Wednesday, 15 October 2014

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

The Jewel (The Lone City, #1)The Jewel

Author: Amy Ewing
Series: The Lone City
Pages: 358
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release date: 2nd September 2014

Synopsis: (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.

Review: 2 out of 5 stars

I first became interested in The Jewel when I glimpsed the beautiful cover but unfortunately by the ending I was left underwhelmed despite the initial promise.

The premise I found to be quite unique if not a little (ok a lot) disturbing; girls from the Marsh are auctioned off to infertile Royalty from the Jewel to become their surrogates, becoming a surrogate is determined by your genetics and skillset; they are more or less slaves except for the fact they are spoilt with beautiful gowns, balls and a new lifestyle.

Our main protagonist is Violet Lasting who is number 197 and eventually gets sold to the Duchess of the Lake; I liked Violet but she wasn’t a character who had that sheer determination and strength I like to see, she willingly went along with everything and was a bit lacklustre for me; I would have loved to have seen a little more defiance and a gun ho attitude but it wasn’t to be. We are repeatedly told how amazing she is with her magic, looks and playing the cello but I couldn’t see it.

The world-building wasn’t as thorough as I would have liked with a book such as this, we learn about the different circles/rings – the Marsh, the Farm, the Smoke, the Bank and the Jewel; the Jewel of course being the most elite and the Marsh being the poorest. Everything came across to me as quite basic and I was left with many unanswered questions, a lot of the book was spent learning about the different castes within society which unfortunately for me did become tiresome.

The romance was a big letdown, I thought it was unrealistic with a severe case of insta-love but also forbidden which is usually my favourite but this one just irked me on so many levels. There were no slow to build moments it was insta-love, lust and attraction at its worst and really bought the whole book down an extra notch for me.

I found the writing to be simplistic, the characters under-developed and bland and the plot unfortunately weak, this one was just a mediocre dystopian for me.

I really wanted to love this book and it has certainly received some praise so maybe it was my reading mood that made my reading experience a little less enjoyable.

Overall, shaky world-building, a romance that wasn’t believable (and actually had me cringing), many stereotypes and clich├ęs and an MC that did wow me, this book unfortunately wasn’t for me but please check out the reviews on Goodreads for others thoughts.

Thank you to HarperTeen via Edelweiss for the opportunity to read and review The Jewel.

Amy EwingAbout the author: Amy Ewing is the young adult author of The Jewel, the first in a trilogy from HarperTeen, coming out September 2014.

She 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 noooo, another beautiful cover with a disappointing center. The concept intrigues me, but it sounds like things just fell apart. I am not sure I could overcome these isues.

    1. The concept is wonderful but the issues were too many for me to enjoy it overall.

  2. What a bummer, I've seen so many reviews that are similar to yours. I was thinking of maybe trying the audio? What is with the instalove? Don't authors and publishers get it that 99% of readers hate it? I still love this cover though :)

    1. I know! I am completely over inst-love relationships that have no substance or build-up, they aren't for me. Hmm, I'm not sure I would like it any better on audio ;-)


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