Review : The Jewel by Amy Ewing

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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.  (From: Goodreads)

Title: The Jewel

Author: Amy Ewing

Genres: YA, fantasy, dystopian, romance, social issue

Publisher: HarperTeen

Edition: Paperback, 2014

Pages: 358 pages

*!!!3 out of 5 stars!!!*

People, I Am Speechless!

My Synopsis:

The story is about a girl named Violet.  She was sent to a school learning more about Auguries (kinda like magic), history, and some royal etiquette.  She was a surrogate, so were other girls in that school.  After four years, they would go to the Auction.  They would be sold.  Those girls would be carried with richer’s kid.  They would start their surrogate life.  After they gave birth, they would be sent to a facility to live the rest of their life.

Bookpick:

This book has set on my shelf for month.  I bought it at a sale and I didn’t decide to read it.  Anyhow, I don’t know what got to me last night.  I just picked up this book and read till midnight.

I don’t know whether I should love this book or not.  It’s special.  I’ve never gotten into this topic before.  However, the way those people acted, treated, were treated…are just horrible.  I’ll talk about those later.

 

The Setting:

The Lone City was surrounded by the ocean.  There were five sections, divided into 5 circles.  Because I’m such a darling, I drew you a picture of it.

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The Marsh was the poorest.  There weren’t any industries, only laborers’ houses.

The Farm was the place where food grown.

The Smoke was where factories were.

The Bank was where merchants lived.  There were a lot of shops.

The Jewel was where the royalties lived.

The Characters:

Lot 197, Violet:  16, 5’7, play the cello.  She’s our main character.  Growing up in the March, her dad had died.  In her house, there were her mom, her brother Ochre, and her sister Hazel.  She was all so obedient until one day she talked back to the Duchess, which I was very impressed.  She was all so normal until she met that fucker, Ash.

She makes it sound like we should be honored, as if it were our choice.  I don’t want to carry anyone’s baby, not the Electress’s or anybody else’s.  I don’t want to be sold tomorrow.

Poor girl.  At least she did have some something inside her brain.

I’ve never thought much about kissing, but the idea of Ash’s lip against mine — I giggle.  Annabelle gives me a curious glance and I force the smile off my face.

This thought was after the first or second encounter.  Ash the Fucker had acted all disgusted when he saw Lot 197 and yet she had a massive crush on him like she was high on meth or something.

His fingers curl around his wineglass and all I can think of is how they felt against my skin.  What is wrong with me?

Indeed, what is wrong with you?

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Lot 192, Raven:  16.  Violet’s best friend.  According to the description, she looked hispanic.

“What about Crow?” I ask.  Crow is Raven’s twin brother.

Seriously?  Raven and Crow?

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Raven is pregnant.

Predictable.  But…I really don’t like the idea of teen mom.   Couldn’t the surrogates be older?

Castrated Lucien the Lady-In-Waiting: He was Violat’s makeup artist when she was about to go to the Auction.  He invented a weird thing.  It looked like a tuning fork, but it worked like a walkie-talkie.  It was called ‘arcana’.  He’s my favourite character in this book.

Ladies-in-waiting are more than just the highest of servants — 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 women.

Ladies-in-waiting is kinda like eunuchs in Chinese Empires, but they were mostly female.

“You can trust me,” I say, sitting up straighter as if that will somehow prove my point.

Lucien smiles.  “Yes, I believe I can.”  He leans forward.  “I can get you out of here,” he whispers.

What a charming!  He was excellent!!!  However, poor Lucien shouldn’t have trusted Lot 197.  He shouldn’t have given this to her.  If he hadn’t told her this, he could be long gone by now.

Lucien’s lip curls into a sneer, “I will not have my motives questioned by some lowlife companion,”

No.  I’m not gonna scold Lucien about this.  It’s totally good with me.  I hate that fucker Ash, too.

Annabelle the Lady-In-Waiting: She was mute and she belonged to Violet.  She was a good friend.

Pearl, Duchess of the Lake: Violet’s mistress.  She was bipolar, very much.  She bought a cello for Violet, hammered it, and then bought her another one.

The Duchess receives many congratulations on my performance, which is ridiculous since she didn’t do anything.

Well…she actually did a thing.  That was asking Lot 197 to play the cello on the stage.

Dr. Blythe: He’s House of Lakes’s doctor.  He took care of Violet’s ‘condition’.  He was trying to be nice to Violet, but baby you and I both know that he wasn’t that good.

“Surrogates allow the royalty to survive.  The Auguries help repair chromosomal damage to royal embryos.”

Why it is all about royalties?  They were barren was their business!!!

Ash the Fucker: 18.  Violet’s secret boyfriend.  He had been a companion to royalties, a slave to please the ladies.  Currently, he was a companion to Carnelian.  Sometimes he satisfied the women.  He was also a bipolar, but only a little bit.  I don’t like him.  I hate him.

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He studies my expression.  “You’re not from the Bank?”

I shake my head, my throat swollen.  “The Marsh,” I manage to whisper.

He jumps up like I’ve electrocuted him.  “No,” He pinches the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger.  “Please tell me you’re not the surrogate.”

Oh please!  A surrogate is better than a companion!  What was he acting all so disgusted about?  Such a fucker.  I don’t know why Lot 197 saw in him.

“I may not have experienced the Auction, but I am continually being bought and sold, all the same.”

Yeah, right, poor Ash.  You know what?  I don’t fucking care!  I just don’t like your job.  If I were to be you, I’d commit suicide.

Garnet: 19.  Duchess of the Lake’s son.  He held his pride high.  He was a mysterious, troubled young man.

“Lucien?” I whisper.  “Lucien, is that you?”

For a moment, there is nothing, no answer, no sound except the hum of the tuning fork in my hands.

Then a voice that isn’t Lucien’s speaks, and I nearly drop the arcana in pure shock.

“Don’t worry,” Garnet says, his usually confident tone gone and a fierce urgency in its place.  “We’re going to get you out.”

REEEAAAAAALly?  Garnet could really surprise me.

Carnelian the Bitch:  She was Duchess of the Lake’s niece.  Her mother had died and she had lived in the House of the Lake.  It seemed that nobody truly liked her, so she put much hope on Ash the Fucker.

Lot 200, Dahlia:  She was sweet.  The greatest in the Auction this year.  She was Electress’s  surrogate.

Gratefully, I pull the lace back off my face.  “Who were we mourning, my lady?”

The Duchess traces the corner of her mouth with a long finger.  “The Electress’s surrogate died yesterday morning.”

Dahlia died at the age of 16.  She was murdered by the Duchess of the Lake.  Pearl poisoned her in the drink.

The Idea Of Electress:

Her title is kinda like Kate Middleton.  She was married into the royalties, but she stood at the position as Queen Elizabeth II.  Her power was much like Theresa May (the prime minister after David Cameron).

Let’s Get Into Some Details:

I once asked Patience why we couldn’t come home after we’ve given birth, and she said, “You are too precious to the royalty.  They wish to take care of you for the rest of your life.  Isn’t that wonderful?  They have such generous hearts.”

Bullshit!  They still confine you.  You don’t really have any freedom!  What was Patience thinking?  She should be a surrogate and see what really happen herself.

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It’s a prison, a place to contain me before I’m shipped off to become a human incubator for a woman I’ve never met.

See?  How cruel this story’s background is?  Totally human abuse!

I rub my wrist, feeling the hard circle of the transmitter they implanted just under my skin.  We all got one before we left for our homes.  It’s only temporary –they’ll dissolve in about eight hours.

How cool!  The technology was very convenient then.

I’d learned about the Farm, of course — we learn about all the circles in history class — but seeing it is something entirely different.

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Wait a sec, shouldn’t that be geography class???

“Sold for six million diamantes.  To Duchess of the Lake.”

Yep.  That’s right.  Lot 197 was sold.  It was an auction and she was sold like an item.

“What’s your name?”

“Cora,” she answers.

“I’m-”

“You are the surrogate of the House of the Lake,” Cora says, cutting me off.  “That’s all.”

Lot 197 wasn’t even allowed to say her name!  What a hellish new life!

I allow the Duchess to fasten the silver collar around the velvet chocker on my neck.

.

.

I am chained, bound, hidden.  For the first time, I feel like a prisoner.

And now she was like a dog now.  What a shame!  I’d rather commit suicide.

“You know she just bought her first surrogate this year?”  The Duchess nods.  “Apparently, she takes her around everywhere!” the Lady exclaims.  “On shopping excursions, to luncheons, she even brought her around my house for tea.  I can’t imagine what she’s thinking.”

OH!!!  Lady of the Locks, I believe if those surrogates all knew about this, they’d be so glad to carry your children.

It’s bad enough seeing him with Carnelian, but watching him dance with the Duchess is creepy.

That does sound creepy to me, too.  Nevertheless, Lot 197 forgot to think about Ash the Fucker in bed with Duchess.

“You slept with their mothers?” I ask timidly.

“Yes.  I have to — I am theirs.  They have…paid for me.”

Hey, Fucker!  Show them your pride, okay?  Make them pay!  Man up!  He was more like a castrated lady-in-waiting.  JESUS!

Lucien’s gaze is still fixed on Ash.  “Do you want to know what really happens to surrogates after the royal babies are born?”  A cold bead of fear slides into the pit of my stomach.  “They die.  They all die.  Childbirth kills them.”

There was the one and only reason why surrogates couldn’t go back home.  Because they would be dead.

 

Welcome To WTF Moment:

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I am going to share a part or more which made me go WHAAAAAT THE FUCK?????

“What is your name?”

My heart explodes into a million glittering fragments that rain down like fireworks through my chest.

“Violet,” I whisper.

He closes his eyes and breathes it in, like it’s the answer to a riddle or a secret key.  “Violet,” he murmurs.  Then his mouth is on mine.

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Well, excuse me??!!!  You’ve just officially met.  And that Fucker have been such a jerk.  He asks for your name and kisses you.  And you let him do that????  Oh My God!!!  You are joking, right?

This is just bull.

Violet hadn’t seen a guy in her life except for her brother and Duchess’s son.  She met Ash the Fucker and BANG!

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It was destiny.

Ash was a broken guy.  He had never met a girl who was really attracted to him.  When he met Violet, he saw her pay real attention to him.  Therefore, BANG!

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It was fucking destiny.

“Violet,” he says, and when he looks in my eyes, my stomach somersaults.  “I think…I think I love you.”

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I feel myself dissolve into a thousand molecules, amazed at how three small words can completely alter my state of being.

“I think I love you, too,” I whisper.

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Impressive, guys!  Very impressive!

You guys were like what…just met for two or three times?  Seriously???  LMFAO!!!  You two must have drunk love potion or got cursed.

His lips graze my throat.  “Are you sure?”

I’ve never been so sure of anything in my entire life, but words fail me in this moment.

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What???  He told you that he slept with the mothers in the morning and at night you desperately wanted to sleep with him?  What?  Testing his skills???

This girl’s brain was burnt!

Love at first sight and this kind of insta-love…Bullshit!

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My Favourite Part:

I kiss him just under his ear.  “You’re pretty brave, aren’t you?”

He grins at me.  “Not as brave as some.”

Suddenly, there is a tremendous bang, followed by the sound of heavy boots, and then the door to the bedroom is kicked open.  I shriek as Regimentals flood into Ash’s room, their guns drawn and pointed.

YEAAAAAAAAAH!!!  God heard my prayer!

Augury:

There were three auguries.  Surrogates all had the ability of doing auguries.  They just needed to think of some sentences in mind,

Once to see it as it is.  Twice to see it in your mind.  Thrice to bend it to your will.

“The first Augury can influence skin color, hair color, eye color…it is the easiest of the Auguries.  Quite superficial”

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“The second Augury, Shape, affects, as you might have guessed, the physical shapes of the face or eyes or nose.  It also affects organ size, and so is very important to the health of the child.”

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“The third Augury, Growth, is very tricky,” he continues.  “If successful, it can affect intelligence, creativity, ambition…the personality of the child can be influenced.”

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Recommendation:

Generally speaking, I like the book.  It’s just that the topic is dark and the contents make me uncomfortable.  I gave it 3 out of 5 stars.  I will read the sequel.  If you want to try something different, you can try reading this book.

Happy reading, guys 😀

 

 

 

 

 

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