The Jewel: A Book Review

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

The Jewel

By Amy Ewing

Have you ever spent time on Goodreads?  Yes it is another social media site, but this one is for books!  Of course you could guess I love Goodreads.  One of my biggest reasons to spend time on the site is that they actually give good recommendations on books to read.  I pick the genre I'm interested in at any given time; it looks at the books in that genre I've read; and gives suggestions.  Yeah yeah, I hear you, even Amazon gives recommendations.  Somehow Goodreads does a better job of recommending books that I actually enjoy.

While I have a stack of books to read and review, I wanted a quick read.  So I went on search for a new quick read.  And Goodreads suggested The Jewel.  There was a gorgeous cover and it was available on my library app.  So away I went...




The Jewel by Amy Ewing a Book Review  on Reading List   http://bit.ly/1JZjUyO





Story Overview 

The Jewel ,** book one in The Lone City series by Amy Ewing, takes the reader into a small world where royalty controls the society, while depending on the lowest level of society to provide girls to carry their royal offspring.  Yes, young girls in the poorest sections of society get tested when they come of  age (when menstruation begins) to see if they have compatible genes to carry the unborn children of the royal and upper class women.  These girls are whisked away from their families and sent to a special school that teaches them how to behave as a proper surrogate for a future royal house.  The royals see these surrogates as barely more than pets that will provide offspring, nothing more than a living incubator.

Violet Lasting and Raven Stirling are best friends while in training as Auguaries. The Reckoning and the Auction is upon them when they will find themselves bought by royal families and forced to carry a child.  They will be stripped of their freedom and their identity, given a number and separated from each other.  Neither of them knows exactly what is in store, but they are sure it will not be pleasant.  They have a feeling it will be horrible and painful.  Even in their wildest expectations they could not have pictured the reality of the world they are being thrown into. 


Personal Likes

I was surprised at how fast this book pulled me into the crazy world that is run by those in The Jewel, the upper crest of this dystopian world. Even while the Jewel is dripping with riches, there is a dark tone the permeates the story.  This story is told through Violet Lasting, or rather Lot #197, as she prepares for the auction and what follows.  I loved her voice. I could quickly feel her fear and was hoping what lied ahead of her would not be as bad as she thought.

The aspect of slavery is explored on so many levels in this book.  Violet, 197, is bought by the Duchess of the Lake, who is part of the founding houses of the society.  Surprisingly enough, the Duchess is actually one of the nicer women in society when it comes to their surrogates.  And still Violet is treated like a pet - dressed up, dolled up, led by a leash at social events, told when and how much to eat.  While this was uncomfortable to read, it allows the reader into a world that many in first world countries never understand, and yet there are so many in slavery even today.


The Jewel  By Amy Ewing   A Book Review on Reading List


Personal Dislikes

My biggest dislike of this book was reading about the unbelievable amount of oppression.  It is so hard to read, and yet, as I mentioned, I feel that it is important to read books that allow us to experience aspects of humanity we might never understand otherwise.

Another issue I had with this book revolved around Violet's love interest, Ash.  He was employed by the Duchess as a consort for her niece. He was supposed to help train her in the practice of being courted in order to attract a husband who would keep her in high society.  His job was not supposed to cross the line of physical intimacy, yet he had some experiences in order to keep his employer (the Lady of the house) happy.  So there are a few scenes where he shares some of his work with Violet that are a little much.  Violet starts to feel the need to show her interest in Ash more and more physically, which eventually leads to the startling ending.

Reasons to Read

This book is worth reading for those who are into dystopian and science fiction. Since the book deals with ownership and essentially slavery, this could be a good book to allow readers to see the devastation that happens to people when they are bought and sold for any reason.  The ability to see the story through the eyes of a young girl who loses her freedom completely opens the eyes and heart of the reader.

Since the book is part of a series, there will be time for Amy Ewing to develop the characters and world even more, so for readers who enjoy detailed fictional worlds and complex story lines this could be a good choice.


Reading List Rating

Four heart rating on Reading List

I'm giving this first book a four heart rating because I really did enjoy this book.  I understand that there will be some that are not as into this book as the subject matter could easily turn readers away. However, I enjoyed it and look forward to the rest of the series to come out. 






My Suggested Audience

This book is a teen book, and I agree this is certainly a teenage book. There are some very mature subject matters that fill these pages - the issues of societies built on the back of servants and slaves, the idea of medically impregnating women against their will (very similar to rape) and abuse. As I mentioned earlier, the ability for readers to experience the extremes that human behavior can lead to in books helps develop empathy towards those that need help, so for that reason, I do think this could be a good read for teens. However, parents should be aware of the subject matter in this book in order to discuss the issues with their teens.  That all being said, maybe hold off on this particular series until your teen is closer to 16 rather than 13.

For those older audiences, if you were a fan of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, this book could interest you.  Of course for those fans of The Selection Series, or Delirium even, this book could be a fun read as well. 



“This is how The Jewel operates. Status is our sole occupation. Gossip is our currency.”  #TheJewel @AmyEwingBooks @Reading_List1




Have you used Goodreads to find your next read? If you enjoyed the classics, do you use those titles to help you find modern retellings ever? 

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Marissa @ Reading List






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