Number one of my 365 days of YA Challenge, the chosen book for the month of January.
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.
I wasn’t all that excited about this book. The reviews I’d seen weren’t that great, and when I started it it just seemed like a mix of Wither and The Selection. However, the further into it I got, the more underlying parts were revealed – not that any were explained that much – and I became intrigued.
It’s basically a set up book, giving us just enough information to hook you and pull out a series. It was entertaining though, and besides the incorrect use of the word “nauseous” repeatedly, I found the writing pleasant enough with an easy flow.
Violet, the main character annoyed me for a while. Self proclaiming a distaste for the situation she and her friends were put in but not doing anything about it till the end. She needed time to grow up I guess though. And a lot of people hate the romance in this story. It didn’t really stand out to me among the book ships, but I didn’t find any reason to dislike it. They are two people who have never been allowed to dream bigger, open themselves up to another person outside of their stations, or hope for a romantic relationship of their own – I see why they are drawn together and they seem compatible enough.
Lucien, possible leader of a brewing rebellion – is who I’m questioning the most. He’s given us every reason to trust him, but there still seems to be something off. The Duchess is my favorite character, she’s a complex villain and you never know how she’s going to react. The final twist at the end with one of the minor characters didn’t catch me that off guard, I always thought there was more to them than it seemed.
Don’t know if I’ll continue the series, we’ll have to see how I feel when the next one comes out, which is October.