By: Celine | August 7, 2014 | (21) Comments

Review: The Jewel by Amy EwingThe Jewel by Amy Ewing
Series: The Lone City, #1
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: September 2, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, YA
Source: Received in exchange for review
Goodreads | Purchase

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.

Amy Ewing’s The Jewel had such a beautiful cover and such an intruiging synopsis. Yes, it reminded me of The Selection. I think it reminded everyone of The Selection. To me that means I went in with not much hope for a quality book, but with expectations of a fun and quick story. I’m sad to say that despite my low expectations, I didn’t enjoy The Jewel.

The Jewel had so much potential. I think that’s what disappointed me most. It really has an intruiging plot: girls with special abilities (called the Auguries) being auctioned off to the highest royal bidder. They’re then being used as slaves of very special kind… But what exactly their ‘job’ entails I consider a spoiler. Let’s just say it wasn’t pretty and I was really interested in this world and what these girls had to go through.

Unfortunately, I felt this potential wasn’t tapped in to. The way the twists were revealed felt dry and boring to me, and I didn’t care for the characters at all. That may also have been the reason the unveiling of the twists felt boring: I just didn’t care. The main reason I didn’t care for our main character is because she didn’t have any personality. Yes, she defied the Duchess sometimes, but mostly she just stays silent in a corner, making me feel that she has no more personality than a dishcloth. Of course, our main character is “special”. She has purple eyes, which she was named after (“Violet”). She had very high potential (she was #197 on a list of 200, with 200 being the highest). She’s the first person in decades to get a perfect score on her third Augury test. People constantly tell her how much potential and power she had. I’m sorry, am I sensing a case of Special Snowflake Syndrome?

And while our main character is so very powerful and special, all the other women are portrayed as useless. Let me count the ways women were portrayed. All the women in power (aka the Duchesses) were portrayed as evil. They were either really rude to their surrogates, or planning some extremely awful things. There was not a single women in a position of power that was made out to be ‘good’. Then, there are the other surrogates. First, there’s Lily, who is looked down upon by Violet because she likes gossip and such. Then, there are the other powerful surrogates (#190 – #200), whom all end up being broken in spirit or dead. Lastly, there’s one woman (the Duchess’ niece) in a position of arguable power, not broken in spirit or anything. Except… she’s made out to be the antagonist and looked down upon by all other women in the book. That’s right. There’s not a single woman in this book, except for our protagonist, that is portrayed in a favourable way. There you go. What a great message to send out.

Then, of course, there is the romance. I have to admit I was enjoying this book… right up until the love interest shows up. Because this is what happens: the main character and love interest have one conversation, about their passion for music, after which the MC gets to witness that entire conversation played out again between the love interest and the Duchess’ niece. After that, she literally does not stop thinking about this incredibly handsome man, who “sees her for what she is” and seems to look at her, instead of through her. Hurray: we find one person who actually seems to notice Violet, and of course that means he’s her true love. Right?

And in case you’re wondering: yes, there is instant love abound. Though their romance is “forbidden” and they might get severly punsihed or killed if they’re found out, they just can’t seem to stay away from each other after two conversations. Suddenly, they’re kissing and saying stuff like this:

Violet, if you had webbed feet and a third eye, I’d still want to be with you.”

Never mind the fact that he literally knows nothing about her aside from her love for music. And the fact that he’s constantly telling Violet how pretty she is. Hmm. And, of course, not long after:

“I think I love you.”

Let me repeat: after two conversations. And some kisses. Are you kidding me? You don’t even know each other! How can you love each other then? This romance and I just did not get along, and it really ruined the book for me. Because after she meets her love interest, she’s literally just “oh, LI, LI, LI, oh yeah, important plans, but LI! Look at his handsomeness.” *headdesk*

I really, really wanted to enjoy this one. I went in expecting something fun and fluffy, but I just found myself annoyed by it all. Despite the really intruiging plot (which could have been executed better), I just really didn’t like the romance, any of the characters, or the way women were portrayed. I’m really disappointed.

~Thank you HarperTeen for sending me a review copy~

1.5 Stars
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Celine is 17 years old and from the Netherlands. Quite obviously, she loves books! She has been a reader for as long as she can remember, and she believes she will be a reader forever. Celine is also obsessed with food, and loves singing along to music as loud as possible, dancing and doodling on nearly everything.

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21 Responses to Review: The Jewel by Amy Ewing

  1. The setting and the social structure (especially the portrayal of women) seems pretty basic and uninteresting. This is coming up on my reading schedule in just a few days, but I’m not very optimistic. Quite the contrary.
    I’m sorry you wasted your time.
    Maja (The Nocturnal Library) recently posted…Review: Gates of Thread and StoneMy Profile

  2. I’ve been hearing this from so many people. I’m not reading this now. Lost interest after all the negative reviews. 🙂 Great review, Celine!
    Bieke @ Istyria book blog recently posted…What Tomorrow Brings: Monstrous by MarcyKate ConnollyMy Profile

  3. Renu says:

    The romance killed this book for me too. I mean like you I didn’t connect with the mc and found the twists to be predictable, but still I was turning the pages. Then the love interest shows up and I’m like ughh the insta-love. D:

    Thanks for the honest review! 🙂
    Renu recently posted…Mini review: The Girl from the Well by Rin ChupecoMy Profile

  4. Sarah P. says:

    Gaaah for Special Snowflake Syndrome. *headdesk* I got intrigued about the premise of this book too. It’s disappointing to know that it wasted all the potential it had. I feel like I would really have a tough time liking Violet because boring personality and I don’t get along at all. Plus, instalove is a deal-breaker for me. Sigh. What a waste of a beautiful cover. Thank you for your honest review, Celine. Here’s hoping your next read is infinitely better!
    Sarah P. recently posted…Review: The Moment Collector by Jodi Lynn AndersonMy Profile

    • Celine says:

      I’m afraid that to me, Violet was nothing more than her ‘pretty purple eyes’ (I mean, seriously? Purple? Does that even exist?) and the instalove was really bad. Such a disappointment! To me, the cover was definitely the best part of this book, haha.

      Thank you, Sarah <33

    • Rebecca Politzer says:

      the special snowflake syndrome gets worse in the sequal

  5. Whew, glad I skipped this one. I was afraid it was a pretty cover book and it sounds like that is exactly what it is. Ugh, no to the insta love!
    Heidi@Rainy Day Ramblings recently posted…Review, Guest Post and Giveaway: Binds That Tie by Kate MorettiMy Profile

  6. Tanja says:

    Well as I haven’t read The Selection I enjoyed this one much more, than you. I totally agree about the love interest though. It was insta love there but still I grew to like him, somehow. But I really liked world-building here. I enjoyed it and it seemed so vivid. Sorry that this one was a disappointment for you. Great review, Celine! 🙂
    Tanja recently posted…Blog Tour: A Slither of Hope by Lisa M. BassoMy Profile

    • Celine says:

      I’m glad you did enjoy it! I really was intruiged by the concept, but I’m afraid everything I listed above ended up ruining it for me. I’m happy you enjoyed it, though 🙂
      Thanks, Tanja <33

  7. Amber says:

    Oh no. 🙁 I was hoping this would be a good book. The cover reminded me of The Selection series instantly, which I haven’t read, but have wanted to.

    I’m so disappointed to hear about the relationship, it sounds awful. “I think I love you” after only a few conversations? Knowing nothing about each other than some music? Ugh. I hate instant love in books and movies. Come on writers, you can do better than that. v.v I’m sorry you didn’t care for the book.
    Amber recently posted…Book Haul (#2, Part 2, Barnes and Noble + Book Store)My Profile

  8. Zoe N. says:

    Haha…yeah, I think the plot of this reminded everyone of The Selection, so it’s a shame that the two are similar in execution as well. 🙁 To be honest, I wasn’t really expecting much from this anyway, but your points have made me very hesitant. I’m not a huge fan of instalove or poorly developed romance; and the main character sounds absolutely irritating here. And portraying all women in this society as “bad”? No. Just no.

    I think I’m going to give a pass on this one. Thanks for taking one for the team though Celine! <3 Brilliant review. xD
    Zoe N. recently posted…Heir of Fire Review + Giveaway!My Profile

    • Celine says:

      Yep! Though The Selection was a guilty pleasure read for me, and I didn’t really find The Jewel enjoyable at all. I hope that should you ever read it, you enjoy it more than I did though! 🙂 And haha, well, there has to be someone to read the not-so-good books as well 😉

      Thank you, Zoe <33

  9. Lyn Kaye says:

    I have this on my shelf. I kinda know what I am going to get myself into but….I think I can’t do it.
    Lyn Kaye recently posted…Book Review: Falling Into PlaceMy Profile

    • Celine says:

      If you can’t do it, you can’t do it. We read for pleasure after all! I hope that if you pick it up, you’ll enjoy it more than I did, Lyn 🙂

  10. Book Nerd says:

    Love your review, Celine! 🙂 Right when I saw the cover of “The Jewel,” I was like it is just like “The Selection!” That got me excited because I loved “The Selection,” but at the same time, I loathe insta-love. Thank you for the honest review..
    and I get MAD when women are portrayed as “bad” people in society… so yeah 🙂
    such an honest review, thank you so much!
    Book Nerd recently posted…I Go Deep: The Truth About PopularityMy Profile

  11. Sam says:

    When I read this, at first I thought it had potential too but it portrayed women as pretty uninteresting and the insta-love made me want to cringe and the only thing I liked about the book was that it gave attention to the dystopian feeling like their system and all that but it really didn’t intrigue me as I thought it would, you made an amazing review!

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