Friday, 26 September 2014

The Jewel by Amy Ewing

Book Summary : "Today is my last day as Violet Lasting. Tomorrow I become Lot 197."

The Jewel is a shocking and compelling new YA series from debut author, Amy Ewing.

Sold for six million diamantes, Violet is now Surrogate of the House of the Lake in the centre of the Lone City, the Jewel. Her sole purpose is to produce a healthy heir for the Duchess – a woman Violet fears and despises.

Violet is trapped in a living death, her name and body no longer her own. She fights to hold on to her own identity and sanity, uncertain of the fate of her friends, isolated and at the mercy of the Duchess.

The Handmaid's Tale meets The Other Boleyn Girl in a world where beauty and brutality collide.

My Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

My Thoughts : My thoughts are conflicted for The Jewels.

The book started off really well, and no doubt, resembled a few other dystopians I have recently read. The story itself is brilliantly crafted…or would have been if it weren't for the insta-love running all the fun.

The protagonist,Violet Lasting is special breed of girl, raised and groomed to be a surrogate, to bear the offspring for rich women in the heart of the city—the Jewel, who are incapable of giving birth. In her world, girls like Violet are defined by the very same number they score in Augury Test. At the auction, Violet is purchased by the Duchess of the Lake, and thrown into a lavish world of balls and dresses and wealth. She soon discovers the truth that lurked beneath the glittering facade of The Jewel, where surrogates like her are treated like dogs, cradled with gifts if they comply, punished if they disobey.

The world building is more like a cocktail of high fantasy punched with dystopian. The city is divided into rings (which reminds me of The Midnight Thief). The outer most is the Farm (Obviously, the farmlands), next to it was Marsh (where our MC hails from), then the Smoke (the factories), the Bank (business district) and innermost in the Jewel (where the nobles live). There are facilities for training the surrogates. Each of surrogates possess unique Auguries—a kind of magic that wasn't explained well—such as growing a bud into a flower, changing colors etc etc.

I must say the politics was done well—one reason that kept me at the edge of my seat. The backstabbing, the cruelty, how a royal could stoop low to even have a surrogate killed.

Violet Lasting, is not a bad protagonist either, but in places her narration was flat—monotonous. She is mostly compliant and given her situation—being groomed for years to be submissive—I understand that, played her part of a damsel in distress. However, she undergoes a character development, but not until very late in the book.

What ruined this book for me, as I've said before, is the insta-love. The love interest, Ash, appears in the second half of the book, and the moment he enters, Violet falls in love at first sight, thinks about kissing him later the same night, which quickly escalated into confessions on true love and kissing in their third meeting.

All that aside, this book has potential and a likable read. The story ended with an evil cliffhanger, left me with wanting more and I’ll continue the series as to how events will turn in the next installment.

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