Published by Harper Collins, HarperTeen on September 2, 2014
Genres: Dystopian, Fantasy & Magic, Pregnancy, Young Adult
Source: Paperback ARC from Publisher
Reading Challenges: ARC August, COYER
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 is the first in the young adult Dystopian series called The Lone City. The set up is not a new one in the world of dystopian, but the story is still well done. I am interested in continuing this series. I like the set up of the surrogates and the augeries the most. I am very intrigued by the powers they possess, even if I still don’t know quite why they do have them and why other people in their world doesn’t. They are not your traditional “witches”, if you can even call them that. I have a lot of questions about the world still left unanswered, but I grew to really like the characters and premise of the story.
Girls from the poorest circles are tested young, and all of the ones that show signs of having powers, called augeries, are sent away from their families to live in training centers to develop their powers. Once they are of age, they are sent to auctions where they are auctioned off to the royal and wealthy families from the inner circles to be their surrogates. Never to see their families again. This is the world we are thrust into head first, and you kind of have to figure out things as you go. I wish that I had a little more background information on this world. I didn’t know how it came to be this way, or why it was structured the way it was, and a lot of my questions never got answered. But once the story picks up steam, you kind of get past that because the story-line is really interesting. I still had questions but I was more concerned with what was happening with Violet at her new house, with the Duchess of the Lake.
The Duchess herself was one of the most interesting characters to me. She is really complex. Sometimes nice, sometimes cruel, and I longed to figure her out. We do get some glimpses into what makes her tick, but not enough yet. I hope to learn even more about her in the next book. Violet is one of the most powerful surrogates in her class and there are big plans for her. I don’t want to give too much away, but there are a lot of classic dystopian themes and similarities woven throughout the story, so if you enjoy that kind of story, you will probably enjoy the Jewel. It has all the makings of a great dystopian, it just left me with a few too many who why, where and how questions to make the leap from like to love just yet.
I really liked this book. I like Violet and Ash, and I love the concept of the Augeries. I think we will be seeing many more cool things from them in the next book. I can’t wait to see what the author is going to do next, but I want a few more world building foundational questions incorporated into the next book. The romance in The Jewel is light but enjoyable. I have no idea what the author is going to do with Violet and Ash in the next book, and I am more than a little excited to find out.
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