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The Jewel (Jewel Series #1)

The Jewel (Jewel Series #1)

4.0 46
by Amy Ewing

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The Selection meets The Handmaid's Tale in this darkly riveting debut filled with twists and turns, where all that glitters may not be gold.

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


The Selection meets The Handmaid's Tale in this darkly riveting debut filled with twists and turns, where all that glitters may not be gold.

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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
First-time author Ewing adds to a genre saturated with stories of poor, beautiful girls forced to live among the upper class. Sixteen-year-old Violet Lasting is from the direst sector of the Lone City. It’s an island run by powerful royals who can no longer bear their own children and must hire surrogates, like Violet, with unique powers called auguries. In an annual auction, Violet is sold to the powerful Duchess of the Lake, who parades her around in fine dresses, but demands that Violet deliver a perfect daughter quickly. As Violet begins to realize the dangerous political machinations at play, the plot becomes further complicated as she falls for an off-limits guy. The idea of forced reproductive slavery provides an attention-grabbing hook, but thin worldbuilding and some narrative missteps (at least four chapters end with Violet falling into darkness after being drugged, and there are unfortunate references to characters’ almond-shaped eyes or skin “the color of dark brewed coffee”) don’t help the story stand out from the pack. Ages 14–up. Agent: Charlie Olsen, Inkwell Management. (Sept.)
VOYA, December 2015 (Vol. 38, No. 5) - Ellen Frank
The Jewel starts off seeming like another Hunger Games spinoff, with similarities to Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale (Random House, 2006/Voya December 1986). Sixteen-year-old Violet is groomed from the “Marsh” to be a surrogate for the inhabitants of the “Jewel,” the ruling class of the city. Violet has magic powers—she is able to manipulate the Three Auguries: color, shape, and growth. Each time Violet does a manipulation, however, she coughs up blood and endures a nosebleed and an intense headache. These magic powers are the reason Violet has been chosen as a surrogate. She is forced to endure a life of slavery and servitude, to sacrifice both her family and her identity, and from then on, can only be addressed as “197.” Violet’s freedom is taken away, but she is a survivor and realizes that her life is the one thing she must protect, no matter the cost. Ewing has created another quick-read dystopian novel that will appeal to fans of this genre. The formula for successful dystopian fiction is all here: strong female protagonist, boyfriend from the upper class, evil stepmother, and friendly caretakers who assist the heroine in her plot to survive. The novel is fast paced, with many graphic descriptions of the torture Violet must endure; however, in Ewing’s rush to make this a quick read, she skimps on character detail. This is the first book in The Lone City series, and the ending may leave some readers unsatisfied. Reviewer: Ellen Frank; Ages 11 to 18.
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Violet lives in a city divided into five concentric circles; with the poorest in the farthest outlining ring (The Marsh) and the wealthiest (The Jewel) at the center. The women of the Jewel are unable to produce healthy babies, so every year girls from the Marsh are tested and purchased to become surrogates; surrogates who demonstrate skills and are able to control the way the baby looks and special talents the child might have. Violet was tested at age 12 and taken from her family to be trained and sold after her 18th birthday. The Jewel is not what Violet was expecting; it is full of wealth and splendor, but the lies, mind games, and viciousness undercut its beauty. In this corrupt circle, Violet falls in love with an escort who has been hired to teach Violet's mistress' niece how to be a woman; a love that is ill-fated. Ewing writes a fast-paced story that takes readers into the inner workings of a society that is obsessed with power and perfection. Fans of Lauren DeStefano's "The Chemical Garden" trilogy (S. & S.) will enjoy this YA debut.—Lisa Nabel, Dayton Metro Library, OH
Kirkus Reviews
Rescued from poverty in order to help royalty, Violet Lasting grows to hate her gilded cage in this dystopian debut.Taken from her family in the Marsh—the farthest circle and lowest class of the Lone City—Violet has spent the last four years in the holding facility of Southgate. Not a criminal but a surrogate, Violet was born with a certain gene and the special power of Augury (transformative magic) and will help a royal woman…by bearing her child. The Duchess of the Lake buys Violet at Auction and begins to pamper and punish her, eager to implant a child that will win the ruling Electress and Exetor’s favor. Beautiful, purple-eyed and slightly rebellious, Violet balks at the idea of being a walking womb for a rich woman, but she cannot think of a way out. Mysterious beautician Lucien takes Violet as his symbol for a brewing rebellion and offers an escape, even as Violet falls for Ash, the hired companion for the Duchess’s niece. Ewing’s opener bears obvious similarities to The Hunger Games and The Handmaid’s Tale as well as countless other dystopian novels, with predictable rebellion and romance elements. Still, it offers a well-built world, an appealing heroine and an unusual blend of magic and science. Expect sequels.Fans not yet sated by the dystopian glut may enjoy this decently wrought, derivative mashup. (Dystopian fantasy. 14 & up)
Booklist (starred review)
“Excellent world building… skillful descriptions.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Will have fans of Oliver’s Delirium, Cass’ The Selection, and DeStefano’s Wither breathless with anticipation for the sequel.”
Andrea Cremer
“With its taut, provocative plot and irresistible characters, THE JEWEL had me tearing through pages right up to the final, startling twist. I need the next book now!”

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Amy Ewing's Jewel Series , #1
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Amy Ewing earned her MFA in Writing for Children at the New School and received her BFA at New York University. The Jewel started off as a thesis project but became her debut novel. The second novel in the trilogy is The White Rose. She lives in New York City. Visit Amy online at www.amyewingbooks.com.

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The Jewel 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 46 reviews.
lovelygen13 More than 1 year ago
I received the UK paperback copy from the publisher Walker Books in exchange for an honest review. The royals can’t have children and this is why they bring in the surrogates, seeing as these specific girls are able to bear healthy children. Every year, an auction takes place so the royals can buy their own surrogate. Violet is one of the surrogates, and even though this wasn’t a live she wanted, the Duchess of the House of the Lake, is kind to her but things are not always as they seem and there are secrets Violet still needs to uncover. The Jewel is very brutal and dark, at times. It is not easy to read, though. I would flinch and cringe at various scenes. I would bite my nails a few times because this was intense to read. When I went into this story, I thought it was a Contemporary book, but I was so wrong. It is a mixture between Fantasy and Dystopian and readers will devour this story in a heartbeat. The ending had my heart racing faster than throughout the book and so hard it might have popped out of my chest. I loved my journey with this story. It is so different from anything I have read and so intriguing. I recommend this book to readers that are looking for something new, something daring, something brutal and engaging.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was scattered. It took too long for the story to develop, the relationship didn't even happen til almost 75% of the book was done. The plot felt undeveloped and way too slow at times yet never really coming to a real story point. I felt like there are many books with the same story premise out there that are written better.
Brooke-The-Cover-Contessa More than 1 year ago
I would like to thank Harper Teen for providing me with an ARC of this book to read and give an honest review. Receiving this book for free has in no way influenced my opinion or review. I really wanted to love this book and I’m truly torn as to how to rate it. There were elements I really enjoyed and there were those that made me want to throw the book across the room. First off, the blurb sounded fantastic. I love dystopian reads and this one seemed right up my ally. And then there’s the cover lust I had. Yes, I am not afraid to admit that often I choose books simply based on the absolutely gorgeous covers they project. And this one fit that bill for sure. So given the chance to grab a copy of this, I scooped it right up, if only to touch the beautiful cover! Meet Violet. I’ll be honest and say I felt absolutely no connection to her for the entirety of the book. This made it hard for me to empathize with her in any way, shape or form. She’s naïve, which is not uncommon for the main character in a dystopian book, but it’s to the point that everything seems to be a shock to her. And to me, it was hard to see exactly why she was so special. Why was she the main character, what made her different than all the other surrogates that she had to be singled out? I really didn’t see it. I do understand that her abilities put her at a great advantage for those who purchase her, she ranks very high amongst the 200 surrogates who are up for auction. But I’m still not sure why Lucien, the person who prepares her for the auction and subsequently becomes her savior, sees in her that makes him choose her over all others. Most of the characters are forgettable for me, including their names. I can remember how mean the Duchess is although she has moments where she seems to have some sympathy for Violet. Even her lady in waiting, who cannot speak, is fairly forgettable. I didn’t feel a depth to the characters that made me want to like them. And it was hard for me to see any development with them. The plot of this book is very interesting, although the similarities to a few other dystopians I have read is eerily annoying. Not only is it highly reminiscent of The Hunger Games, but I even say elements of Divergent, Eve, and The Chemical Gardens laced throughout. I do like the idea that these girls are being used to create royalty because their genes are better fit for it. It’s interesting how they are treated like slaves yet need to be just as presentable as the royalty. Even the “leashes” that are used on the girls are of fine quality. The idea of using girls in this way is very disturbing. And I could not figure out at what point in time this book takes place. Is it the future? Maybe it’s more of a fantasy type world? I just didn’t know. But while the plot is interesting, the world building is lacking. I have no idea why this world evolved the way it did. Why did the government, or more likely the monarchy, take over? Was there a revolution? Was there a catastrophic event? It’s never fleshed out. And the romance for me was not believable. Not only does it come very late in the book, which I could understand if you needed to make sure the world building was complete, but it is inst-love and I just didn’t find it believable. The pacing for me was off. At times, it was so slow I had to put the book down. At other times I wanted to race through to see what was going to happen. There was no happy medium. And I will say the slow parts far outweighed the faster parts for me. Overall the book was terrible it just wasn’t fantastic for me. I wanted more depth to not only the characters but the plot and the world building. I wanted to feel Violet’s frustration, her anger, her angst, her fear. But I just didn’t get a complete understanding of her or the other characters. I will say that I would still probably read the next book because the ending left me with wanting more.
majibookshelf More than 1 year ago
The Jewel is both unique but also a cliche in the dystopian genre. Don't get me wrong, I love the concept of this book, and the ending! that was very shocking, however there seems to always be an underlying plot mold that dystopian authors always follow nowadays and The Jewel wasn't fortunate enough to escape that. Our main protagonist, Violet is a surrogate, this took a while to explain and I liked that there wasn't info dumping from the beginning. Violet can manipulate things, such as color, shape, and also growth. At a young age everyone is tested for these skills and if you do possess them then you become the properly of the government, grow up in facilities until your auction day where you are sold to the highest bidder, think sex trafficking but instead of that, it is surrogacy. I liked Violet, she was logical, wasn't impulsive but still had a little rebellious side to her. I was warned that there will be insta-love in this book and while I didn't feel it was 100% insta-love, I really disliked the romance and how it changed Violet. To be totally honest I wanted Violet to fall for someone else in the palace and was secretly begging the author to take this non cliche route as opposed to the one she ended up taking. However like I have been doing lately, I completely ignored the romance and focused on the plot. The characters in this book are definitely complex, the main one being the duchess, the woman who bought Violet. She is initially made out to be evil but then I glimpse something heartbreaking or vulnerable from her and I started rethinking my initial judgment. I also didn't know who to trust, I even thought some people who were helping Violet escape were actually going to betray her so kudos to the author for keeping me on my toes and surprising me there. The writing flowed easily and, as I mentioned, there wasn't any info dumping. There was enough information withholding to keep you guessing but not frustrated. Finding this balance for dystopian and mystery novels is very important. There was also a balance between dialogues, monologues, and descriptive paragraphs. Honestly I don't require a book to be completely filled with dialogues but I do require its monologues and descriptive paragraphs to be interesting. As for the ending, I honestly wasn't expecting it and again, I'm happy the author was able to surprise me. That ending alone is going to make me want to pick up the sequel and continue on reading about this world and Violet. Another book similar to this plot is Reckoning by Kerry Wilkinson, with the whole being locked up in a palace and wanting a way out. It's interesting to see dystopian books now are leaning towards this sort of plot line. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Can't wait for the next book!
lindsaycummings More than 1 year ago
My first thought about THE JEWEL was that the gorgeous silver cover was strangely similar to the covers for THE SELECTION series. I wasn't sure, after reading the synopsis, if this book would also have a similar plot. I was totally wrong. In one word, THE JEWEL is FANTASTIC. When I began reading, I was pleasantly surprised by the writing style and the very xmen like twist that this "ball gown" story took on. THE JEWEL is brilliant and unique, and so creepy in the way the society is run, that I found myself unable to put it down. I flew through all 368 pages in just a few days (in the middle of a huge move and edit, as well--- it was that good!). In Violet Lasting's world, identity isn't important. She's not a name; she's just a number. As a surrogate, raised to bear a child for whatever member of the royal Jewel section of society purchases her in an auction, Violet has been trained for years to be submissive and poised and perfectly fine with being in the background.  The twist to this story comes with something called the Auguries: special powers that each surrogate has, where they can change the colors and shapes of objects, as well as grow things. In Violet's case, the third augury, Growth, is her best gift. When Violet is taken to the auction and purchased by the Duchess of the Lake, she's thrown into a world full of fancy balls and mansions and dresses and makeup. But there's a dark side to Violet's new, glittering world. There's death. There's destruction. There are lies and manipulations, and somehow, very well-twisted into the middle of it all, is forbidden love. Violet soon discovers that she can never be who she truly wants to be. Danger is around every corner. Love is not an option. And when Violet discovers she might have a way out, even darker secrets are revealed. The characters are wonderfully fleshed out, from Violet herself, to her fellow surrogate and best friend Raven, to the horrible Duchess of the Lake. Even Violet's maid, Annabelle, a girl who can't speak, was so well done that I felt like I knew her. The love interest, Ashe, is totally shiptastic. This story is just incredible. I fell in love with it, and by the time I finished (warning: there's a cliffhanger!), it was 1am and I was dying for book 2. THE JEWEL is definitely not a copy of any other story---it stands out on its own, and is sure to be a bestseller. Fantastic. I loved the terrifying, beautiful world that Amy Ewing created. I need book 2 now! (And I've preordered my own hardcover copy for my personal shelves!)
Anonymous 4 months ago
This books was much better than I was expecting it to be. I'm completely hooked and can't wait to read the second book!
Anonymous 5 months ago
Kiss your hand three times an post this on three other page and look under your pillow.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MintyBook More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BooksPixsCoffeeFix More than 1 year ago
4.5/5 Stars The Jewel- Short Synopsis This story is about a girl named Violet, there are five parts to her world, the Marsh, the Farm, the Smoke, the Bank, and the Jewel. Violet is a surrogate, or supposed to be in anyways. She was taken from her home when she was a young teen and moved to the building where all the surrogates live. She lives there with her best friend Raven and many others. All the surrogates have special powers called the auguries. They can make things grow, and change the color or shape of objects . The surrogates are there to have the royal babies. Each one will get bought by a royal in the Jewel or a person in the Bank. The day before the auction, Violet gets to go home for the first time in years. She is taken to her house in the Marsh. Her parents are very excited to see her, yet her sister whom she was closest to, runs outside. It was hard for her to see her sister, since she had been gone for so many years, and important moments in her life. Her sister's name is Hazel, and she is almost 13 and Violet worries she to, will become a surrogate. It is the best day Violet has ever had, better than the delicious food, and the wonderful care at the surrogate home. She loves it more that anything, because it is her home, and her family is finally together. The next day Violet travels to the Jewel for the auction . The auction orders the surrogates from 1 to 200 is based upon their power one is the worst 200 is the best Violet is Lot 197.When getting pre-paired for the Auction, a man named Lucien does Violet’s hair and makeup, Lucien is a very kind, wise man. They get to know each other and become friends. Violet is sold to the Duchess of the Lake. The Duchess of the Lake is a evil and cruel royal, but to be honest she is one of the nicer ones. The Duchess will kill anyone who gets in her way. The Duchess gives Violet nice care at the palace and proper meals, but only when she does exactly what the Duchess says. The Duchess later finds out the Electress (Head of Royalty) is having a baby boy and immediately tries to get Violet to have a baby girl so her daughter and the Electress’ son can be married one day. Violet has two miscarriages in the book, and does not have a child. The Queen’s niece lives at the palace and has a companion named Ash, Ash and Violet have a secret romantic relationship through the book. Violet’s powers get stronger every day through her training that the Queen is giving her by Violets doctor. She realizes her powers may be strong enough to save the world maybe. My review: I thoroughly enjoyed this book and could not put it down. I gave it 4.5 out of five stars because it was confusing in some parts, but not many. This book is beautifully written and I enjoyed every second of it.I enjoyed learning about Violet story and along with the other characters such as Garnet and Raven. This story will keep you on your toes with the just of correct amount of magic romance and action. Amy Ewing is a fantastic author, and I enjoyed each of her books. I would recommend this book overall but it could be confusing or strange for younger team readers (Under 13).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If your thinking about reading it you don't want to miss out on this great book. If your only thinking about it and going to add it to the bottom of your list you should move it to the top.
BlkosinerBookBlog More than 1 year ago
I liked the main character and premise. Romance felt like insta-love. Agree with others that it has "The Selection" by Cass feel. Will continue the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm looking forward to reading the series.
WhatsBeyondForks More than 1 year ago
This book had a definite 'The Selection' vibe to it with the main characters from lower levels of society being plucked out and put into the houses of the rich and royalty. And Lucien reminds me soooo much of Cinna from The Hunger Games. Before you roll your eyes and think "unoriginal", take note that I did rate this book four stars, because with all that being said, it still stands on its own feet pretty well. Violet and Ash are attracted to each other immediately, then he finds out she's a surrogate. Game changer. Life of a surrogate it pretty crazy. Some are treated well, some not so great. All are treated as if they are pets with their leashes and collars. I liked Garnet right away. He's obnoxious and causes trouble, but you know me! That always gets my attention in a character. I can't help it. So yeah. I'm already Team Garnet, and I don't even know if he's supposed to have a team. The Jewel kept my attention with very little down time, and what about that ending? I didn't want it to end just yet!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
No ending. The story just stopped.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kept my attention and interest but the love affair was rushed and lacked depth and tension.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hard to put down, and thought about it when I wasn't reading it. Can't wait too read the next one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This cover reminds me of the Selection Series, specifically The Heir.
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
Violet Lasting's life changed forever with one blood test. Instead of living a happy life with her family in the Marsh, the poorest section of the Lone City, Violent is whisked away to a holding facility. The next four years are spent preparing for life as a Surrogate. Violet has known for years that the day would come, but it is still an immense shock to be sold at auction and moved into the city's wealthy center, the Jewel. In a city obsessed with pure blood and status, the royals are unable to produce healthy children without the use of Surrogates like Violet. Life in the Jewel will mean untold wealth and luxury. But it will also mean countless humiliations and punishments. While she walks a fine like between obedience and contempt, Violet learns that there is more to the Jewel than meets the eye. Learning more could mean finding a way out before the Jewel swallows her whole. But it could also mean disastrous consequences when Violet begins an illicit relationship in secret in The Jewel (2014) by Amy Ewing. The Jewel is Ewing's debut novel. It is also the first book in The Lone City trilogy. Ewing offers a promising debut in this novel that is equal parts gritty and engrossing. Unfortunately what potential this story has to go in a unique direction is dashed at the halfway mark when an unexpected and largely unnecessary romance develops. In addition to adding little to the story, this relationship is also painfully lacking in foundation as instant attracting quickly turns to what can only be called instant love. While the flaws in the romance aspect of The Jewel can be overlooked, poorly executed world building cannot. Instead of evoking an eerie world with her descriptions and back story, Ewing does little to clarify the world of the Jewel or the rest of the Lone City. No explanation is given for this segmented society or the construction of the Lone City itself. Finally, although Violet constantly talks about the pressure she feels to escape her life as a surrogate, the urgency never comes across as something real or palpable. A cliffhanger ending promises more twists and intrigue, but those promises are largely too late. While readers looking for books in a certain vein will find another entertaining story in The Jewel, those looking for a story that is as well-rounded as it is engaging will be better served elsewhere. Possible Pairings: Crewel by Gennifer Albin, Eve by Anna Carey, The Selection by Kiera Cass, Wither by Lauren DeStefano, Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, Legend by Marie Lu, For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund *A copy of this book was acquired for review consideration from the publisher at BEA 2014*
Goldenfurproductions More than 1 year ago
MY THOUGHTS  Isn't that such a beautiful cover? The first time I saw the cover I immediately wanted to read it! Thankfully, this book does not follow the cover-fraud rule, where the cover is better than the book. Yes, this book was not the best book I've ever read, but I did love it! One thing that I really really liked about this book was the amount of world-building that went into it. There was so much involved in the making of this world and the world feels so different than our own, yet so similar and I just found that amazing. I found the auguries interesting, yet odd. You'll know more about the auguries when you read the book, but auguries are basically special abilities that surrogates, like Violet, have where they can change the color, shape, or make something grow. Anyway, I found it fascinating that they had this, but I couldn't understand why. I'm actually really excited to see more about this in future books. And the characters were all well-developed. They weren't flat or cardboard characters at all! And I really appreciated this!  My ONLY issue with this book was the romance. The romance wasn't really introduced until maybe the last 30% of the book, but it did ruin things for me. The romance was similar to insta-love, but not quite. Violet meets love interest and there is definitely attraction, but the two don't actually start anything with one another until later. When they begin to admit the attraction they do get very into each other and they believe really quickly that they love each other and they will be able to stay together. I understand that in real life romance like this may happen, but in real life having these romances won't potentially get you killed (usually). This is what irritated me about the romance. I felt like they were being idiots. They knew that this could get them hurt or killed, yet they kept believing that they weren't going to get caught. Now, the ending, I oddly liked. Oddly, because this book ends in a cliffhanger and I usually hate cliffhangers. But I kind of like the mysterious way that the book left off on... IN CONCLUSION  This book has a lot going on for it! Great world-building, 3-dimensional characters, interesting ideas, but the romance really fell flat. Even though the romance stole the show in the last 20% of the book, I'm not letting it ruin my full opinion of the book. Everything else about this book was great and, oddly, the cliffhanger ending made everything better!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best samples ever! ( chukle chuckle )