Title: The Jewel by Amy Ewing
Publication date: September 2, 2014
Genre: Dystopian YA
Synopsis: 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.
The Jewel has been on my TBR list since it came out in September, but I was tepid on reading it after reading some more interesting reviews. After having some free time, I decided to pick this up. The cover is so gorgeous that I couldn’t help but give it a go. Needless to say, it was incredibly interesting. It’s probably one of the craziest concepts I have ever come across and while there definitely were some eyebrow raising moments, there were also some really strong moments.
What I liked: I think my favorite part was The Duchess. It may seem weird if you’ve read the book, but I think The Duchess was the most multi-dimensional character. Every scene she was in she dominated, and outside of that, I could not wait to learn more about her. While Violet was fine as a character, she was certainly not the one who stole the show. I was also very fond of the world-building. The entire concept of the book was incredibly interesting. Learning more about the world was really what kept me engaged. Every page turned meant more secrets to uncover and it was very riveting.
What I didn’t like: While I liked the surrogacy concept I thought it was kind of deep for a YA novel. There were a lot of great part of this book, but the whole surrogacy was not very well developed. I had so many questions. Why are these specific girls surrogates? Why couldn’t the royalty have children? Why did these girls have special power? Basically, there were too many questions and not enough answers. I also wasn’t crazy about the romance.To be honest, it was not very well thought out and seemed thrown in as an after thought. I felt like this was just some extra drama that fell short.
Overall, I really liked the concept thought I’m not sure it’s 100% appropriate for everyone, but it’s an interesting read and I’m looking forward to the sequel. Plus, cliffhanger! 3/5