The Jewel – book review

The Jewel

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…

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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!

Rise – book review

Rise by Anna Carey

Rise is the last book in the Eve series, written by Anna Carey.

Eve’s life is a lie. She has to parade around, acting as the happy and patriotic princess of The New America who is delighted to be married to her father’s top advisor. But she’s anything but happy. The only thing that keeps her going is the memories of Caleb and the possibility of a revolution that Caleb died trying to achieve. Now, Eve must finish what Caleb started. But in order for a revolution to be possible, she must perform the ultimate act of rebellion – killing her father. How far will Eve go when she has nothing left to lose?

Unfortunately, I didn’t like reading this book. When I read the first book, I was so sure this series was going to be a great one. But this series simply didn’t live up to my expectations. I really didn’t like the ending. I’ve read this whole series… I’ve dedicated my reading time to this particular series out of the abundance of YA series out there… and this is the ending I get? It really wasn’t satisfying. I don’t believe the same person who wrote Eve has written this book. I won’t believe it. Eve, the first book, was so beautifully written. It made me laugh and it made me cry. I didn’t feel any emotion in this book. Okay, firstly, the death scenes. Come on. Even I could write better death scenes in my sleep than that. They weren’t emotional at all. One time, I didn’t even realise the person had died until it was stated in a couple of pages. How can you not know when someone has dies? I was like: Hold on, is this person dead? Where was the emotional “goodbye” speech? Where was the sadness or frustration? Usually, I’m a very emotional person. I cry when I’m sad, I cry when I’m angry, and I cry when I’m happy. But I only cried once in this book, and that’s because the ending was so unbelievably bad. How could this series end like that? How? But the ending wasn’t the only part I was disappointed in. For almost the entire book, heaps of girls were trekking through the wilderness to get to Califia. I’m sorry, but haven’t we already done this in the first book? With Caleb? Bringing back any memories? So when we did this all over again with a ton of girls and no Caleb to keep things interesting, I really felt like just stopping the book right then. The only reason why I couldn’t put it down was the hope that Caleb was going to jump out from behind a tree and shout Surprise! I’m alive! Spoiler alert: He didn’t. He never came back. If you count the fact that we knew he was alive by the very last page of the book, then okay, he came back. But never once did we talk to him. Never once did we see him. In the entire book. The reason why I loved the first book so much was because I loved the relationship between Eve and Caleb. I hardly got to see Caleb in the second book and I never got to see him in the last book. As the dedicated reader I am, I deserved to be with Caleb more. This just wasn’t fair. I know that he’s alive and that him and Eve are going to live happily ever after together, hopefully, but I already knew that was going to happen from what I learnt in the second book. When I found out that Caleb was “dead”, I knew he wasn’t going to be. That was really obvious. No one would believe that even for one second. SoI knew he had to come back at some point. But I just didn’t think it would take this long. I’ll admit, when I had come down to the last three pages of this book, I had my doubts. I was thinking: If they don’t bring back Caleb soon, the book is going to end. I couldn’t even fathom the idea of Caleb not coming back at all. If that happened, I would have to add this series to the list of series where the main/second-main character dies and doesn’t come back. That would be very disappointing. I’m just really disappointed with this book. I wish the ending could have been different… and I wish the middle could have been different… and I wish it were more emotional… Can Anna Carey please just rewrite this book and have the ending this series deserves? Please? I’m sorry, but us readers deserve better as well.
I didn’t feel anything for the characters in this book. I felt like they weren’t really different from each other or really unique. Yes, Eve was stronger and more determined in this book than she was in the first book, but that doesn’t mean I felt more connected to her. But I don’t think it’s the characters fault. I think the writing really let down this book. In the first book, I was crying from the first chapter because of how well everything was written. In this book, I felt so disconnected from all the characters because of how this book was written. The first book had a huge emotional impact on me, the second had a bit of impact on me… this one had absolutely no emotional impact on me, except for how furious I am about the ending. By the end of the book, I really couldn’t care less what happened to Eve. I kind-of wanted her to be happy after following her for three books, but then again, I thought it might bring some action to the book if she died. And then the book would finally end and put me out of my misery and anger. So, it would have been a win-win situation.
Just because I didn’t like this book, it doesn’t mean that it destroys the rest of the series. I absolutely loved reading the first book. The second book was pretty good, however I don’t think the third book was worth reading. If you have read Once and are considering reading Rise, I wouldn’t recommend it. This book could have been condensed down to about ten pages. Better still, this series could have just been two books and I would have been happy as long as the end of the second book was changed so that Caleb came back. I didn’t like reading Rise by Anna Carey and I’d give it a score of 3.5 out of 10. I just wish this series could have had the ending it deserved.

Once – book review

Once by Anna Carey

Once is the lovely second book in the Eve series, written by Anna Carey.

Finally, Eve can sleep at night knowing she’s safe and away from the frightening things that happen in The New America. But being in Califia comes at a cost. Eve had to abandon Caleb and now she finds out that he’s in trouble. Eve ventures into the wild to find him, but is captured by soldiers and brought to the City of Sand where the King is waiting for her.

Inside the city walls, a shocking truth is revealed to Eve about who she really is and why she is here.  When she discovers Caleb is alive, Eve will do anything to see him and they can escape together. But if they are caught, the consequences would be deadly. Will Eve sacrifice Caleb to ensure the safety of them both, or will she risk everything to be with him?

I enjoyed reading this book. The book starts off pretty much where the previous book ended, making the transition from book one to book two very smooth. After ending the first book on such a cliff-hanger, I’ve been wanting to read this book for ages and I’ve finally got around to it. Again, I was immersed in Anna Carey’s beautiful writing. I love the way she weaves images into my mind and how everything is really clear. Another thing I loved about this book was the world building. Anna Carey explained what the City of Sand looked like and it made me feel like I was walking the streets beside Eve. The only thing I don’t understand is why there aren’t any skyscrapers left in the City of Sand and why they have to rebuild everything. Did the plague kill buildings too? Did the skyscrapers just fall over one day? Seriously, what happened? I understood the general idea of the plague killing heaps of people, but I would have liked a little more back-story about how the plague affected the City and why they must rebuild.
There were lots of new characters introduced in this book. I was upset that Eve never saw the boys she met in the wind in the first book. I loved those characters and I didn’t feel as close with the new characters that were introduced. I didn’t really know whether I liked Charles or not. He’s kind and nice… but he’s just not Caleb. This has nothing to do with the book, but I kept wishing someone would call Charles ‘Charlie’ to see what his reaction would be. Charles just seemed so formal all the time and there wasn’t really anything unique about him. I missed Caleb so much and I felt like I hardly got to see him in this book. Eve only saw him a few times for a short time. I didn’t feel as though the time they had together was enough. I know they couldn’t have been together the whole time, but I feel like Eve and Caleb have become different people to what they were in the first book. Eve is willing to do anything to get what she wants, but she also seemed to spend a lot of time feeling sorry for herself. Feeling a bit sorry for yourself is okay, but I hate it when all characters can do is think about all the things they’ve lost and how terrible their life is. The thing that bothered me about Caleb was that he was so happy when he saw Eve that he suddenly didn’t care about anything else, including getting caught. It was frustrating how he thought he’d never get caught and the whole time I was sitting on the edge of my seat, hoping all the soldiers would miraculously turn the other way when he walked past. It was scary how close they came to getting caught and how careless they could be. I liked most of the minor characters and I felt really connected with Beatrice especially.
The plot in this book wasn’t as spectacular as the first book, however I was still very interested to find out what was going to happen. There were twists in the plot that I never expected and I was pleasantly surprised when something I never expected to happen jumped out at me. The book ended on another massive cliff-hanger and I will definitely be reading the next book to find out what happens. I didn’t think this book was as good as the first on in the series, but I still really liked it. I enjoyed reading Once by Anna Carey and I’d give it a score of 7.5 out of 10. Once wasn’t as good as Eve, so if you’re planning on reading Once, don’t get your hopes up too high, that way you won’t be disappointed if this book falls short of your standards.

Eve – book review

Eve by Anna Carey

Alluring, enthralling and beautifully written… Eve is the stunning first book in its series, written by Anna Carey.

The year is 2032. The world is struggling to rebuild after a deadly plague wiped out almost all of the population. After seeing her loved ones die of the plague, Eve is taken into the care of an all-girls school. The School protects its students from the dangers and chaos of the world outside its fences. But on the night before Eve’s graduation, she begins to wonder what life is like for the graduates. No one from the School has ever seen a graduate. Eve starts to think that the graduates aren’t pursuing their dreams like all the teachers say… What Eve finds shocks her to the core.

Horrified by what she has found, Eve escapes the School and starts searching for a place called Califia: a place where she can be truly safe. But having lived inside the confines of the School for so long, Eve doesn’t know how to survive in the wild. The teachers in the School tell students of the savage men in the wild who should be feared and avoided at all costs. When Caleb, a rough, rebellious boy saves Eve, she begins to think maybe everything the teachers told her was a lie. Caleb tells her she can trust him, but can she really? Slowly, Caleb begins to win Eve’s trust… and her heart. But soldiers are closing in on Eve and she must make a choice: to choose between love and her life.

I loved reading Eve. The first thing that drew me in about this book was its cover. It made me hope this book would be just as beautiful as the cover, and I wasn’t disappointed. The thing I loved most about this book was how well written it was. Every sentence seemed to flow smoothly and every word is used to its advantage. This book had a lot of emotional impact on me. The way most of the paragraphs were written was so beautiful that it brought tears to my eyes.
For the most part, the characters were just as beautiful. Eve, although she didn’t stand out to me as being really smart or brave, was a good character. Although she has her faults and makes mistakes, I really liked that because it shows she human. She’d learn from those mistakes and carry on the best she could. She was determined and I loved how she’d never give in. The only thing that wasn’t as good about Eve was her transition from being the straight-A student to falling in love with a guy from the wild. Eve has been taught to fear men practically her whole life and those lessons don’t just disappear in a week or two. Although she was very hesitant to trust Caleb in the beginning, I felt like she was a bit too quick to realise she loved him. Caleb was a very likable character who I loved spending time with. He was sweet and caring most of the time and although he too had his flaws, he was a genuinely good person. However, my favourite character from the book was definitely Arden. Arden went to School with Eve, but they weren’t at all friends. Arden escaped from the School as well and was living in the wild when she again met Eve. These two girls are incredibly different in the beginning, but throughout the novel they find out that they’re more alike then they could have imagined. I loved seeing them become closer right through the book.
This book was a stunning book about love, loss and moving onwards to live your life. I loved the storyline of this book and it was a really powerful read. I never was a boring moment and I found myself devouring this book and craving more. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series and I hope it’s just as wonderful as this book was. I loved reading Eve by Anna Carey and I’d give it a score of 8.5 out of 10. I highly recommend reading this book!