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.
Description taken from Goodreads.
I had a lot of mixed feelings about THE JEWEL. First things first–I’ve heard people have been comparing this to THE SELECTION by Kiera Cass.
I mean–I can see why people say that. There are a few similarities, especially in the beginning, with both books. To be perfectly honest, I think that THE JEWEL was written as a sort of response to the huge number of fans who loved THE SELECTION. There are a few times when I felt like THE JEWEL was going to go a certain direction because of certain details that pop up in the story that are extremely similar to THE SELECTION.
But really–if you’re going to compare this book to THE SELECTION, think of this as a duller, darker version of THE SELECTION.
In reality, I guess duller isn’t the best word to describe this book. I was disappointed because I thought that, in comparing Violet to America (the main character of THE SELECTION) that’s what Violet appeared to me as. Weaker, duller, less shiny and bright. And yet, still being perfectly honest here, I thought that Violet had so much potential, especially towards the end of this story; which I think will make things interesting in books to come.
THE SELECTION has a sort of fantasy feeling to it, even though it is a futuristic world as well. I think the real issue comes in that when I think about THE SELECTION, I think about one of the scenes in the very beginning of the first book. I think of Aspen (America’s first love) meeting with her in the middle of the night in a secret fortress, I think of Maxon (the prince) meeting America for the first time officially, and I think of Maxon dancing with America. Things also come to mind are the scenes of later books, when America and Maxon have to hide from rebels, when America meets Maxon’s mother personally, the process in which America begins to fall in love (and more importantly–find a friend) in Maxon.
When I think of THE JEWEL, I think of Violet getting slapped in the face. I think of cellos and cruel masters and infuriating instalove. Among these visuals are torture, beautiful dresses, amazing libraries and making friends that only seem to disappear.
That’s all I really think of, and that’s the problem. When I think of THE SELECTION, I have a clear idea of how everything works, the entire process (keyword: process) in which everything happened, the beautiful and clear imagery, the dialogue and the heartbreaking/heartwarming/hilarious moments. While I thought that THE JEWEL had a lot of potential, the imagery just isn’t there. It doesn’t leave me with an imprint, a memory. The book itself is entertaining after you get through the extremely boring first 25 pages, but it’s not memorable. I felt like the author just didn’t give me a clear enough explanation of how everything is going to go down, much less answers to the various questions that come up throughout the story.
And there lies another problem, because I actually loved some of the visualization here. I think that Amy Ewing has a great talent for visualization and making analogies. I think that that talent has a long way to go, but I LOVED some of the passages in this book.
I also think that there were some awesome plot points here that didn’t get utilized to their full potential. This book ends in a choking, knife throwing, WHY NO WHAT’S GOING ON cliffhanger. For that, I will read the next book, and I hope that the romance disappears (because that is one thing that is entirely undebatable for me. THE SELECTION has a MUCH better developed romance) and that the book gets taken somewhere I could never imagine. While this book was entertaining, I thought that it could be much better. SELECTION fans–approach this book, but approach it with caution, and DON’T BE AFRAID TO SKIM. 2.5 stars.
pg count for the hardback: 358
Series: The Lone City