Monday, July 6, 2015

Review: The Jewel (The Lone City #1) by Amy Ewing

Author: Amy Ewing
Series: The Lone City
Genre: YA, Dystopian/Fantasy, Romance
Release Date: September 2, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
My Rating: 2.5 Stars
Summary From Goodreads: 
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.

My Thoughts 

I heard a lot of mixed reviews about The Jewel when it first came out, but I finally decided to give it a try when I saw it at my local library. 

Plot: When I first started reading it, the whole surrogate aspect reminded me of the plot in a previous book I had read, yet I couldn't remember the title of it. Then when I went to rate it on Goodreads, I saw a review that mentioned it too. The plot is exactly like Eve by Anna Carey meets the setting of The Hunger Games (along with other dystopian books thrown in the midst). Even the characters resembled those in The Hunger Games. But we'll get to that later. 
Anyway, for the first half of the book nothing really happened. If I boil away all the fillers, this is essentially what happens:
Girl (aka Violet) gets taken from her home to be a surrogate. She then lives in a compound with other surrogates (just like in Eve) and gets tested for Auguries/powers. Of course she ends up being one of the strongest so she gets auctioned last to the highest bidder, who just so happens to be the Duchess of the Lake. The first half of the book is literally just her doing the Duchess' bidding before she finally finds out about some sort of political power play behind the Jewel that's all hush-hush and not explained at all.
Oh, and don't forget about the cliffhanger at the end. Correction, it was more a cliff than a hanger. It just felt like the book ended extremely abruptly, and I kind of felt cheated out that I read the entire book and nothing truly happened. The Duchess' political motifs were still hidden, and the condition of Raven and Violet was left unknown.

Romance: Half way through we're also finally introduced to Ash, the love interest of the story. I love a good romance in my novels, but this was complete instalove. The two meet on accident when Violet gets caught wandering the Palace without permission/her lady-in-waiting. After two conversations, give or take, Violet and Ash fall madly in love, kissing and all.

Characters: Talking about Ash, I almost forgot to mention that he's a companion. As in a person who keeps others company...err romantically. So when him and Violet are all love-dovey, he still has to do his job and make out with his latest companion. Yeah. What a charmer, right?
On the other hand, Violet's best friend Raven was a decent secondary character. Bold and loyal, you can't help but root for her against the Countress (or was she a Duchess? All of them were so hard to keep track of. Albeit, I might have skimmed over the parts where they were all together. Oops). 
Lucien, the make up artist/dresser guy/experimenter was almost a complete replica of Cinna from The Hunger Games. Everything from his personality and job to his actions. But I liked him though, because I loved Cinna!

In the end, The Jewel had multiple aspects that corresponded with other dystopian books and a slow plot line. However, the Auguries did make it more interesting along with the Duchess' hidden agenda (although we don't find out much about that). I wouldn't quite recommend this book, but if you don't mind instalove and enjoyed The Hunger Games, Eve, The Selection, and other similar books, then feel free to give it a try!
Amy Ewing
Amy Ewing grew up in a small town outside Boston, where her librarian mother instilled a deep love of reading at a young age. Amy moved to New York City in 2000 to study theater at New York University. Unfortunately, her acting career didn’t quite pan out. She worked in restaurants, as an administrative assistant, a nanny, and a sales representative for a wine distributor before the lack of creativity in her life drove her to begin writing.
Amy received her MFA in Creative Writing for Children from The New School, where she was lucky enough to meet a fabulous community of YA writers who keep her sane on a daily basis. She lives in Harlem, where she spends her days writing, eating cheese, and occasionally binge watching The Vampire Diaries.


  1. Oh wow. Your review was neat. Your rating is only 2.5 but it was justified. I want to read it soon but haven't gotten to buying it yet. Hopefully I'll try to read it this semestral break. :)

    Anyway, insta-love? How I hate those! I hope that when I read this, I won't feel irritated. Hehe. :P

    - Fiona of A Girl Between the Pages

    1. Thank you! I hope you like it more than I did! If I can bear through the instalove, I'm sure you can too. ^_^

  2. I am hoping that I like this. Instalove can go either way for me. Mostly I hate the stuff where the guy goes all swoonsville on the most undeserving girl in the universe, or vice versa. Nice balanced review.

    1. Understandable. Some cases are definitely more tolerable than others. I hope you end up enjoying this one! :)