Release Date: September 2, 2014
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.My Thoughts:
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.
When I read the description for The Jewel, I immediately added it to my TBR list. I liked this book, but not loved it. The idea of the Surrogates was intriguing itself. The idea of using Surrogates into the plot seemed unique and I wanted to know more.
The Lone City is divided into five circles, each separated by a wall, and all of them but the Marsh have nicknames based on their industry. The Marsh is the outer circle, the poorest. The 4th circle is the Farm, where all the good is grown. Then the Smoke, where the factories are. The 2nd circle is the Bank, because that’s where all the merchants have their shops. And then there’s the inner circle, the Jewel. The heart of the city. Where the royalty lives and where, Violet and her friend Raven live after being auctioned off to the wealthy as their Surrogates.
Southgate Holding Facility. There are three Augury’s the Surrogates are tested on.
“Once to see it as it is. Twice to see it in your mind. Thrice to bend it to your will.”
I guess I really didn’t get the Augury thing. The doctors test all the girls and if diagnosed, they move into a Holding Facility and practice with these Augury’s. They can turn objects into different colors, shapes and make plant life grow quicker etc. I suppose it’s a bit like magic. Eventually the girls go into Auction and are bid on like prized possessions. While in these Holding Facilities they want for nothing. But a few have figured out it’s more like a prison, a place to contain them before they are shipped off to become a human incubator for a woman they’ve never met. And when they are auctioned off, they live a life most would dream of. With the exception of freedom.
Depending on their testing, they get ranked. The highest number would be the most sought after Surrogate. To some girls, it’s the best thing that could happen to them. For others, well, not so much.
Ladies-in-waiting are more than just the highest of servents—they’re confidantes and advisors to their mistresses. They are selected and trained from a young age, and some of them are men, castrated so they can be considered “safe” to work so closely with royal woman. Violet gets Lucian, who (reminds me of the scene in The Hunger Games when they dress the contenders up for the parade) fixes Violet up for the Auction.
After the Auction, Violet begins understanding the history and the evil behind some of the Royalty. She wants out. She wants to escape and get away from carrying another woman’s child, who has no issue physically putting her in her place if she doesn’t obey her. They are more like puppets! It was sickening!
Violet meets a special friend Ash who has captured her attention. But she can’t have feelings for him as it would be forbidden. I’m so glad she went with what her heart told her, because I think Violet and Ash are perfect for one another. The story is filled with betrayal, sex, and lies. The end of the story reminds me a little of Romeo and Juliet. I won’t get into details, but it did.
I was relieved when Lucian came to Violet and offered her an escape. And along the way, some unexpected people are involved.
Overall, I liked the story and I will definitely read the next book.
*Quotes taken from an unedited ARC*