Book: The Jewel by Amy Ewing
Published September 2014 by HarperTeen|249 pages
Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library
Series: The Lone City #1
Genre: YA Dystopia
“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.
I thought The Jewel was an interesting idea, and it reminded me of quite a few dystopias out there- The Hunger Games, the Chemical Garden trilogy by Lauren DeStefano, The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, The Selection by Kiera Cass, and there was something about the book that made me think of Divergent too, and I think there’s something about some of the events that happen in this book (and could potentially happen in the next one), that we could see elements of Divergent in the rest of the series. So basically, I was reminded of some of the more well-known dystopias out there, and it’s why it ended being just okay.
I spent a lot of the book comparing to other books in the same genre, and that worked against the book, because it was similar enough to other books that I was bored and thought it to be a little bit predictable. I did finish it, and I did like it, because the overall idea was interesting enough to keep me reading and caught my interest just enough that I wanted to give it a try.
I thought Violet was lackluster. I think part of it is that she wants to tell people her name, instead of her lot number, but she’s constantly referred to as 197 or the surrogate. That was one of the more interesting things about the book, because in a way, it makes her less human if she’s nameless. I do wonder if that’s partially why I felt disconnected, because everyone viewed her as someone who will produce a child, instead of an actual person.
The only thing I remember about her is that she plays the cello, but beyond that, I feel like there’s nothing special about her. She’s special but there seems to be no reason for why she’s so special. At least, we don’t find out what that is in this book. And if she’s so special and can do things no one else can, why was she lot 197, and not lot 200? That makes no sense at all.
There was romance, but it didn’t stand out, and there’s not much to say about it, because it was boring, and didn’t get my attention. It’s undeveloped and sudden, and quite honestly, I’m not sure why it’s even in the book.
I have a lot of unanswered questions about this world, and the little world-building we get doesn’t explain much. It felt like it wouldn’t hold up if you looked at it too closely, because we only get bits and pieces of why there are surrogates and not much else.
I’m honestly not sure if I’ll be reading the next one. I don’t necessarily have a problem continuing on with the series, and with how the last few pages went, I am curious about what’s going on. It’s definitely enough that I’m considering reading at least the next one, but I don’t think it will be anytime soon.
I’ve never read The Handmaid’s Tale so I’m not sure about that comparison, but I don’t get the comparison to The Other Boleyn Girl. Granted, it’s been quite a few years since I’ve read it, so maybe I’m missing something, but from what I do remember, I don’t get the comparison at all.
2 stars. I wanted to give it a higher rating, because I do like the overall idea, but I was too reminded by the similarities to other books to really enjoy it.