Title: The Jewel
Author: Amy Ewing
Pub. Date: September 2, 2014
Genre: Young Adult
Rec. Age Level: 14+
More by this author: n/a
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Violet Lasting has spent her entire life preparing to be a surrogate for the royalty of the Jewel. In the Jewel, the royalty holds the wealth and the power, but they have an undeniable weakness: they cannot reproduce. To maintain power, the royalty must rely on low-born girls as surrogates. Violet is stripped of her name and sold to the highest bidder, the Duchess of Lake, a cruel woman with grand ambitions. The child that Violet will carry is her chance to gain entrance to the highest echelons of the Jewel and nothing will stand in her way. Violet has entered a world of cruelty, dangerous alliances, and greed, a world where she - and her body - are perhaps the most powerful of all.
I'm a huge fan of Amy Ewing's debut, The Jewel. I'll admit that I wasn't a huge fan of the romantic plot line, but I was thoroughly impressed by the rest.
As I'm sure you'll read in other reviews, the romance in this novel felt quite slapdash and rushed. It seems like the romance is supposed to be a big reason for Violet's actions, but this motivation fell flat because the romance didn't seem genuine. That said, a bit of suspension of disbelief and it served its purpose well. I'm really hoping that a different love interest will be introduced in the next novel and that the first romance will be written off as one of those silly first-loves in which Violet is realizes that 'real' love is made of more substance. Plus, Violet is way too strong for the guy she's paired with.
One of my favorite aspects of this novel was that it's set in a female-dominated society. Of course, this doesn't mean that things are all sunshine and rainbows for women in The Jewel - quite the opposite actually - but it does mean that there's a really interesting dynamic created. Instead of powerful men forcing weak, poor women to produce royal heirs, it's powerful women. And, though these royal women, at first glance, hold the power, the 'weak' women are powerful in their own right. There are many psychological games being played in this first installment and I can't wait to see how they'll unfold in the sequel.
Given the weak romance, this book is definitely going to get mixed reviews, but don't let that stop you from reading it. Read it for everything else it has going for it - it's way more interesting than a silly romance!