The Jewel (The Lone City #1)

 
3.6 (3)
 
3.5 (3)
2488 0
The Jewel (The Lone City #1)
Author(s)
Publisher
Age Range
12+
Release Date
September 02, 2014
ISBN
9780062235794
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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.

Editor reviews

3 reviews

Overall rating 
 
3.6
Plot 
 
3.3  (3)
Characters 
 
3.3  (3)
Writing Style 
 
4.0  (3)
Backstabbing & More
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
I have been passing by this book in the library every time I go there. It sits on the shelf, and I have thought about reading this book for the last year or so, but I'm fully aware that there's a sequel, so I waited. And waited. Until now.

I regret yet also don't regret waiting.

THE JEWEL starts off its world building slowly. It weaves its explanations with its plot, and it doesn't feel like a rough roller coaster. It does have its ups and downs. The up is that the reader knows what's going on through the inner thoughts of Violet (or the dialogue of another character). The down is that the reader isn't fully aware of the world and that when a new detail is discovered (or announced), there's a huge question mark. But thankfully, those times come very rarely and the author is quick to smooth out any wrinkles.

Violet is a young woman who is stuck in her horrible situation. She doesn't have anywhere to go, and she is almost a slave to the rich and wealthy. But that's not the entire truth. (In fact, she's more of a prized breeding cow than an actual slave.) She is thrown into a whole new world of politics and backstabbing, and one wrong move can have her poisoned to death. It's a brutal setting, but Violet is reckless enough to shake apart the establishment and draw too much attention to herself. It's not the smartest thing, but Lady Luck smiles down on her. And Violet begins to understand, her edges becoming much sharper.

The setting has a lot of potential, and I can't wait to see more of it. It's a really interesting world the book has here, and I want to know more about the economy, the system, the wealthy, the poor, and more.

The romance has high stakes in its forbidden nature. Violet is a surrogate for a future duchess. And her gentleman friend is pretty much a male version of a lady-in-waiting with even less limitations in what he can't do for his mistress, who is not Violet. (Anything is on the list... Seriously. Anything.) Still, it's cute to see it unfold, but I'm not totally invested in it.

The ending (and the twisty plot) is perhaps what totally sold me. It's an epic twist, and I admit that I did not see that coming. Epic...

Overall, THE JEWEL is a wonderful start to a new trilogy. It dives into a daring story of privilege, politics, and danger. I honestly curse myself for not reading it sooner.

Rating: Three out of Five
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Surprisingly good
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
The Jewel got to my attention when I received its sequel The White Rose couple of weeks ago. It had been on my TBR for a while, but I never really got excited enough about it to read it so it just stayed far away in the corner of my mind. With the release date of The White Rose coming closer, I picked up The Jewel - BEST DECISION EVER. I was totally surprised since this was the first book I read after a month of not being able to read anything except for the books I had to read for Comparative Literature (what I study). So, in short, The Jewel hit me like wrecking ball.

So the concept of the book was hard to grasp at first. You arrive almost in the middle of an action-ish thing where Violet is going to an auction to get sold to a very rich person to get a baby. WAIT... WHAT? Yes, yes, girls with special 'powers' are sold to the royals to bare their children, since the genes of the royals are thus far screwed up they cannot have kids themselves. What fucked up society does this? Well... let me explain this to you.

The Lone City has 5 rings: the outer ring is the Marsh, the poorest part of the city. Since the city is practically and island only protected from the waters by the outer walls, the Marsh will be hit first when the walls cannot hold back the water anymore. Violet is from the outer ring, and like some other girls, she has special powers, that will help getting kids for the royals. They will be sold at a certain age and become surrogates, which is, in short, just a body to carry a kid. Nothing more. The forth ring is the ring of the Farms, whereas the labor hard but the environment is good, at least. The third ring is the ring which has all the factories. Violet's brother, Orche, works there to support the family, while her father is dead and she's in an facility for surrogates-to-be with her friend Raven. The second ring is the Bank, where all the shops are and all the rich people live. The inner ring, which is actually a circle, is the Jewel, where the royals live.

So - a society with class differences, unbelievable values and big differences between the poor and the rich. Genes do play a big part in the story over all, which I think is great. I loved that in Divergent and I love it in The Jewel.

Violet is the 197th surrogate to get sold to one of the four founding families of the city. She thinks she might have a nice place, but the Duchess of the Lake isn't much of a nice aunt you visit every so often. Violet soon finds out how screwed up their society is and how dangerous it is to be a surrogate. Will she fight for what she believes in, or will she give in just to get it over with?

The Jewel features, luckily, some strong, straight minded women, who are not afraid to say what they thing and do what they say. The book does have some romance, though I think this could've been elaborated more thoroughly. To me, it felt like it was rushed: just something that HAS to be part of a young adult novel. But the thing is, I still fell head over heels for the guys, Ash.

The Jewel has a good plot, a very interesting cliffhanger and strong characters. The book discusses some real existing social issues like slavery and it will really get under your skin. It definitely surprised me and I'm so happy I decided to read it. I cannot wait to read The White Rose, which will be released October 6th: tomorrow. The Jewel is my new obsession and I firmly believe it could be yours too!

I recommend this book to anybody who loves The Selection by Kiera Cass or Divergent by Veronica Roth.
Good Points
Good plot and great world building
Strong female characters
Exciting story overall
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A promising start to new series
Overall rating 
 
3.3
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
What I Loved:

The Jewel had good pacing and even better anticipation, and I ended up enjoying it quite a bit. It's a light read and I sped through pretty fast and none of the characters irritated me too much. This might have something to do with the fact that books that explore a Reproductive Dystopian world fasciate me.

What Left Me Wanting More:

I didn't really love the romance because it is on the "quick" side of things, but somehow that did not seem to bother me much. One thing you might want to consider is that this book does have a terrible cliffhanger. It's the worst. I know I'll end up reading book two just for that alone. I only hope that book two either expounds on the romance or gets rid of it completely.

Overall:

This is a great read for younger teens that most will enjoy. It has excitement, romance and a great plot. The Jewel is a promising start to new series.
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User reviews

3 reviews

Overall rating 
 
3.5
Plot 
 
3.3  (3)
Characters 
 
3.3  (3)
Writing Style 
 
3.7  (3)
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Interesting Read
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
Original Review: http://www.literarychaos.com/

This book is one of those dystopia-esque novels that I had a really hard time getting into recently. It was not a terrible read but it also is not a book I would tell someone to run out and go buy either. I did find the idea of the story to be about an interesting subject matter; the idea of forced surrogacy and servitude was intriguing to me and made it seem like a book I could really get into, but unfortunately, it fell short of my expectations.

I have been in a bit of a slump with dystopian novels recently, and this one definitely falls into the disappointing category. I just felt like the world is one that I have seen in so many other novels. Nothing felt new or innovative, even the main characters family and home felt as if it was something I had seen before. The only part of the plot that I felt was interesting was the auguries and the concept of the surrogacy in a dystopian society, but for me, this just wasn't enough to really keep me engaged with the storyline. On top of all this, the plot was a little too slow for my liking. I felt like much of the story was just Violet reacting to things the Duchess did.

Another issue I had with this book was the characters. I was not a fan of Violet, I really wanted to be but I just could not get into her character. I just could not connect to her inner dialog. I felt like her character was on autopilot for most of the book and was just letting things happen to her. personally would rather have had a main character like Violet's friend Raven, who was spunky and actively fighting back. On top of not being able to connect to the main character, I was not a fan of her love interest Ash at all. I felt like his character came into the story a little too perfectly, and his character flat and unrealistic.

And as if not liking the characters wasn't bad enough their romance an example of Insta-love at its finest. Violet literally starts to obsess over him after their first encounter, and they seemed to fall in "love" not more than 30 pages after that! Am I the only one who finds this to be very unhealthy? The entire romance was cliche and unrealistic.

Not everything was bad about this novel, however, Ewing does an amazing job with her descriptions. For me, this was her saving grace. I often found that I could tolerate the cheesiness because I was so interested in the different description of buildings, dresses, and events. Another positive for me was just how well the author described the dehumanization that these young women went through. I felt that she did an amazing job describing the auction and the treatment of these surrogate as sub-human. She managed very effectively write about a hard topic, that many would not want to touch, even when set in a dystopian world. For this, I do have to commend her.

While this book is definitely not my favorite, it was not horrible either. I am curious enough to see where the story goes and will probably continue on with the series. I am hopeful that the next books will get better.
Good Points
Interesting World, Dark Plot
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Really Interesting, New Book! But Beware of Romance!
Overall rating 
 
3.7
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
MY THOUGHTS
Isn't that such a beautiful cover? The first time I saw the cover I immediately wanted to read it! Thankfully, this book does not follow the cover-fraud rule, where the cover is better than the book. Yes, this book was not the best book I've ever read, but I did love it!

One thing that I really really liked about this book was the amount of world-building that went into it. There was so much involved in the making of this world and the world feels so different than our own, yet so similar and I just found that amazing.
I found the auguries interesting, yet odd. You'll know more about the auguries when you read the book, but auguries are basically special abilities that surrogates, like Violet, have where they can change the color, shape, or make something grow. Anyway, I found it fascinating that they had this, but I couldn't understand why. I'm actually really excited to see more about this in future books.
And the characters were all well-developed. They weren't flat or cardboard characters at all! And I really appreciated this!

My ONLY issue with this book was the romance.
The romance wasn't really introduced until maybe the last 30% of the book, but it did ruin things for me. The romance was similar to insta-love, but not quite. Violet meets love interest and there is definitely attraction, but the two don't actually start anything with one another until later. When they begin to admit the attraction they do get very into each other and they believe really quickly that they love each other and they will be able to stay together. I understand that in real life romance like this may happen, but in real life having these romances won't potentially get you killed (usually). This is what irritated me about the romance. I felt like they were being idiots. They knew that this could get them hurt or killed, yet they kept believing that they weren't going to get caught. (view spoiler)
I can kind of understand, though, why they stayed with each other, even knowing the consequences. Neither one of them really had freedom. Sure, love interest had a bit more than Violet, but they both didn't have much freedom and the idea that they could have this freedom to do something that they could actually do for themselves, may be worth the consequences in their eyes.

Now, the ending, I oddly liked.
Oddly, because this book ends in a cliffhanger and I usually hate cliffhangers.
But I kind of like the mysterious way that the book left off on...

IN CONCLUSION
This book has a lot going on for it! Great world-building, 3-dimensional characters, interesting ideas, but the romance really fell flat. Even though the romance stole the show in the last 20% of the book, I'm not letting it ruin my full opinion of the book. Everything else about this book was great and, oddly, the cliffhanger ending made everything better!
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A terrifying world...
Overall rating 
 
3.7
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
For anyone who lives in The Jewel, it means a life of wealth, luxury, royalty. For girls like Violet, it means a life of servitude away from her family. She was born in The Marsh, the poorest district, and taken from her family to be trained and one day sold to a family in The Jewel to be their surrogate. It doesn’t take her long to see the truth behind the wealthy facade, polite and proper in public and planning downfalls in private. Now the surrogate for the Duchess of the Lake, Violet finds herself falling for the boy hired to be the companion for the Duchess’s niece. If their relationship is discovered, the consequences would be devastating.

This was a book I’ve had on my anticipated reads list for a while and I was happy that it didn’t disappoint. The plot and world-building was really interesting and disturbing, the pacing moved well so I never felt like it was dragging, and I really enjoyed the main character.

Violet was my favourite part of the book. She could have easily decided to throw herself a pity party at what has become her life and I would have completely understood. Instead she found ways to deal and survive. She was smart and caring but could also be impulsive and rebellious, which showed in her actions. The secondary characters were good as well, and some of them I wish we’d gotten to see more of. Violet’s friend Raven who was sold to another house, The Duchess’s son Garnet, Violet’s maid Annabelle, a stylist Lucien, the companion Ash, all characters who added something to the story. Even the ‘evil’ characters like The Duchess showed that they weren’t one dimensional and that they had their own stories that could be revealed.

The concept was easy to understand and the world-building was vivid enough to get a clear picture with the different areas(The Marsh, The Smoke, The Farm, The Bank, The Jewel). The descriptions of life for these girls were appropriately horrifying and the more that was revealed, the more disturbing it got.

The romance was sweet but it did feel a bit fast. In some ways it was understandable that Violet and Ash would latch on to each other given their situations but he was introduced late in the book and soon after, they were in love. I could believe them as a couple but maybe if the romance had gotten a little more development, I would have felt stronger about them.

It was easy to fly through this book. It seemed like I’d just started it and then I was done(and wanting the next one). There were some things that were predictable but others that did surprise me. There did feel like there was a lot of set-up done in this book, which hopefully means more action in the next ones.

Lastly, the cover is absolutely gorgeous and I can’t wait until a physical copy of the book is released so I can see it in all its hardcover glory.
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