I received this book for free from the publisher via BEA in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Series: The Lone City #1
Published by HarperTeen on September 2, 2014
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
Add to: Goodreads
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.
What I Thought…
• The Jewel was one of the few “must haves” that I had on my list for BEA this year. Gorgeous cover. Cool premise. It sounds like something I would love.
• I absolutely LOVED the plot. It was different, creepy and disturbing all rolled up into one! Girls with certain talents are forced to be surrogates to the royal family, and when they are “accepted” they leave their families. Everything about this world completely sucks, but that’s what makes it awesome. The concept of the Royal families and the houses was well done and it was fascinating to watch things develop. The Jewel is filled with a lot of political games, some of which are very high stakes.
• I liked Violet ok. She was a bit of a brat at times, but some of that was understandable given her situation. At times she showed great moments of character, and at others she had me scratching my head, which I guess is normal teenage behavior, only she is not in a normal teenage situation.
• For as much as I loved the plot of The Jewel I disliked the romance. Insta-love doesn’t usually bother me, but it seemed extreme in this case. The romance didn’t start until 2/3 of the way into The Jewel and it took off like a rocket. I hate to say this, because you know I love my romance, but The Jewel would have been better without it. Or at least turning it into a slow burn instead.
• Despite the romance The Jewel is quite a page turner, especially once you get to the last 1/3 of the book.
• The ending killed me. Killed. Me. I know it’s a trilogy so there is going to be cliffhanger of some sort but this one was brutal! I also feel like The Jewel didn’t have it’s own story arc. The climax happened right at the end, with no conclusion about anything really. In trilogies/series I prefer for each book to have an arc that fits into the overall arc.
Overall I enjoyed the plot way more than the romance, but I have definite plans to read the next book. I have to know what happens next!