'll be rating The Jewel by Amy Ewing ★★★★.
Despite the almost cliche turn the story took in the back end I still feel that The Jewel is a book worth investing in. As I mentioned above the story itself was good and I liked the characters. Sometimes you don't need much more than that.
*Copy reviewed provided by the publisher. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated in an which way for providing them.
About the Author
Amy received her MFA in Creative Writing for Children from The New School, where she was lucky enough to meet a fabulous community of YA writers who keep her sane on a daily basis. She lives in Harlem, where she spends her days writing, eating cheese, and occasionally binge watching The Vampire Diaries.