Book: The Jewel
Author: Amy Ewing
Summary: The Jewel means wealth, the Jewel means beauty - but for Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Bought at the surrogacy auction by the Duchess of the Lake, Violet (now known only as #197) is quickly thrown into the royal way of life. But behind its opulent and glittering facade, the Jewel hides its brutal reality, which is filled with violence, manipulation, and death. Violet must accept that she will bear a child for the Duchess, as well as the ugly truth of the city. . . all while trying to stay alive. Before she can accept her fate, though, Violet meets a handsome boy who is also under the Duchess's control, and a forbidden love erupts. Toeing the line between calculating and rebellious, Violet must decide what, and whom, she is willing to risk for her own freedom. -HarperTeen, 2014.
I'm so sorry I've been gone for so long. Things have been rather hectic and reading has taken a backseat for a while. But now I'm back and I'm slowly going to come back into writing reviews. My apologies in advance for these upcoming ones - they probably won't be as detailed as my previous ones.
I found this book as an advanced reader. As always, the girl in the ballgown got me so I decided to take a chance and read it.
The good news is that the novel has a fresh take on a dystopian universe. The world/setting, characters, societal rules, and jobs are solid and well-thought out. Most dystopian novels are frightening not just because of the way the society is portrayed, but because somehow, someway, there's always a real chance of it happening. In this case, I would dare to say it's happening right now. Who is to say girls aren't being used as surrogates against their will in the world? How many young men have been used and abused by others of a higher societal rank? Ewing takes those hidden issues and brings them out in the open - and they're not pleasant.
The bad news is that there are quite a few of the Young Adult dystopian cliches that are in abundance in most novels of this type: the Chosen One, forbidden love, the young sacrificial lamb that becomes the symbol of the hero/heroine's awakening to how evil the society is, the rebellious best friend, etc. They're not terrible per se, but just know that this book isn't free from these cliches.
Violet is your typical dystopian heroine - beautiful, but above it all and quietly rebellious in her own way. The Duchess seems to be a complicated character, but we'll see as time goes on. She reminds me of the Wicked Stepmother archetype. The boy Violet falls in love with is a tad bland - I hope he gets fleshed out more in the sequels.
The book is the first of a trilogy, so I'll be heading over to the next one soon. The Rebellion is about to begin!
I give The Jewel a B+.
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Thanks for reading!