Monday, September 01, 2014

ARC REVIEW - THE JEWEL by Amy Ewing

The Jewel (The Lone City #1)
by Amy Ewing
Publisher - Walker Books
Release Date - 9th September 2014
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository

A shocking and compelling new YA series from debut author, Amy Ewing; The Handmaid's Tale meets The Other Boleyn Girl in a world where beauty and brutality collide.

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.
A stunningly gorgeous, yet brutal truth to society's most wanted, comes The Jewel, Amy Ewing's debut YA novel. 

Dystopias is an odd genre for me, the writing has to be spot on alongside a great plotline and intriguing characters and The Jewel, certainly didn't disappoint. Whilst I was a little anxious getting into this novel, with the mixed reviews/ratings, possible insta-love and a horrific cliff-hanger, I say don't let that fool you. 

In the world of the Lone City lives a girl called Violet Lasting, she isn't like others girls, she has been chosen to be this vessel, a vessel of creating new life and tomorrow she begins her new life as Lot 197... Violet was tested at the age of 12, whether she would be the perfect candidate to be a surrogate to the founding families of The Jewel. Five years of preparation, practice and pain, she is auctioned off to the highest bidder. However, her lot number gives her status, she is one of the best-tested for her Auguries (powers of manipulation in our terms) Colour, Shape, and Growth. Although this seems like she is chosen for greater purpose, now you only see the beauty to it, but underneath and behind the scenes there is an ugliness to the system, of brutality and conflict. Being born to be chosen has far fewer pleasures, its a curse as well. 

Whilst sold to the House of Lake, Violet becomes a nobody, just a shell to be protected and shown off to the other Houses. The Jewel, although seeming to be the glamorous vision of luxury, only stands when you are one of them. The Duchess, who bought her, is a vile, emotionless, tight-lipped, cruel woman, who thinks branding and showing off Violet like her prized possession. It made me sick to think this woman, has no shred of humanity, only wealth. Well money can't buy your everything, honey. She was the one character that I wanted to tear her eyes out. 

Violet or Lot 197's character are two people and Ewing certainly written a controlled balance between them. Violet didn't want to give up who she was, her music, her cello brings that out of her, as well as her lady's-maid Annabelle and finally her love interest, Ash. Ash is like Violet, at a young age he was forced to become a companion to attend to his sister's well-being. Ash no longer became the person he wanted to be, but the person he had to be for his clients. Violet and Ash both act as an anchor to each other, allowing them to be who they are freely and truthfully. Honestly, their relationship in the novel, really solidified their characters, it didn't for a once degrade the novel with the mention of insta-love.

Although this society certainly brings out the beauty and brutality of the character's and their surroundings, it certainly was creatively done. The only thing would that was cruel to me, as a reader was the cliff-hanger, I have to wait a whole year for the next book, not fair! The Jewel is written and plotted brilliant and I believe Amy Ewing will be YA author to look out for. 

Rating - 4.5

10 comments:

  1. Well, I'm quite happy to read such a positive review for this one! Mostly what I've seen have been either rather negative reviews, or reviews where the insta-love had really bothered the reader.
    I'm very intrigued by the very different cover from this edition to the one I've seen all over, is it another UK vs US thing?
    Btw, is the protagonist Violet or Veronica? I'm a bit confused!
    Great review, Emma!

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    1. I know. I was surprised by the negative reviews. Yes this is a UK version of the book. I've got the US one too. But I do prefer this one out of the both. Yes, sorry about that. It is Violet. I think I had something else in my head at the time. It's all corrected now. Thanks for stopping by Pili! :)

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  2. So when the first reviews of The Jewel came trickling in, I was really sure I won't pick this up. Now, all I see are reasonably, positive reviews and I'm getting more and more confused. Dystopian novels can be tricky for me and the instalove would make me pretty mad. I think I would read this just to form an opinion myself. Fab review, Emma!

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  3. Ha! That's what I'm saying. I have read this one and after reading some really negative reviews I was so sad to see that people gave up on this one just because of insta love. Yes it was bad and all that, but for me this society was nicely created. I'm so happy you did too. Great review, Emma :)

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  4. Oh, good! Yours is the first really positive review I've seen and I'm so glad! I love seeing different opinions. I have the arc, but I honestly wasn't going to read it. I jusr figured the instalove would annoy me too much. Now I'm not so sure. There are plenty of good sides too.

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  5. I'm so glad you enjoyed this, Emma! I know it's been a hit-or-miss with most readers and I haven't seen this particular cover around either but I always look out for differing opinions on upcoming novels so your review is perfect. Thanks for sharing, dear--I'm still not sure this is my cup of tea but you've made me re-think my decision to skip this. :)

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  6. I just have to say ick about the plot in this one! Being a surrogate for wealthy families? Yeah, so unfair for this girl. I've seen a few mixed reviews for this one and I've had a lot of difficulty with YA overall, so I doubt I'd pick this up, but I'm happy to see it worked for you. Bummer about the cliffhanger! Great review, Emma! :)

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  7. Thanks for the warning on the cliffhanger Emma, I find I usually have to prepare for them. I just love this version of the cover - it's gorgeous! I have heard varied things about this book, but overall the concept sounds like something I'd want to explore.

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  8. Glad you were a fan of this one Emma!!! I thought the world was horrifying in that I-can't-look-away-from-this type of way, and I found myself rooting for Violet from the very beginning. I agree with you on the cliffhanger, it was definitely of the brutal variety and it's going to make the wait for book two quite painful! Lovely review!!!

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  9. Great review! I've seen so many negative reviews for this novel, and now only a few positive ones, however I'm still really eager to read this book. I do have a copy of it though I am slightly hesitant to read it. I have to admit... I'm not a fan of cliffhangers, which makes me even more reluctant, but the concept of the story sounds so good. :)

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