Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Jewel by Amy Ewing

The Jewel by Amy Ewing
Available Now
Harper Teen
Hardback 358 pages
YA Dystopian
To Buy- Amazon/ Kindle/ Audio CD/ Audible/ BN/ Book Depository/ Indiebound/ Kobo

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.


So as I read The Jewel a while back, I couldn't help but think about all the other dystopians I've read with girls in pretty dresses in hopeless situations trying to escape the powers that be. I wasn't wowed by this one like I thought I would be. Okay, yes, I was drawn to the cover. I still am. But Violet, she just wasn't the kind of girl I'd choose as the leader of a rebellion. She does take risks, a good trait to have for a leader, but they are selfish and she doesn't think about the consequences to anyone else. Every time she did something risky, I didn't worry about her, as a surrogate, she seemed protected. But I worried about the person she was with and if they would get caught. Anyone that she communicated with in any way was at risk. I just never warmed up to her. She seemed to be a nice girl, but she really wasn't nice so much as indifferent. If she had really cared about her friends, others, she would have acted instead of settling into the idyllic and pampered life she had going on. She wouldn't have kept so many secrets. And it cost her. But it cost others more.

I don't like the world. Women seem to have the power, but not really. It's pettiness and jealousy and all about who has more and the best. It makes women appear to be exactly what we have always been portrayed to be concerned more about how we look, what we have in terms of jewels, gardens, potential children, clothing, mansions all those things mean power. But. at the end of the day, it's the men that have the power to make the rules. At least, the women have to have the man's name behind them in order to make the rules. So it's nothing really new. Female slavery, female treachery and conniving, it all leads to a very unflattering picture of women in general with men stepping back to allow the women like cats to fight it out for themselves. I don't know what the outcome will be, but with the events at the end of the book I was shaking my head, disappointed, but not surprised by the turn of events given Violet's selfishness.

The idea is certainly new to me and horrific, girls are taken at a young age and sequestered from their family to be raised so that they can hone their "gifts" and talents and then go to be auctioned off in a room full of women, known from then on as a number only. Everything is done to make them lose their identity so that they become property, lose their sense of self. What happens to them after they give birth to the precious children is unknown. Each girl is treated differently by the woman that purchases her. Some are pampered, some are treated little better than slaves and none of them are allowed to talk to each other despite having grown up together. The cruelty is endless. Death is not uncommon as the women are cutthroat about having the child that will marry the next ruler. The sooner the child is born, the better. Science and deviousness mix into horrifying experiments until Violet and probably many of the girls fight for their lives.

While this wasn't the story for me, I am sure many readers will be intrigued by the story line. Surrogacy and slavery, power and loss of identity and a rebellion in the making. The writing is good and the topic is interesting, give it a try if you find that it is something you want to tackle. Don't be fooled by the cover, though. Much like the dresses, the homes, the makeup and jewels that the women that purchase girls like Violet have, the book cover is just window dressing. It's not telling you what's inside. Read it for yourself.



  1. I'm going to take a pass on this one, Heather. The synopsis doesn't really grab me and it's kinda hard to distinguish it with all the others in that genre. Thanks for the honest review as always!

  2. That's the trouble with it in a nutshell for me. It just didn't distinguish itself from all the other dystopians. It was fine, but not great.

  3. Hm... it does sound like an over used trope. I'm not sure I like the world in this book and I have a few similar ones to choose from. Brilly review though!

    Btw, I'm interviewing a Hex boy. Thought you might like it. :)

    1. Already visited your review! I love those Hex boys reviews. Actually just love those Hex boys!!

  4. Woah, I had no idea that this world portrayed women in such a petty manner! I knew from the onset this wasn't for me but your review has really pushed me completely away from this novel so thanks for your honesty, Heather--such a helpful review!

  5. Yes, we women do not come out looking good in this one. Either down trodden or "mean girl" as adults but to a whole new level.

  6. I saw this one, too. The summary turned me off a bit, as well. It reminded me just a tad of Bumped by Megan McCafferty a bit. A bit to sectarian for me and something I've already read before.
    Great review, as always!
    Recipes coming soon! So busy here! Lot's to tell you :)


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