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.
The best way that I can describe this book is “the female contestants in the Hunger Games go live with the females in the Capital and are forced to have their babies.” I actually think that’s a pretty accurate statement when reflecting upon this book. The concept of the book sounded really cool, but I felt that it wasn’t edited or executed strongly enough to push out a powerful read. If anything, I was left a little disturbed and uncomfortable – not to mention confused – for most of the book.
Throughout most of the entire book, I just felt a wave of confusion. I didn’t understand why the royalty couldn’t have their own children and were sterilized; I didn’t understand the Auguries that the surrogates had; I didn’t understand why these surrogates were even important since other people without the Auguries were able to have children. I mean….did it have to do with the powers? Because I didn’t feel that every royal woman was after using their powers. I also didn’t understand why the surrogates were treated so badly when they were carrying the babies for the royal women. So there were a lot of gaps and holes in this book that needed to be refined and edited a little more. I feel that this could have been an amazing book, but it didn’t quite hit that level for me.
Besides my confusing throughout the entire book, I was also really offended over the treatment of the surrogates. It was difficult for me because it wasn’t like there was sexism going on. This book didn’t feature a male dominant world. Instead, it featured a royal female dominant world. The royal females were the ones who treated the surrogates so horribly, and it really messed with my brain to realize that these females were treating other females so harshly. There were several scenes that I was unable to finish because of how uncomfortable they made me. For example, I was unable to read the scenes where Violet goes to see the doctor or when the Duchess was being overly harsh with her. This isn’t something that’s going to bother everyone, but I had a huge problem reading about such an abusive world.
The romance in this book was way too rushed for my taste. All I know is that Ash and Violet were introduced and the next thing I knew they were in love and kidding and doing it. I mean…where did that come from? They met once and then were all over each other? It was also really weird because Ash isn’t even introduced until halfway through the book. So there were 100+ pages of just Violet and then BAM! There’s Ash and insta-lovely-romance ensues. Due to that rushness there wasn’t a lot of chemistry between Ash and Violet. I mean, sure, Ash seemed pretty hot to me, but I didn’t overly care about them as a couple.
Another problem with this book was that it was very repetitive. I felt that at least three scenes happened 2-3 times each. I mean, seriously? SERIOUSLY? That’s not very original. Towards the end I started skimming a little bit because I had already read all that in earlier chapters.
The ending was both predictable and unpredictable. I pretty much expected one thing to happen from the very beginning of the book. The second thing shocked me a little bit, but I wasn’t overly shocked either. I think that the final thing that happens in this book was a great cliff hanger and sets it up nicely for the second book, but I wasn’t wow’d or anything. I was just kind of like “eh.”
Overall, I would probably recommend this book to huge dystopia lovers with a caution that it’s kind of mediocre.
Publication Date: 9/2/14
Publisher: Harper Teen
Rating: [rating: 1.5]