Series: The Lone City #1
on 4th September 2014
"Today is my last day as Violet Lasting. Tomorrow I become Lot 197."
The Jewel is a shocking and compelling new YA series from debut author, Amy Ewing.
Sold for six million diamantes, Violet is now Surrogate of the House of the Lake in the centre of the Lone City, the Jewel. Her sole purpose is to produce a healthy heir for the Duchess – a woman Violet fears and despises.
Violet is trapped in a living death, her name and body no longer her own. She fights to hold on to her own identity and sanity, uncertain of the fate of her friends, isolated and at the mercy of the Duchess.
The Handmaid's Tale meets The Other Boleyn Girl in a world where beauty and brutality collide.
Violet Lasting has spent the last four years waiting for this day. The day when she is auctioned off as a surrogate. Trapped in a society where the upper circles are infertile, girls are taken from their families and trained up as the perfect vessels to carry the wealthy’s next generation into the world. On the day of the Auction, Violet has to trade in her identity and become Lot 197 – the third most desired surrogate in the Auction. When Violet is bought by The Duchess of the Lake, she has no choice but to follow the orders of her new mistress. But Violet finds her new life as a surrogate is more dangerous than she ever imagined and royal politics to be complicated and deadly…
The Jewel is the first book in an exciting dystopian trilogy by debut author Amy Ewing. It’s an exciting read with a lot of action, glamour and deception. Violet is inquisitive and determined to not let the Upper Circles break her spirit. She gets treated as an object – and a disposable one at that. Despite her circumstances, she doesn’t let the Duchess of the Lake win. The more Violet discovers about her new situation, the more danger she finds herself in. And then she meets Ash – a gorgeous man who is completely off limits to her. He’s handsome and charming and everything Violet knows she can never have. Their lives have already been planned out for them by forces they can’t control and their forbidden romance is more dangerous than they can imagine.
One of the best things about this book is how matriarchal the society is. Whilst the men are sitting in their studies smoking cigars and balancing the books – their wives are manipulating, plotting and scheming just how the can outsmart each other. The backstabbing is rife and no one is safe from the Duchesses’ and Countesses’ ambitions. Okay, so maybe it doesn’t paint women in the best light but I liked how they were running the show. There is nothing they won’t do to get ahead and they use people as pawns. I loved how multifaceted Violet’s life is. On the surface she seems to have it all with gorgeous gowns, expensive gifts and a beautiful suite in the Duchess’ mansion. But when it gets down to it, she’s nothing more than a slave bought for her surrogate potential.
When it comes to the surrogacy theme in this books, I liked how it was handled. There was the potential to be overdone but Ewing explains perfectly why and how the surrogates are chosen and how vital their skills are. However one criticism I have of the story is how quickly and unchanging Violet’s impressions of people are. She is quick to loath, to mistrust but equally as fast to love and place her live in the hands of practical strangers. She decides on her allies and her enemies within seconds of meeting someone and it felt incredibly impulsive considering how dangerous her life is.
All in all – I’m excited about The Lone City trilogy and what the next books will bring. The Jewel is an interesting take on the value of women in society with a great dystopian edge.
Thanks to Walker Books Australia for the review copy.