ABOUT THE BOOK
The Jewel means wealth, the Jewel means beauty—but for Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Born and raised in the Marsh, Violet finds herself living in the Jewel as a servant at the estate of the Duchess of the Lake. Addressed only by her number—#197—Violet is quickly thrown into the royal way of life. But behind its opulent and glittering facade, the Jewel hides its cruel and brutal truth, filled with violence, manipulation, and death.
Violet must accept the ugly realities of her life . . . all while trying to stay alive. But before she can accept her fate, Violet meets a handsome boy who is also under the Duchess’s control, and a forbidden love erupts. 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.
I went into The Jewel expecting the worst of the instaloves and the juiciest of the royal politics which really worked because man, I would’ve been extremely frustrated otherwise. Instead I’m just sorely disappointed because the plot is actually entertaining. The characters and the dreaded instalove? Not so much. Moreover, the fact that not much is told about the reasons is annoying because it’s like you gotta read the second book to know more which what if I don’t want to?
I was kind of more focused on the fantasy aspect of than the dystopian which is why a couple of parallels to The Hunger Games really made me roll my eyes like the character Lucien who’s basically Cinna. Also, how the Jewel is the centre of the Lone City where the royals and the richest reside surrounded by the Bank with all merchantry, the Smoke with all the industries, the Farm with all the well, farms, and the Marsh where the poorest lives. The city is set up in the shape of an enormous circle and is located on an island. Also, almost everyone in the book has weird names that refer to the part of the Lone City they are from which isn’t enough to justify the weirdness attached to names like Ochre.
Violet is bound by circumstances to serve the royals by being a surrogate. However, she’s of the sort who’d rather spend her life poor and happy with her family than in luxury among the royals. So there is much talk about how she misses her family and her best friend and how she doesn’t want to be a surrogate among moments where she’s entranced by the pretty dresses, the elegant balls, and the elaborate meals. That’s pretty much the extent of her personality.
The first half of The Jewel is actually pretty entertaining despite the obvious lack of worldbuilding beyond the structure of the Lone City and the puzzling surrogate situation. The shenanigans of the rich and a freak of the Duchess who buys Violet kept me glued to the story. And bam, instalove! Oh my, where do I even begin? It’s so cheesy and it was awfully painful to read about Violet’s train of thoughts regarding her extremely clichéd love interest. I wish there was a love triangle with Garnet involved who’s the only interesting character in The Jewel other than the Duchess.
The concept behind The Jewel is no doubt entertaining, but the glaring loopholes in its execution put a damper on everything else. In a way, I get that the instalove is sometimes part of the plot but using it to move the plot forward hardly ever works because it’s insta-freaking-love. How could I believe anything when it’s physically painful for Violet because Ash didn’t even look at her mere hours after meeting her? The rich and their dirty dealings bit is so very juicy and engaging and reminded me of Aimee Carter’s Pawn which, if you’ve read, you’ll know is pretty harsh and cruel. In all, I’d have enjoyed The Jewel way more if not for the cringeworthy romance which came in like a wrecking ball (sorry, I couldn’t resist). Oh, and that ending!
‘Hope is a precious thing, isn’t it,’ she says quietly. ‘And yet, we don’t really appreciate it until it’s gone.’
‘It’s hard to remember who who you were when you’re constantly pretending to be someone you’re not.’