Friday, September 5, 2014

The Jewel by Amy Ewing

Summary (from Goodreads):
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.
So, I know this has mixed reviews. And while I understand a lot of the problems some people have with this book, I still loved it. I read it in one sitting. It was just what I needed at the time –a good, action packed dystopia. A lot of comparisons can be made to Wither by Lauren DeStefano, so if you didn’t like that series, you might not like this book. I kind of think it’s a mixture of Wither and The Selection. Side note: did the main character really need to have purple eyes? I seriously think more book characters have interesting eyes than actual people and it’s another connection that can be made to Wither.
It’s another dystopian world where women have the short end of the stick, particularly women who can reproduce. When girls become women, their blood is tested to see if they will be able to become serrogates for the royalty. Violet is one of the “lucky” ones who gets taken from her family, forced into a facility with other girls and is trained in using magic. Then all the lucky girls get auctioned off like slaves to the highest bidders. And then they are expected to birth children to the wealthy women of the Jewel, who either can’t or aren’t allowed to give birth themselves.
This book is loaded with politics, caste systems, and characters forced to sacrifice their freedom and their bodies to the wealthier classes. I liked Violet a lot because she doesn’t fall for the pretty dresses and the fancy food. She knows she is a slave. This is only emphasized more and more as the book goes on and her mistress forces her to do things like wear a collar and leash when they go out in a public.
I found this crazy, insane concept to be fascinating. This cruel world wasn’t exactly like other worlds I have read about before. It was both interesting and terrifying to see how many ways the wealthy could take away people’s humanity. The surrogates were also used as pawns in the ultimate chess game, and many of them ended up murdered by other wealthy houses.
I was hooked on the story from page one. The only thing I wasn’t the biggest fan of was the romance. I felt like it was a little rushed, and a little instant. And I am sort of exhausted with all our strong female main characters being incredibly intelligent except in regards to anything revolving men. Seriously, I feel like Violet was too smart for things to escalate to where they did. Why do our girl main characters have to be romantically dumb? Can we change this theme?
Any way, I read this super fast. I found the world both terrifying and fascinating. It was fast-paced, filled with action, and dealt with some interesting notions of slavery. I was not a fan of the romance, but I still really enjoyed this one. I give it a 9/10.


  1. The few similarities to Selection series is actually apparently visible but i totally forgot about Wither, good of you to point it out. Despite the mixed reviews it got. I too loved this book and happy to see you loved it too..... great review.

    Also do check my review of the book too here

    Aparajita @Le' Grande Codex

  2. You're right that this one has been getting crazy mixed reviews but I'm holding out hope that my experience will be similar to yours with it. I'e been warned about the issues some people have so hopefully I can put those aside and enjoy the good stuff. It's encouraging to me that you were fascinated by the world, the politics and the characters, those are some of the elements I'm hoping will make up for the romance aspect of it. Thanks for the thoughtful and encouraging review Nori ^^