Published by: HarperTeen on September 2, 2014
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Source: BookExpo America
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.
The Jewel was an awesome book! …until the romance. But more on that later. 😉
I really loved the plot in The Jewel. I think it’s definitely similar in vibe to The Selection (which it’s being compared to). However, my feelings about it are the total opposite. In The Selection, I adored the romance but didn’t care much about the rest of the plot. In The Jewel, I adore the plot but hate the romance. The Jewel has a lot of political/royal scandal.. and it’s fascinating! Everyone is basically frenemies. The royals invite each other over for tea parties and dinners, but they actually hate each other and plot against each other.
Also, the whole idea of surrogates was HORRIBLE! ..but in a good way. Like obviously it was sad and disgusting, but that’s what made the book so interesting. I mean, the girls are bid on at auction, purchased, given collars, walked around on leashes, compared as if they’re trophies or trading cards (bragging about “stats” or talents their surrogates have), etc. That whole part of the book was really disgusting, but fascinating. I was outraged and felt so sorry for Violet! I love that the book got me so riled up.
My only gripe with the plot side of things was I didn’t fully understand why the surrogates existed. It was only briefly explained why the royals couldn’t have their own children. The author explained how their children died early or were sickly, etc., but I didn’t fully understand WHY.
But then somewhere around page 250, the romance kicked in.. and it sucked. Violet meets this guy Ash, they exchange about two glances, then his lips are on hers, then they’re making out, then they’re saying “I love you”. They have like three interactions, zero conversations, and they’re already in love? Waaaa??? I was really disappointed because there could have been a lot of potential with this romance, but it was easily the weakest part of the book. I didn’t connect with it at all. I went from being addicted to The Jewel to kind of making a “wtf” face at it while reading.
I was pretty devastated to have my love for this book plummet so hard, because up until that point, I was ADDICTED. I read the whole thing in less than 24 hours. I loved it so much, then the romance just sucked! WHY DID YOU DO THIS TO ME?!?! I COULD HAVE GIVEN YOU 5 STARS!!!
But the book is still worth reading, even if just for the cool plot and crazy political scandals. The different houses of royalty are constantly plotting against each other and it’s pretty crazy what lengths they go to!