The Book: The Jewel (The Lone City #1)
The Author: Amy Ewing
The Publisher: Harper Teen
The Pages: 368
My Rating: 3/5
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.
If someone smushed The Hunger Games and the Selection together you would probably get The Jewel.
I won an ARC of this book and I was intrigued by the idea of the poor being used as surrogates for the royalty, the whole concept was new and original to me. So I was pretty excited to read it, despite reading a couple of less than positive reviews beforehand. There was a lot of potential for a great book here, but some major flaws let it down.
The setting is beautifully imagined. The Lone City is made up of circles, the outermost circle, The Marsh, is the poorest. Then The Farm, The Smoke, The Bank and in the centre is The Jewel where the royalty lives. All of this surrounded by a huge wall to keep out the sea. I could picture it all so well, it was gorgeous.
I also loved the element of magic to this story, it gave it an extra something. It was a fairly original idea (though I haven’t read much on magic). The surrogates used the three Auguries: Colour, Shape and Growth to change and manipulate things.
The Main character, Violet, was infuriatingly perfect. No girl is that perfect, its just unrealistic, and honestly, just plain boring.
We need authors to create real girls, flaws and all. The flaws are what make us love a character, their quirks and their attitude is what makes them unique. A girl who is perfectly stunning with striking violet eyes (violet eyed girl called violet, I know…) and a perfect personality, and of course extraordinarily gifted -how is that relatable? I might as well try to relate to a mannequin or a doll. She’s a loyal, compassionate, kind character which is great and all but come on! I want more!
The perfect character I could’ve overlooked but what really dragged the book down in my opinion is FREAKING INSTA-LOVE! I HATE IT SO MUCH.
Seriously, has no one sent a memo to all authors everywhere? NOONE LIKES INSTA-LOVE. Its unrealistic and just leaves me feeling unconnected to the characters and uncaring about their relationship. Our perfect main character meets the perfectly good looking guy, one short conversation later and they’re smitten. Then they’re risking his life for a quick smooch every now and then and making declaration of love.
Ash, (Mr Perfect-Looking), is actually a decent character. I like the scene where they meet and he has a good back story and is interesting. If it wasn’t for the stupid insta-love, he’d be a great guy.
The character of the Duchess is interesting, I really liked her. Violet detests her throughout the book when its pretty clear this woman, although she does some pretty shitty things, has hidden depths and has her reasons for the things she does.
I really enjoyed the storyline to this book and it was easy to read so I finished it in a couple of days, and despite its flaws I wanted to know what happened next. That’s mostly due to the lack of anything actually happening in this book, I’m hoping the next book will pick up the pace as this series has a lot of potential and its not living up to it so far.
Overall this book had the potential to be great but the lack of action, dull main character and ridiculous insta-love really dragged it down.