Wednesday, 27 August 2014

The Jewel by Amy Ewing: Review

The Jewel (The Lone City, #1)Title: The Jewel
Author: Amy Ewing
Publisher: HarperTeen
Buy This Book: Amazon / Book Depository

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. (Goodreads summary.)


Cover verdict.
The cover for The Jewel is a large part of the reason I was so drawn to it, the cover is gorgeous. Then I read the blurb and it peaks my interest and I knew I just had to read this book. Unfortunately, the inside didn't turn out to be anywhere near as amazing as the cover. I think The Jewel is the perfect example of a book that has such wonderful potential, but it's just not executed well. It left me feeling really disappointed and upset, this is a book that really could have been something great.

It started off so well...
The story started off really strong for me, I was drawn in by the world and could not stop reading. I was fascinated by the idea of the Lone City, that's essentially an island surrounded by nothing but sea. The sea would have destroyed it years ago, if not for the wall that has been built to protect it. The City is divided into 5 circles, each inside it's own wall - the Marsh, the Farm, the Smoke, the Bank and the Jewel. The Jewel is where the royalty live, unable to bear their own children they require surrogates. The whole idea of the surrogates was interesting, it's something I have seen before in other dystopians, quite a lot in fact, but this did put it's own twist on things. The surrogates are all able to perform three Auguries, it's basically three magical abilities that allow them to affect shape, colour and growth. The better they are at these, the more popular and sought after they are at the auction. Basically, there was a lot going on and I was intrigued, hooked and excited to find answers to a ton of questions that I already had.



I absolutely loved this book in the beginning. I was so excited by the world and the Auguries, the surrogates and the Jewel itself. The start leaves you with so many questions and I couldn't wait to read on to find out some answers. As the story progresses I began to see a lot of elements that reminded me a lot of other dystopians I had read. With so many out, and having read so many myself, it is really hard for a dystopian to stand out and feel truly unique. This just had a few too many things that seemed too similar to other dystopians. I was enjoying getting know Violet, but her character is one that's a bit too naive at times.


... then it all just goes down hill.
This book started to go down hill for me after the Auction, once Violet is purchased and finally taken to her Duchess's palace. This is where more and more ideas are introduced, but we're not really given a lot of answers. I started to become very confused and I wish this book had given some more explanations. The royalty can't have their own children, but we don't really know why. Certain girls have the ability to perform Auguries, that just happen to be ridiculously useful in making the best children... but we don't know why. I kept reading on, I was expecting to get some answers to these questions and was disappointed when that never happened. The fast pace from the beginning also seems to disappear and I started to get a little bored of the story.

Instalove, why?!?
What really kills the book for me, and I am sure it will be the same for many others, was the introduction of a romance that is the very definition of instalove. This book, up until the 50% mark, didn't even have a love interest. That worked really well, it's was a nice change to see a story not become all about a romance between two characters. But then a love interest suddenly appears and it feels like they are trying to make up for the fact their hasn't been a romance up until that point. It's time for some serious eye-rolling as Violet is suddenly consumed by thoughts of Ash, who she finds unbelievably attractive and who gets her. They know each other all of three weeks before they're declaring their  love for one another, after probably four meetings. I could not handle it. The romance is suddenly the whole story and I wasn't buying it, these two barely even know each other. They even use horribly clich├ęd lines like I see you or talk about how they were broken before they met each other.

And then as if it hadn't been bad enough, the book ends on the worlds most infuriating cliff hanger. It just ends. It feels as though it cuts off right in the middle of a sentence, it's that irritating. It's annoyed me because it kind of works to make me want to pick up the next book and see what the hells going on. But, luckily for me, that won't be out for ages and I didn't enjoy this book enough to continue the series. I might check out reviews for the sequels, just to see if you ever found out anything useful. But for me this is one series I know I am not going to be committing too.


2.5/5 Butterflies

The Jewel had such great potential, it could honestly have been the next big dystopian. It was interesting and intriguing in the beginning, very easy to get into and I struggled to put the book down. The book takes a sudden turn at the 50% mark when a love interest is suddenly introduced. The characters barely interact or talk, but suddenly they are declaring their love for one another. That took a rather enjoyable read and brought it down so far that it was hard for the book to redeem itself. The ending was abrupt and the cliffhanger is good, it does make me want to know what happens next. But, unfortunately, this is a series that I can't see myself ever continuing. The characters need a lot of work, the romance is awful and your left with a million more questions and little to no answers. 





*I received a copy of this novel from the author/publisher/publicist via Netgalley in exchange for a free and honest review and received no monetary compensation for this review.

30 comments:

  1. I hate when books don't live up to their potential; just feel so bad for them, you know? I've heard pretty much the same feedback circulating for this book, as in it begins with a bang and looses momentum midway. Such a shame because that damn cover is mighty fine! Well I hope your next read is better!

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    1. I know, I hate when books end up disappointing me. This one definitely loses momentum halfway, which is a real shame because it seemed like it was going to be brilliant up until that point.

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  2. NOOOO! I was really looking forward to this one. I'll still be reading it but I might try and lower my expectations a bit, especially seeing as you're the second person I've seen who loved the first half.

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    1. The first half was brilliant, it was a shame it all went down hill after that.

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  3. Oh I read similar thoughts on this one the other day. Such a shame when it seemed to have a lot of potential for being an interesting read. :/

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    1. It had great potential, just all goes wrong at the halfway point!

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  4. Oh no, insta-love is such a good way to kill a story! This will be a definite no-read for me - thanks for the heads up!

    Mands @ The Bookish Manicurist

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    1. It killed it, then resurrected it just so it could kill it over again.

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  5. I've seen a few reviews like this and to be fair, that doesn't surprise me at all, it's got too pretty a cover for me to surprised. I won't be considering this one, even though I wasn't really anyway, so yes, I'm sorry you didn't enjoy this book, but better luck with the next, right? :)

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    1. I know, pretty covers can be so deceiving. At least The Winner's Curse didn't disappoint, that's my favourite cover of the year.

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  6. I am sorry it was so disappointing, and the fact there was insta-love, I cant stand it. I will try to read this but my excitement has dimmed..

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    1. I HATE insta-love! It just completely ruined this whole book for me, I was not a fan.

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  7. Excellent, you totally just sealed the deal between me and this book. I've been totally hesitant since it was first revealed and compared to The Selection( I HATE those books). Yes, the cover is absolutely gorgeous and probably will still end up on my shelf because I'm shallow like that. Anyways, your review just pointed out a bunch of reasons why I will not get along with this book. It seems like Violet is way to immature as well. You're right, the surrogate trope has been done a lot but there are some excellent books that take their own twist(Birthmarked is my favourite), to bad this one had to fall into every YA trap. Blah!
    Thanks for the review!
    Happy reading!
    Brittany @ This is the Story of My(Reading) Life

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    1. Violet is a very immature character, she doesn't act her age at all. The instalove was just too much for me and definitely ruined the book for me. I have been tempted to try Birthmarked, so maybe it's time I gave that one a go.

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  8. I have seen so many people say the same things about this and it really makes me sad. I was so hoping this would be more than just a pretty cover.
    Wonderful honest review!

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    1. I know, me too. I hate when the pretty covers are so deceiving.

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  9. I decided to pass on reading this - just too many bad reviews when I have loads of other books I want to read. The romance sounds incredibly cheesy, and pair that with an awful cliffhanger - no thanks. I'll see how people feel about the sequel first before I commit to this series.

    Thanks for your review!

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    1. The romance is so cheesy, it was just too much for me. The cliffhanger bugged me too, mainly because it made me want to read on, Definitely won't be continuing the series though, it's just not worth it.

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  10. A shame. It's such a let down when a book turns out to be all ribbons and bows and no present inside...

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    1. Yup, definitely no present hidden inside of there.

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  11. Awwww no.... Insta-love?? It's the bane of my bookish existence. WHY?? You've got 300ish pages, put them to use and develop a good romance!!!!!! Thanks for the honest and awesome review, Charnell :)

    Rachel @ A Perfection Called Books

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    1. It really is. Not quite sure why authors love it so much.

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  12. Dang, I thought this one was going to be good. Now I'm not so sure. It does sound interesting, but I understand the feeling of how a book could be so much more. Thanks for the review!

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    1. It could have been so much better, which is what upsets me the most.

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  13. The insta-love was rough, I agree. I still really loved the plot, so I did really love the book, BUT it would have been even better if the "romance" was handled better. I will be reading the next book (because yes, holy cliffhanger!) and I am really hoping that the romantic aspect will be improved upon. Great review!

    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight

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    1. I think the second half just wasn't anywhere near as good as the first half. The romance just didn't work for me, I don't see myself feeling differently about it if I read another book.

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  14. Insta-love and a cliffhanger and mediocre world-building…sounds like a pass for me. Cliffhangers are turning into my new pet peeve, I'm so sick of them. I do think it's tough for authors to avoid info-dumping in books like this sometimes, but they need to figure out how to explain basic things that readers want/need to know. Thanks for the honest review! ~Pam

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    1. Cliffhangers, I am beginning to hate them as much as insta-love. It's effective in making you want to get the next book, butt it's completely infuriating.

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  15. I agree! The beginning of the book wasn't that bad. I was swept away by the easy writing-style, but the romance threw all the potential out of the window. *headdesk*

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    1. Agreed! That romance was awful, so much insta-love and I could not handle it. Ruined the book for me.

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