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.
Hey, guys! I’m back again to talk about Jewel, the first book in the Lone City trilogy. I was pumped when I received this series just a little while ago, I had honestly never even heard of it so I was eager to give it a try. I didn’t read any reviews or even the blurb and just dove right in sight-unseen, which I sometimes do with books that I haven’t heard much about. My rating is a little farther down just because I wanted to give my thoughts before my verdict, and here I’ll break it all down for you:
This story follows Violet as she is prepares to enter into the high class society of the Jewel as a surrogate who will bear a royal family the Best Baby Ever ™, in order to contend for the hand of the newly born prince. The Surrogate system is one that has been around for a very long time, and takes girls from all over the land who have the ability to control the Auguries. Basically, if they have good skill at controlling the three Auguries (color, shape, characteristics, etc.), they will be able to create the perfect baby. Surrogates have no control over whether or not they actually want to be a surrogate, and they get no choice in who purchases them, having no independence or rights within society. This series firmly sits in a Sci-Fi dystopian setting, which is not usually not my cup of tea but I was willing to try it out all the same!
The setting is interesting; regions are broken up kind of like in Hunger Games or the Selection, where there are a range of wealthy and poor regions where a select group of girls from the poorer areas will be trained and then sold into the highest bidder. The non-consensual pregnancy aspect made me super uncomfortable (it’s supposed to) and drove me to continue the story to see how Violet would plot and fight to get herself out if it. But before any rebellious action can really take place, she meets Ash the Love Interest and the focus kind of shifts from Violet preparing for her escape to her focusing on this boy that she just met but kinda really likes. I liked Violet’s character up until that point; she put on a brave face and was defiant, despite being scared, powerless, and separated from everything that she knew, and I really admired that. After she meets Ash her common sense goes out the window, and I honestly couldn’t figure out what the big hoopla was about him because I found him to be quite self-centered and condescending. For me, the bright shining star in this book was Lucien, who was kind, considerate, rebellious, and one of the only people that treated Violet like an actual human being, and I hated that I didn’t see ( or maybe didn’t stick around long enough to see) more of him.
My thoughts: 2/5 DNF
This is quite a bit different from what I usually read, so it was nice to try this out and expand my literary horizons a bit. I’ll own up to the fact that I’m not a huge dystopian fan; books like Divergent and The Hunger Games don’t really do it for me, which is why I want to put a disclaimer out there that this isn’t necessarily a bad book, it’s just not the book for me. Insta-love is one of my major pet peeves and this book really laid it on thick, with the love interest being introduced half-way through the book and the romance taking off really fast from there, and to me it made it hard to find a genuine connection between the two. With the Insta-love coupled with the genre, I just really couldn’t find my footing in this book and just never picked it back up.