The Jewel: A Kayla Hicks Review
A page-turner that threw in a surprise on the very last page
I began reading some books on my to-be-read list and The Jewel ( Lone City Trilogy Book 1) by Amy Ewing came up. (A Teen Harper Book)
What is it about?
The Jewel has many meanings: wealth, beauty, and royalty. But for Violet, the Jewel has always meant servitude.
Born and raised in the Marsh, Violet is destined for the Jewel. She is trained as a surrogate for the elite and is bought by the Duchess of the Lake at auction. And she quickly learns that beneath the Jewel’s glittering façade lies the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way of life.
Violet must accept the ugly realities of her life…all while fighting for her survival. But before she can accept her fate, Violet meets a handsome boy who is also under the Duchess’s control. A forbidden love sparks.
But their illicit affair has consequences, which will cost them both more than they bargained for. And toeing the line between being calculating and rebellious, Violet must decide what, and who, she is willing to risk for her own freedom.
Admittedly, at first, I almost put this book down.
Why? Because the first premise I got of this book was on similar lines to that of Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Mostly due to the fact that the book is set in a world where society is divided into tiers, The Marsh (which houses workers and the poor), The Farm (the tier that supplies food), The Bank (holds factories and bank professions), and The Jewel (which holds the rich).
But, after reading the reviews on the back of the book, I decided to give it a try and was pleasantly surprised.
Violet, the main character, was an easily relatable character in the way that she treated those around her, and how she reacted to the situations she was placed in. Despite everything that she is put through as a surrogate to the Duchess in the House of the Lake, she still manages to keep who she is intact and put others' needs above her own, which is admirable.
I also valued how the Duchess of the Lake had moments of vulnerability in which she shed her mean exterior and briefly confided in Violet. Actually, the whole dynamic of the relationship between Violet and the Duchess of the Lake was very interesting and didn’t lead me to hate the Duchess as much as I expected it to.
The end of this book also added a story about Ash, a royal companion that Violet finds herself falling for, providing some more story to his sad background. And honestly, I found it was just enough to answer any questions I had as a reader.
This book had a great arch to lead the reader through. While this story had a lot of build-up from the time Violet leaves surrogate school to the time she lives in the Duchess’s house as a surrogate, the payoff is worth it. And I found the descriptions of how everything worked in each sector of the world Violet spent time in allowed me to see the world through Violet's eyes.
What really got me was the surprise the author left the reader with on the last page. I felt blindsided and I immediately wanted to have the second book, as this book is part of a trilogy.
I would give this book a 4.5-star rating.