July 27, 2014

ARC Review of The Jewel by Amy Ewing

Release Date: September 2, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Page Count: 358
Format: ARC
Genre: YA
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.

*An ARC of this book was loaned to me as part of a On The Same Page tour in exchange for an honest and fair review*

I've been waiting for The Jewel for a couple months now so I was pleasantly surprised when I was chosen to be part of an ARC tour featuring it. The Jewel was the third book I read after my almost month-long reading slump and represented a crucial point, either it would bring it back or instead completely get rid of it. After enjoying the majority of The Jewel and finding that it lived up to my expectations I can happily say that it was the latter of the two options.

Compared to books like Heir of Fire and Snow Like Ashes, The Jewel didn't have the number one world building and settings but still put out a decent effort. The book was a mixture of fantasy and dystopia and definitely had the right settings for it, from the city itself to the rings arranged around it, each one representing a social class. The Marsh was where the poorest lived and The Jewel was where the rich and the royalty lived. All five rings were interesting (The Marsh, Farm, Smoke, Bank, Jewel) and it was certainly the first time I saw a city arranged in that way. I was reminded a bit of the Sectors from Legend by Marie Lu because the poor, rich, and in between lived in separate locations (name of the sectors such as gem names representing who lived there in the case of Legend). However, The Jewel only had five rings as opposed to the multiple sectors in Legend. It also intrigued me how normal life in The Jewel differed from our daily life. If the book really is set in the future like I'm guessing it is then some pretty dramatic events must have happened to cause everyone to live in a island surrounded by giant walls. Altogether, the world-building in The Jewel was a solid effort and some parts of it were completely unique compared to other books. 

The characters in The Jewel really shined and I really enjoyed reading about them and their struggles. Violet, the main character captivated me and I felt happy whenever something went her way and sad when it didn't. Her strength was obvious with all the things she had to go through, being a surrogate, being beaten, almost killed, and more. Especially at the end with the selfless thing she did, giving up her chance at freedom to save her best friend. After the surprise twist at the end of the book I'm dying to read about what happens to her and whether she's able to get free. I hated almost all the rest of the characters, not because they were poorly written but because of who they were. They all bought surrogates and treated them harshly, as if they were furniture. Ash, Lucien, Garnet, and Raven were the only exceptions. Raven was Violet's best friend and the person she sacrificed her chance at freedom while Ash was one of the only people to treat her like a normal human. Lucien was a "lady-in-waiting" and the person who tried to help her escape from The Jewel. However, it was Garnet who surprised me the most at the ending and I'm still not sure if I can trust him. All of these characters were deftly written and are worth being read.

The Jewel was a fairly quick read, I finished it within a few hours but it had a giant cliffhanger at the end. I have no idea when the second book comes out but I'm adding The Jewel to my list of "books whose sequels need to come out NOW or I'll die from anticipation". The Jewel is perfect for people who like a mixture of dystopia and fantasy, an interesting world, and The Selection trilogy.

4.5/5 - Really good book

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree with you, I LOVED this one! Violet was one of my favorite protagonists in a long time, she was so very relatable. And the cliffhanger! I had such a book hangover from this book- I can't believe how long we'll have to wait for the next one. Great review :)
    -Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight