When Violet Lasting wakes up on Reckoning Day, she knows it’s the last day she will ever be Violet Lasting. For the past four years, ever since she was diagnosed as a surrogate, she has grown up in a compound with her best friend, Raven. Now, the girls are separated, thrown into a world of riches and royalty they have never known. This sci-fi, dystopian novel makes a name for itself with its original and daring plot.
First, I would like it to be known that I read this book in one sitting. I could, quite literally, not put it down. It has been compared to HarperTeen’s fellow series, ‘The Selection’ by Kiera Kass. Personally, I thought it was much, much better than The Selection. If anything, it reminded me more of Wither by Lauren DeStefano; it is dark and more intense. It is much more mature than The Selection. Where Kass’s series deals with marriage and choice, The Jewel is about pregnancy and the lack of choice (even slavery).
Surrogacy is definitely an untapped theme in YA novels, which automatically made this novel stand out. Violet’s dystopian world is never spelled out for the reader as some author’s choose to do, instead it is built up around you. Ewing does not underestimate her readers and understands that we are quite capable of piecing this world together as the story unfolds. The Lone City is set up similarly to the city in Attack on Titan, circular and separated, with the Jewel in the center. This world made much more sense than those I have read in other YA dystopias; I could understand the functionality and logic behind it.
Character wise, The Jewel is rich. Violet is enjoyable and engaging, but the characters who surround her are equally inciting. The Duchess of the Lake was great; I was always uncertain of how she would respond or the truth behind her motives, but as the novel deepens so does her character. Her son, Garnet, was also one of my favorites; he is hilarious. The other royalty surrounding Violet are constantly surprising, once you think you have them figured out… you’re wrong! I was constantly surprised while reading this book.
My only (small) complaint was the romance. Though I enjoyed it and the characters it involves (no spoilers here!), it did teetered on the edge of insta-love (insta-love: when two characters are instantly and unrealistically in love with each other, only acceptable in cases of reincarnation). Teetered only, however. Though I understand their connection, I would prefer it to have been dragged out longer… so we could see it build more before they start risking so much for each other. That said, I still did enjoy them together.
Lastly, THAT ENDING. Major twists and turns that I did not, in a million years, see coming! The stakes are much higher than we though, and the characters we thought we knew may be more than they seem…. I need the sequel now!
Check out The Jewel by Amy Ewing on Goodreads here and read it when it is released on September 2nd, 2014!