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. (Goodreads)
I actually really enjoyed this book even if it was a little Hunger Gamesy. I feel like this book could have had a little more action to it, and maybe more feeling to the love story, but I enjoyed it overall. Can I just say – that ending?!? Seriously. It has been bugging me since I finished the book and I feel like I need to read the book.
I think my favourite part of this book was the uniqueness of the surrogacy aspect. I think this is the first dystopian YA book that I have come across that introduces surrogacy into the story. I think it is cleverly woven into the story in the sense that the surrogates have no choice and are bought in an auction by the royals and elites. I think this gives this book an edge that other YA dystopians lack.
I missed the feels between Ash and Violet. I was reading their romance story and I just felt like there was no chemistry between them. Am I the only one who wants Violet to get to know Garnet a little better? I feel like they could be a couple that I could ship… Unless, of course, the second book changes my mind – that remains to be seen.
I feel like this book could have had a little bit more action? It focused a lot on the way in which Violet looked and the dresses she wore to the extent in which I felt like she didn’t really care about the life she was living. Then it went back to the way in which she was living and that she didn’t like it.
This book was a little too similar to the Hunger Games for my taste. Lucien/Cinna, the memory thing with Raven, the fact that the girls have no choice and also what happens to the girls after childbirth. It also reminded me of The Hunger Games in the sense that the capital (The Jewel) was much more extravagant in comparison to the other places (The Smoke etc). Also, the way in which the people in the Jewel spoke about the surrogates reminded me of the way in which the people in the capital in the Hunger Games spoke about the people taking part.
That ending!!! I was slack jawed and shocked!! I mean, c’mon – how could the author leave us hanging like that?!? I don’t want to give too much away, but this ending pretty much gave this book an extra star all on its own!! I pretty much need to start reading the second book! But first comes Glass Sword!
I really enjoyed this book and gave it 4/5 stars.