The Jewel means wealth, the Jewel means beauty—but for Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Born and raised in the Marsh, Violet finds herself living in the Jewel as a servant at the estate of the Duchess of the Lake. Addressed only by her number—#197—Violet is quickly thrown into the royal way of life. But behind its opulent and glittering facade, the Jewel hides its cruel and brutal truth, filled with violence, manipulation, and death.
Violet must accept the ugly realities of her life . . . all while trying to stay alive. But before she can accept her fate, Violet meets a handsome boy who is also under the Duchess’s control, and a forbidden love erupts. But their illicit affair has consequences, which will cost them both more than they bargained for. And toeing the line between being calculating and rebellious, Violet must decide what, and who, she is willing to risk for her own freedom.1
I chose this book purely because of the cover. I never even read the above summary until now, and once again I am glad that I went in blindly as it adds so much more to the story.
The Jewel is full of beauty and the elite circles of the founding houses and other royalty. The surrounding areas are all working class and ignorant to the deception and danger within the Jewel just as the wealthy are ignorant to the struggles of the lower classes. One thing that the lower classes have that the Jewel does not are surrogates. The royalty are unable to bare their own children despite all attempts made by doctors and scientists. Instead young girls in the outer circles are tested at the age of puberty. Those girls who test positive for child baring are shipped off to facilities where they are taken care of and trained on their unique abilities that come with child baring. The unique abilities are called Auguries. The three Auguries are Color, Shape and Growth. After using their abilities the girls are often afflicted with nose bleeds, headaches or other pains. They are trained on these abilities but are really unaware as to why. Once the girls reach a certain age they are put into the auction where the royals bid on them to raise their child. Each auction holds 200 girls, each girl given a lot number. The closer to 200 the higher their test scores and the more desirable they are to the royals. Our main character, Violet, is lot 197, but she would give anything to be called by her real name. After being purchased by the Duchess of the Lake, Violet discovers the many secrets of the Jewel and some that will cost her her life.
The concept of the Jewel is pretty odd if you think about it. Young girls being bred to create the royal babies; impregnating them against their will and forcing them to create the next big thing; and strange powers that are rather mysterious to all while encapsulated in this brilliant shinning city of lies and secrets.
Naturally with The Jewel only being the first book in the series we have only scratched the surface. There are so many elements that we could dig into as well as the relationships and pasts of certain characters. Thankfully there are a few novellas that will delve more into the stories of some of the characters which are great extras for any series. The story could go many different ways from here and I’m interested to see how things play out.
The story was odd and at times rather predictable. Violet is a typical heroine for our story, saying she will do one thing, while completely doing something different all for the sake of the story. There were ways she could have done what she said she would do instead of hopping the fence back and forth while still maintaining the storyline, but I’m not the writer and I don’t have a book charting on any lists so I suppose Amy Ewing’s way works as well.
I love the cover and I’m looking forward to the rest of the series and especially some of the novella’s but I wouldn’t call this series a favourite of mine just yet. I’m going to let this baby gestate a bit longer.
- Book summary courtesy of Amy Ewing’s webpage.