Monday, September 29, 2014

{ARC Review} The Jewel (The Lone City #1): Amy Ewing

Rating: 77%

Series: The Lone City Trilogy #1

Genre: Dystopian, Romance, Young Adult, Fiction, Magic,

Publisher: HarperTeen

Publication Date: September 2, 2014

Page Count: 358

Format: Physical ARC

Source: HarperTeen via giveaway from Aly @ My Heart Hearts Books

Barnes & Nobles ~ Goodreads ~ Amazon

Goodreads Synopsis: 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.

Disclaimer: I received this book from HarperTeen as a giveaway prize from Aly @ My Heart Hearts Books and the fact that this was an ARC copy did not effect my honest opinion in any way.

Who Would I Recommend This Book To?

Fans of the Selection (Kiera Cass)

Would I Buy It?

Because I was not in love with the novel, I don't think I would purchase it at full price, but I would definitely ask for The Jewel as a gift because I did enjoy it and the cover is simply gorgeous enough to want to own the finished, hardcover copy.

Background & Backstory

As you may know, The Jewel is probably THE most anticipated Young Adult Dystopian debut release of September. I had put the book on hold at my local library so I could be on of the first readers when they ordered it in, but I won a giveaway and had the book sent to me instead. I mean, how could I pass up an opportunity to read The Jewel?

What Was My Reaction After I Finished This Book?

I had three thoughts: first, that was a cop-out; second, I knew I liked that guy; third, sequel, NOW!

The Jewel was marketed as "The Selection meets The Handmaid's Tale" while I have not read The Handmaid's Tale, I have read the entire Selection Trilogy (in terms of all the books out to date), and that series was marketed as "The Hunger Games meets The Bachelor." I understand where the publicist got both pitches for The Jewel, but I sincerely think it should have been pitched as, "The Hunger Games meets pretty dresses and an intriguing dystopian premise." Then again, I am not, nor do I claim to be a book marketer.... so some might disagree with that statement. 

There were so many indirect Hunger Games references and parallels to a point where it got on my nerves. The most prominent (and most annoying) parallel between the two was Lucien who is Violet's prep artist before the auction took place. And guess what? He chose to be her prep artist AND helps her throughout the story AND says some cheesy line before the auction, proving that he believes in her. That doesn't sound at all like Cinna from the Hunger Games and "I'm still betting on you." I know there was  reason I was so hyper-aware of the similarities, but it got to a ridiculous point where so many the customs, preparations, and guidelines of The Jewel's world was like THG.

I can take a lot from a story before I get annoyed, my taste is not on par with the classics. Yet, the poor excuse for a "relationship" between Ash and Violet was the most insane form of insta-love I have EVER seen. I've read books where the two protagonists have an instant connection or some kind of bond between them that immedieatly draws the two of them together. However, it's even more pathetic than Shatter Me, where Juliette falls in love with the very first guy who ever talks to her, because at least they have a childhood connection. In The Jewel, Ash talks to Violet for a page and she's already talking about being in love with him. In terms of chemistry, I felt Violet cared more about characters we saw for a single chapter, rather than a large portion of the story.

I know this comes from me being a teenager who has not experienced all the world has to offer, so she doesn't have the respect for great works of literature (look, I'm talking in 3rd person), but fast-pace is one of the most enticing elements of writing, as well as one that will make me stay in the long run. The Jewel's pace was break-neck, and I could have read it in one sitting.... you know, if I didn't have that pesky thing called school. 

The best, defining quality of The Jewel was its premise. In terms of dystopian, this one outshone all of the others. It was extremely innovative and the execution followed through. The ending, on the other hand was predicable and the one time I wasn't loving the story (besides the romance). 

How Likely Is It That I Will Re-Read This Book?

As I described it, The Jewel, is a lot like The Selection Trilogy in terms of my enjoyment, pacing, and engagement as a reader. With that said, I don't think I will be re-reading it any time soon because of the aggravating characters (What book does that sound like? *hint*), I think I may have to so I can read the sequels.

How Likely Is It That I Will Read The Sequel To This Book?

The Jewel was a fun, exciting, light, suspenseful read that left off with a cliffhanger ending. My brain will certainly crave a "guilty pleasure book" such as the sequel to The Jewel in a year or so when I need some comic and stress relief after starting school.

Conclusion: If you're in the mood for a fast-paced, intriguiging, innovative dystopian read, The Jewel will not disappoint.

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