Friday, August 29, 2014

[Review: The Jewel by Amy Ewing]

"The Jewel"
Author: Amy Ewing
Series: The Lone City #1
Pages: 358
Genre: YA, Dystopian, Fantasy
Date Published: September 2nd, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format Read: eARC provided by publisher (via Edelweiss) for honest review


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 Thoughts:

An Open Letter To The Jewel,

I thought we were going to be friends, instead, we're kind of like awkward acquaintances. We met that one time and we didn't really like each other that much. Or maybe you were more like a bad blind date? You started out fine, but once I dug into your soul I wasn't all that impressed with what I was seeing. And then when it all ended I was actually slightly interested again. Seriously, if all the middle bits were as entertaining and non repetitive as your middle bits, you would have been a favorite. Oh well, I guess we can't win them all...

-The White Unicorn

This book guys, it started out so well. I was engrossed with the world building and terrified by the fact that everything is surrounded by water. Violet and her life in the holding facility as well as the moments with her family actually stirred my emotions and I thought I had a book I was going to love in my hands. That's when the middle happened. The middle with the most awkward romance I've ever experienced, and the repetitive motions of Violet's days, and the bitchy females. There was promise lurking in the depths of mediocrity, which kept me reading, but sometimes i just didn't want to.

Honestly, if Ewing had kept the Violet from the beginning of the book as the character that led the story, I think it would have worked so much better. There were glimpses of her, but for some reason she started to act like a fool. Nothing really happened to progress her emotions and when they did, it was too late. Ewing leaned on a forbidden inst-romance to progress her personality instead and it just didn't work for me. I do have to say that Ewing using a male "companion" as our virginal surrogate's love interest was a brilliant plan, but the romance itself was so poorly executed, that I ended up just not caring at all. I honestly think this book would have benefited from not having a strong romance angle at all. I much preferred Violet as a steadfast friend then a fool headed lover.

Speaking of Ash, I didn't like him, at all. I actually thought that Garnet (Why is a man named that? Just why?) would have been much more fun to see more of in the book. He could have been utilized so much more than he was and I was curious about him, but then I got locked in a room with this Ash fellow and the inst-love/awkward romance started happening and I had no time for that business.

I do, however have to say that I loved so many of the other characters in the book. The ones that weren't the leads. Annabelle was amazing and Raven was awesome and Lucian was a bit of Cinna, but I loved him anyway. And like I said, I was entranced by the moments when Garnet actually got screen time.

The ending was almost as good as the beginning of the book, and not just because it was over. Ewing created a delightful cliffhanger and gave me some things that might make me pick up the next book. The ending did seem a bit fast and slightly out of place, but I think it's due to the middle of the book being so boring. 

World building is a big thing for me and even though the imagery in the pages was great, I felt like Ewing mentioned so many interesting things and then didn't tell us anything about them. Sure, she wanted to go for the element of surprise in some cases, but I wanted to know more about the wall and the different parts of The Lone City. It was on the tip of being amazing, but it was just too bare boned for me, and truth be told I love bare boned world building, so that's saying something.

In the end I have to say that I enjoyed The Jewel. It might not sound like it, but it did keep my interest and I have this sneaky suspicion that I'll read the rest of the books. This one just suffers from inconsistencies that weren't my favorite.

  2 Unicorns = It was okay, but something just didn't work for me!


Giselle said...

Argh another great book ruined by a crappy romance! I read a few reviews on this one and no one is enjoying the romance one bit! It sounds like it had so much potential, too, I love that premise and the whole surrounded by water thing creeps me out, tbh! Maybe I could just read the start and the end and block out the middle! Lol!! But even then the world building sounds like a tease! I decided to skip this one when the reviews started coming in but I still kept hoping a review would say they were all wrong! bahaha!

Ashley said...

The insta-love is what killed me. I agree, I think if the romance was left it the book could benefit greatly. My favorite part was the cliffhanger. I was pretty sure I was not going to read the next one but the ending sparked my interested enough to give the next one a try.