Saturday, 22 November 2014

Book Review: The Jewel by Amy Ewing

The Jewel (The Lone City #1)  by Amy Ewing
Publication Date: September 2nd 2014
Genre: YA, romance, dystopian, high fantasy
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.
This book has a worlds  worth of potential but, for me, in the end I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would. For such a beautiful front cover the story inside let me down and it became very clear to me that The Hunger Games  influenced this book and it's characters more than it should. In the end I unfortunately had to DNF it which felt awful but what is the point of crawling through a book just to say you finished it? I wasn't enjoying it and there were many other books I could start so, yes, as much as it pains me I did DNF it.

I was entirely interested in reading this one. The synopsis wasn't vague at all about what the story held so it was no shock when I read about the girls being auctioned off to royalty as walking-baby-makers. It thoroughly creeped me out but it was like roadkill... You want to look away but you just can't. Like "Oh gross... Wait... NO EW... But wait." Am I making any sense? No? Alrighty then, let's move on.

The first chapter was interesting enough but I knew a lot of this book would be world building. I think this is the biggest hurdle when writing Dystopian books; you have to find the right balance of world building, (so that if a movie ever comes out I'm not completely annoyed at the fact that everything is different to how I imagined it) character building, and action. I haven't read many Dystopian books simply because I'm generally put off of them by how much world building there is compared to actual happenings between characters. I remember reading The Host  and I really liked it! There was that perfect balance of everything I mentioned above and it all seemed to be entwined together. I would love some suggestions though so if any of you have read any good Dystopian books, lemme know in the comments!

Moving on; So I have never read The Hunger Games. Let's just let that one sink in shall we......... Okay great. I'm not ashamed either. I don't really find them interesting (I did try the first book and  the first movie) but I still manage to know a helluva lot about this entire series. I noticed a lot of similarities between The Jewel  and The Hunger Games. They weren't even subtle nods to the series. Here are a few I noted down; 

  1. The salute thing that the girls do to other surrogates. We all know that Katniss has a salute she uses although I'm not sure what for exactly. 
  2. The whole preparation scene with the nice man who gets her ready and feels slightly sorry for her. He was a lot like Cinna from what I've read and watched.
  3. The sections of The Lone City are much like the districts in THG; they all have their jobs and places in the city.
Sometimes we find books that keep us from sleeping because we JUST HAVE TO FINISH IT. Right? Well I didn't find myself dying to read it or pick it up after the first quarter or so. It started off very strong and I didn't put it down for a while. Then things started getting slower and slower and as more references to different books started popping up it was hard to want  to read it. The first six chapters were kinda slow too and we all know the importance of sucking your readers in from the very first paragraph right? There's no point having a book where all the good stuff starts three quarters of the way in because I'm going to have stopped reading by then!

Something I did like was how beautifully everything was described. I actually kept reading just to learn more about the Lone City and the royal homes because Amy Ewing has a great talent for bringing the world to me, I wouldn't want to live there, no way, because it wasn't that everything was beautiful there. Just that everything was described so well.

Another thing I liked was the chapter size - for those who have read some of my reviews you'll know that I hate books with chapters that are literally 50-60 pages long. I don't like tiny chapters either nor do I enjoy more than 2 or 3 points of view because it can get unnecessarily confusing. The chapters in this book were fine though, enough to keep me interested but not so long that I had to stop halfway through and go back later.

NOW for the biggest issue I found in this book. This was also when I stopped reading. So we don't meet Ash (the love interest) until half way through the book. Literally half way. I don't mind so much because as I've said multiple times; Dystopian is all about world building. But when we do meet him it is instantaneous. Can you figure out what IT  is?! *Deep breath* INSTALOVE. The bane of the YA world. It happened. I may have actually read on if it didn't happen. Boo.

Am I going to pick this book back up? Maybe when the next book is due to release. Do I recommend it? Actually, yes. I want you all to form your own opinions, maybe the instalove wont bother you and THG references will make you happy. I don't know. Go for it and tell me what you think!

What did you think of this book? Do you plan on reading it?

Before I go... Do any of you watch The 100/The Hundred? DO YOU?! I marathoned, in two days, through 18 episodes so I was caught up only to realise that there is no nEW EPISODE FOR TWO WEEKS ARE YOU JOKING? I kind of want to start sobbing because Bellarke and Finn is crazy balls now and I see all of the couples forming and gah. If you do watch it, DM me. I need to talk about everything that has happened so far with someone who has seen all of the episodes. I have all the theories!!! And then cry with me over Bellarke's reunion because BECAUSE he has been hugged by a total of 3 people and only hugged TWO OF THEM BACK. His sister (duh) and Clarke. *happy sigh*

Sorry about that small rant... I'm not insane, promise.

Happy reading lovelies :)

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