Review: The Jewel (The Lone City #1)by Amy Ewing

Book Title: The Jewel (The Lone City #1)
Author: Amy Ewing
Publish Date: September 2nd, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA Dystopian
Series: Book 1 in The Lone City trilogy
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.

Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from HarperTeen via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

Review:
Oh this book made me feel all the things. It stressed me out in a way I never thought it would. It was surprisingly filled with feels pretty early on and I got emotional because of it. I very rarely get emotional early on, so I was surprised when it happened when I was barely 20% into it. 

I loved Violet. Clearly she was in an awful position and she had no say in anything that happened to her. From the moment the test was preformed on her to see if she was a candidate to be a surrogate, any choices she had went out the window. Yet she was strong, friendly and kind.

We first meet her only days before she has to go to the surrogate auction. She hasn’t seen her family in 4 years. She’s been in a holding place where she’s been trained up to be a surrogate. Now I had no idea what training to become a surrogate entailed. It was certainly not something I had ever heard of. Yet, as the book unfolds, we learn what types of training is involved.

She enters the auction being number 197. In this world, the higher the number, the better the surrogate. So at 197, she’s nearly the top pick. Her friend Raven comes into the auction being number 192, so she is also high up on the auction market.

When we get to her mistresses’ place, the atmosphere feels different. More foreboding, more tension filled. Violet doesn’t know half of what goes on there or in the surrounding places. But she’s about to find out that things aren’t always what they seem. Yes The Jewel prides on both opulence and offspring, but beneath that lies a tangled web of lies and deceit.

I actually thought there was a good love interest in this book. I liked Ash. He seemed to see her in ways that no one else seemed to. He saw Violet. He didn’t see her as #197 and the surrogate to the Duchess of the Lake. I think he was who Violet needed. Yes it was a forbidden romance but I think Violet clung to him because it was the first real decision she had been able to make for herself in a very long time.

I got really confused sometimes about all the names in the book. They had titles but then they also had names. It was very confusing for me to remember who was who and whose surrogate was that. I think some sort of chart that the readers could refer to in the beginning of the book would have been very helpful. About halfway through I started to feel like the author was spending more time with the world building and not enough time developing the characters. That feeling eventually changed for me as I neared the end. 

The ending was perfect. I could not even see the twist coming until it was upon me. I mean wow, that ending was absolute perfection and it definitely set the stage for Book 2. It is going to be a very long wait until Book 2. I am giving this book 4 stars. I’m so glad I read this book. It was one of my top fall releases and it definitely delivered.

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