The Jewel is a captivating and alluring book, written by Amy Ewing.
The Jewel is a place of wealth, beauty and royalty. But for girls like Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Violet grew up in a poor area called the Marsh and was whisked away to be trained to become a surrogate for the royalty. In the Jewel, offspring is more important than anything.
When Violet is bought at the surrogacy auction by the Duchess of the Lake and greeted by slap in the face, she quickly discovers that beneath the beauty of the Jewels façade lies cruelty, backstabbing and hidden violence that is known as the royal way of life.
Violet has to accept the brutality of her existence here in the Jewel and try to stay alive. But then Violet meets a handsome gentleman, which is the beginning of a forbidden and life-risking romance. This man’s presence makes the Jewel seem a little bit brighter, though the outcome of their star-crossed love will bring them disastrous consequences…
For the most part, I really liked The Jewel. In the beginning, it took me a little while to understand how things worked in this society and what the rules were. It was a while before I fully understood how this society operated. In that way, this book was a little slow in the beginning for me. However, when I got about 30 pages in, this book was full steam ahead. I absolutely loved the plot. It was grabbing and I couldn’t even fathom putting this book down! I was on the edge of my seat for a lot of this book and I loved the fact that I felt so connected to the characters and emotionally-invested in the story. This book was definitely an interesting one. The idea of having surrogates for the rich people who were unable to have their own children, and that these surrogates have other powers, was really intriguing. This book kind of felt like a mash between The Selection and Eve for me. The best thing about this book was definitely the plot. I was eager to find out what was going to happen and the majority of this book was really well paced and quite thrilling.
The one main thing I didn’t like about this book was the romance. I found it very unconvincing and somewhat forced. I felt as though the author kind of added the romance into this story as an afterthought, thinking the only way she could hook more readers into reading this is by giving it a romantic twist. I mean, Violet meets this guy named Ash for practically five seconds, and then she has a massive, all-consuming crush on him? I get that attractive people can have that affect on some people, but to this extent? It wasn’t believable and felt forced. And then they spend some more time with each other and all of a sudden, they’re in love? They hardly had any conversations and I felt as though these people hardly knew each other. And then they’re willing to risk their lives to be together? This book would have been very satisfactory without the romance in it, perhaps even better. Because I loved the plot so much, I felt as though the romance in this book stood in the way a bit and those pages could have been used for something more worthwhile to read. The romance in this book was definitely the part that I disliked most about The Jewel.
I loved spending time with most of the characters in this book. Violet was a really interesting and complex person. It was enjoyable to read about her powers and see the extent of what she could really do. Raven, Violet’s friend, was also a character I loved. I think she’s the character I felt most for in the book. I didn’t get to see her as much as I would have liked, but I felt really connected to her and loved how things played out for her in the end. Violet’s stylist, Lucia, reminded me a lot of Cinna from The Hunger Games. However, Lucia could be quite scary in parts. I loved getting to know him in the brief times I saw him and I liked learning his back-story and what motivated him to help Violet.
Some of the interactions that I enjoyed reading about was the way the Duchesses and all the other royal people conversed and held gatherings. It was interesting to see the way they acted and how they treated the surrogates. Violet’s Duchess was a very complex character. I got the feeling she often hid what she was really feeling and it was fascinating to uncover some of her true feelings as the book progressed. I had mixed feelings about Ash. He was an intriguing character with an alluring past, however the romance between him and Violet simply didn’t work. I would have much rather him been Violet’s friend until they got to know each other more, and then they could have started slowly falling for each other. I felt as though the whole falling in love thing between them just didn’t really work.
Overall, this was a very interesting book to read. It was thrilling and a little dark, which is definitely what I was looking for. The plot was gripping and I know I’ll definitely be reading the next book in this series! If you’re going to read this book, be warned that the romantic parts of this book aren’t great, however I loved almost every other aspect of this book. I’d give The Jewel by Amy Ewing a score of 8.5 out of 10. I recommend this book to everyone who is looking for a unique and intriguing read!