Release Date: 21st August 2014
Edition: Kindle e-book, purchased
Violet Lasting is no longer a human being.
Tomorrow she becomes Lot 197, auctioned to the highest royal bidder in the Jewel of the Lone City.
Tomorrow she becomes the Surrogate of the House of the Lake, her sole purpose to produce a healthy heir for the Duchess. Imprisoned in the opulent cage of the palace, Violet learns the brutal ways of the Jewel, where the royal women compete to secure their bloodline and the surrogates are treated as disposable commodities.
Destined to carry the child of a woman she despises, Violet enters a living death of captivity – until she sets eyes on Ash Lockwood, the royal Companion. Compelled towards each other by a reckless, clandestine passion, Violet and Ash dance like puppets in a deadly game of court politics, until they become each other’s jeopardy – and salvation.
I had heard very little about Amy Ewing’s debut around the UK blogs but I decided to give it a go anyway. I’m so glad I did!
The combinations of The Handmaid’s Tale and The Selection, The Jewel has a fascinating mythology behind its dystopian world. The Lone City is formed of a tiered society, the inner circle being The Jewel, run by royalty, fanning out to the Marshes, the poorest section of the city, and the only ones who can save the royal lines. Some girls from the marshes are born with Augeries, magical talents that are responsible for colour, shape and growth. These girls are corralled together and bred to be surrogates for royalty and sold off at an auction to the highest bidder. I love that the background was explained around the Augeries and the history of the Auction was revealed to Violet who had never known the history of her duties.
Everything about Violet’s life had been controlled and disguised and I really loved how she changed and stepped up to the fight for her freedom. She’s a strong and clever heroine and I loved her flashes of rebellion and also that she knew when to play the Duchess’ games. And the Duchess, well, she’s horrible. I also think that the best villains always have a history, have a reason behind what they’re doing and show flashes of humanity and feeling every now and again and that was clearly the case for the Duchess. It was great to have a group of strong powerful women as the villains in the novel, especially as it was clear that they were the ones pulling the strings in the Lone City.
The Jewel ended with an explosive confrontation and a completely unexpected plot twist that’ll definitely make the next book more interesting. I don’t want to give anything away, but it turned out that a character’s allegiance wasn’t on the side they showed in public and I just want to know how that came about!
I was so shocked about how much I liked The Jewel. Even with the some palpable inspirations from other novels, it’s a well-written, thought-provoking and refreshing take on the genre. I’m really looking forward to the next instalment.