Series: The Lone City #1
Publication Date: September 2nd 2014
Genres: Dystopia, Young Adult
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.
I had the pleasure of snagging an ARC of The Jewel at RT earlier this year with a good deal of expectations. It is, after all, a HarperTeen novel, and Ive come to expect a lot from HarperCollins. Let me just say: I was not disappointed at all! Ive been reading a lot of YA contemporary novels lately (thank you, Stephanie Perkins for getting me in the mood with your precious Anna series), but reading The Jewel reminded me all over again as to why I fell in love with YA dystopia.
The first thing I thought of when I saw the cover for The Jewel, was the blatant similarities it had to Kiera Casss The Selection series. The dress, the auction, the overall feeling of it all screamed of The Selectionand while The Jewel does have a lot of similarities, Ewing created a fantastic new story thats uniquely hers.
One thing I wasnt really expecting was the whole political aspect of The Jewel. Yet its so eminent that without it we wouldnt have a story. Being a dystopia, I (of course) figured that politics would make an appearance. However, I was expecting more of a forbidden love story-type novel, and while that is an element in the book, Ewing spends the majority of the novel crafting such a world filled with political ambitions, backhanded compliments, violence and carefully-concealed smiles that suck you right in.
In the same way I was pleasantly surprised with the prominent presence of politics in The Jewel, I was also a bit surprised in regards to the romance. Violets love interest doesnt come into play until more than half-way through, and while their forbidden romance is certainly a catalyst, Ewings focus on Violet and her experience at being thrust into a brand, new world is what really sets the stage for the whole book.
Needless to say, I loved Ewings amazing story and captivating world-building. Theres still a lot we have yet to see, and I cant wait to see what surprises Ewing has up her sleeve for the sequel.