By Amy Ewing
Published on September 2, 2014
Published by Harper Teen
Published by Harper Teen
Man, I had this book built up incredibly. It was one of those buzz books that everyone was talking about and everyone would fight to get their hands on. Lets be honest- this cover looks like it could be a part of The selection series. The girl wilting in a big poofy gown, the fancy script title- they look VERY similar. They are both glittery dystopians (I think a glittery dystopian is one that takes place in a cruel awful world but is set in opulence and wealth.)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.
My problem with this book? It was VERY VERY similar to a book that I just read called Deliver Me. They were very similar and I don't think that was a good thing for me. I know that it has been compared to A Handmaid's Tale (no, I haven't read it) and it seems pretty similar. I will be honest, I loved the beginning of this book and the end was pretty good- but there were chunks in the middle that dragged on.
Let's see- the world building was pretty good. It gave us reasons as to why girls were being raised and bred to be surrogates and what happens to them after they have the baby. I thought that the author didn't leave many details out (at least I wasn't left wondering anything)- she did a good job of setting up the series. Violet was a nice enough character to read about- she was naive and a bit snarky- I appreciated that.
There is romance in this book, and I have to say, it was probably my least favorite part of the book. It was absolutely insta-love and not in a good way. They meet, they see each other a bit, confess love, have sex, and then get in over their heads. For someone who is so naive- she jumped right into it in a very unbelievable way for me. Others may like that (and I can understand the reasoning that she jumped into the romance headfirst because it was her first time).
All in all the Jewel was an interesting series starter. While it wasn't my favorite and didn't hold up to my ridiculous expectations, it was a solid first book. Fans of the Harper teen line of books will find that this book fits in well with all of their other offerings. Fans of The Selection- this book is one you will enjoy