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!

The Elite – book review

The-Elite-Book

The Elite is the stunning second book in The Selection series by Kiera Cass. Prepare yourself for this breathtaking read…

Once there were 35 girls in the palace competing in The Selection. Now, only six remain. But only one girl may marry Prince Maxon and be named princess of Illea.

America still is unsure of where her heart lies. When she’s with Maxon, she can’t imagine being with anyone else. He’s sweet, romantic and the perfect prince. Yet when she sees Aspen around the palace, she remembers their past together and what could become of their future.

But time is running out for America to decide. The competition is becoming fiercer and the other girls are more competitive than ever to win over Maxon’s heart and get the crown. When the time comes to choose, where will America’s love truly lie?

Just as America is sure she’s chosen who she wants to be with, she is faced with a devastating loss that causes her to reconsider. While she’s trying to picture her future, the rebels strike the palace again, causing the whole place to turn upside down. The rebels are determined to overthrow the monarchy, ruining every chance of a happy ending…

I really enjoyed The Elite. I really felt America’s pain and sorrows, as well as her longing and happiness. Kiera Cass connected me with the America and I felt so much compassion towards her. But I got a bit annoyed because one minute, she was completely in love with Maxon… the next, she can’t stand him and the palace and wants to go home. I know that she’s torn between him and Aspen, but I just wanted her to choose one man and be happy. As for all the other characters, I either loved them or I hated them. Although I hated Celeste, she made the story-line really interesting, but I also just constantly wanted someone to kick her out. She always acted like she owned the place and the spotlight was always on her. In that way, I felt sorry for the other girls because of how terrible Celeste was being. I can’t wait for the next book in the series. I really hope America ends up with Maxon… I’m Team Maxon all the way! But I wonder what will happen to Aspen if America ends up with Maxon? Who will Maxon be with is America runs off with Aspen? Or will she fall in love with a new man completely? I have to know what happens next and I will definitely be reading the next book! I loved The Elite by Kiera Cass and I’d give it a score of 8.5 out of 10.

The Selection – book review

the-selection-book

The Selection is the lovely first book in its series, written by Kiera Cass.

After countless world wars, a new kingdom has arisen called Illea, where society is divided into castes. Each caste has a particular role in society. The highest caste, a One, contains the royals. The lowers caste, an Eight, is comprised of the poorest people who have no means of work.

America Singer is a Five. Her life is changed forever when she receives a letter in the mail from the Prince of Illea. Prince Maxon will be following in his father’s footsteps and holding The Selection, a competition for the prince and to be crowned princess. But America has no interest in this competition: her heart lies with her secret boyfriend, Aspen, a Six.

America is pressured by her mother and Aspen to sign up for The Selection. Hundreds of girls from Illea trying to get into the competition, so America thinks her chances of being one of the few chosen are slim. After much deliberation, America applies…

And gets chosen…

Thrown into a palace full of 34 competitive girls, desperate for either Maxon’s love or for the crown, America has never felt more alone. Life in the palace where she is considered a royal is much different to being a Five. America is used to struggling to earn money to survive and besides, she doesn’t even like Maxon, let alone love him. As America begins to make friends, as well as enemies, her unique personality catches the eyes of both the royals and the country. But when America finally meets Prince Maxon, everything changes…

Could America really fall in love with someone who is so different to her? When she gets to know him, is her really that different? When the time comes to choose, will America decide to become a princess, or marry Aspen, a Six?

I found myself really enjoying this book. America was a fascinating character. First of all, I admired how she was sneaking out to see Aspen, even though it was forbidden, because she loved him and wanted to help him. I thought that was really sweet. She was also very independent and kind of stubborn, which I liked about her. I found America a very capable, strong character that I was interested to follow. She initially just stuck in the competition to help give money to her family and I really admire her for doing that. I also really liked both Aspen and Maxon. They were vividly different, but both similar in the way that they cared so much about America and her safety and happiness. Maxon was just so caring for the entire book and always comforted America when she was feeling lonely or confused. I found this book a really fun, enjoyable read that kept me interested and entwined in America’s life. I will definitely be reading the next book in the series! I loved The Selection by Kiera Cass and I’d give it a score of 8.5 out of 10.