Published by Harper Collins on 2014-09-02
Genres: Social Issues, Young Adult
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The Selection meets The Handmaid's Tale in this darkly riveting debut filled with twists and turns, where all that glitters may not be gold.The Jewel means wealth, the Jewel means beauty—but for Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Born and raised in the Marsh, Violet finds herself living in the Jewel as a servant at the estate of the Duchess of the Lake. Addressed only by her number—#197—Violet is quickly thrown into the royal way of life. But behind its opulent and glittering facade, the Jewel hides its cruel and brutal truth, filled with violence, manipulation, and death.Violet must accept the ugly realities of her life . . . all while trying to stay alive. But before she can accept her fate, Violet meets a handsome boy who is also under the Duchess's control, and a forbidden love erupts. But their illicit affair has consequences, which will cost them both more than they bargained for. And toeing the line between being calculating and rebellious, Violet must decide what, and who, she is willing to risk for her own freedom.
My friend picked up a copy of The Jewel for me at ALA this summer, and I was so excited to get to it, mainly because I think the cover is striking. I had no idea what it was about when she handed it to me.
This book is creepy. The Dystopia genre thrives on saying “this could be you” and then putting the characters through some of your worst nightmares.
Violet is a poor girl from The Marsh, one of the outermost circles of The Lone City. Because of a blood test that reveals special qualities in her blood, she is taken to be a surrogate for the royalty who live in The Jewel, the wealthiest part of The Lone City. Violet can never see her family again. She is bought in an auction by a wealthy duchess, who relieves her of her name, simply calling her by her lot number (197), and treating her like a possession. Violet knows that the royalty can’t have their own children, which is why they buy surrogates to have them instead. This doesn’t change the fact that every time Violet sees the doctor who works for the duchess, she panics. Violet doesn’t want to be pregnant; fortunately, the doctor continues to put off the procedure. But the Duchess has plans for Violet, plans that will make her pregnancy different from other surrogates. The longer Violet lives in the Duchess’ palace, the more she learns about the true workings beneath the glittering façade of The Jewel.
I liked Violet well enough; I thought she had a pretty realistic response to her situation. She was totally freaked out about most of it, but the beautiful things, like the Duchess giving her a cello and such, she appreciated. I was glad she wasn’t just like “NO I refuse to play that cello because SHE gave it to me.” She took advantage of the good things and tried to adapt to the bad.
There’s a lot of political business here, especially between the royal women; they are conniving, always trying to get ahead, not caring who they hurt in the process. This was all very interesting, and definitely not what I was expecting.
The romance was a little disappointing. As the book got going, I thought I knew exactly what was going to happen. And then it didn’t. I honestly would have preferred what I was expecting to what actually happened. I didn’t hate the romance or anything, I just feel like it could have been better. I’m still hoping what I was expecting will happen in the next book. This isn’t to say that the romance isn’t sweet and pleasant and nice and likable, because it was all those things.
A+ ending, Amy Ewing. I wasn’t expecting that either, and it was awesome.