Friday, August 1, 2014

Review: THE JEWEL by Amy Ewing

Title: The Jewel 
Author: Amy Ewing
Publication date: September 2, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: an e-galley provided by the publisher for an honest review

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.

I'm such a sucker. A naive, little reader who gets cover cover lust. Also, legitimate synopsis desires. I wasn't a fan of The Selection, despite the fact that the dresses are beautiful and the synopsis is addicting. The Selection did continue to get me to read its books, but only because it resembled a guilty pleasure reality TV show and I wanted to know what happened (and regretted doing so). The Jewel resembles it in a way. Same pretty cover, same amazing synopsis, and same disappointing and guilty pleasure. But worse in some areas and better than others. 

I won't be comparing the two through the review because, even though they both made me really angry, it's not fair. Violet is actually a pretty good main character at first. She has me interested in her life, her family, and her situation. I care about her and especially about her best friend Raven. I wanted to know more and I felt excited at the book's prospects. 

Then it crashed. And it was bad. 

We're introduced to Ash, who's relationship to the family was a bit confusing to me. He was the Duchess's niece's companion who did sexual favors? and completely off-limits to Violet, the Duchess's property. Of course, they apparently hit it right off and in no time flat, are confessing their undying love to each other. 

What. Just. Happened. WHAT JUST HAPPENED? I stared in shock at my iPad and was trying to figure out how Violet and the whole book suddenly took a downward spiral. 

I think I tried to wipe away what I just read from my brain because after a few weeks, I couldn't really remember all their transgressions. But here are a couple of Goodreads updates: 

47%: Speaking about your irrationality is not the same as as removing it. Please fix yourself.

68%: I now think this is turning into stupidity and I hate that I've stayed up late when I have work in the morning. 

I finished the book and gave it 2 stars for two reasons: 
  1. I liked the beginning. It deserves SOME credit for that. 
  2. Raven. I'm telling you, I liked Raven. When we got into that nasty Ash business, I wanted to ditch Violet and go straight to poor Raven. 
While I did notice that The Jewel avoided some cliches, it didn't avoided the biggest. It gave me insta-love and all the tropes that go with it when Ash came into the picture. I think some people will still enjoy this because that doesn't matter to them (or they even like it), which is fine. I think The Selection fans will either love it because of The Selection or hate it because it's compared to The Selection

Verdict: Disappointing to the max. 

How do you like insta-love? Do you DNF if a book you're reading goes into a downward spiral FAST? 


  1. Ouch! Sorry you didn't enjoy this one. I've been seeing similar reviews all over the place, that it's like The Selection in that it has a pretty cover and nothing else. That's unfortunate. I was looking forward to reading this one too. The things you pointed out would bug me too. Thanks for honest review.

  2. I hated it because it was compared to The Selection. I'm not the HUGEST fan of The Selection trilogy (and I easily recognize several of its faults), but the fact that The Jewel's cover basically copied The Selection trilogy's bothered me to no end.

    And, yes, the insta-love and stupidity associated with it bothered me a lot, too. Perfect use of the Maleficent gif!

  3. Oh no!! *drops head* I'm crushed! Like you I just can't help myself, and I totally fall for the covers. ESPECIALLY the gorgeous dresses ones. I guess it's my inner princess popping through. I'm sorry you didn't like this one. I'm so hesitant to read it after seeing a couple other ratings like yours. I hope your next read is better. :(

  4. UGH! The Selection comparison was immediately off-putting, but the rest of this just sounds icky. The Ash guy gives me the creeps from your description of him, and though I think instant attraction is real, instant love is not. If you think you love someone this much after days, you do not. I'm also worried about the cliffhanger. I'm puttying this on hold and will possibly pick up the series later if it gets better, but I'm not remaining hopeful. Thanks for the review!

  5. Ash is the nieces companion as in lover? But he somehow has a relationship with Violet too? I'm not liking the sound of this already, but to be honest, I wouldn't have picked this book up just because of the comparison to The Selection. I hate The Bachelor and if I remember correctly that book was compared to the show. No thanks. I can do insta-love on some rare occasions, and as far as DNF, if a book is ticking me off I have no problem putting it aside. I have a limited amount of time to read and I'm not going to waste it on something that annoys me. Great review, Summer! :)

  6. Oh dear! I was wary of The Jewel, right when I first spotted that cover. But to hear some of my reservations confirmed brings home the point that I was probably correct to avoid reading it. While it turned out to be an overall not-so-good experience, I'm glad there were at least a few things that made it worth your while.

  7. Oh man, I've heard such bad things about this book. I picked it up at BEA thinking it was going to be one of my favorites, but with what everyone else is saying.... yeah, I might have to put this off for a while. I don't like the fact that there's insta-love (though points for no love triangle), and I'm definitely turned off by the "male prostitute" description others have given him. :/

  8. My feelings on The Selection are exactly the same as yours, so I was already a bit nervous about this similar-sounding book. After reading your review, I think I should remove it from my TBR. Ash just sounds icky and creepy, and the rest sounds either bland or annoying. Thanks for the review - you've probably just saved me from getting hooked on another series that I don't actually like but feel compelled to read. (I'm still reading The One, though. Because that's what The Selection trilogy has done to my brain. -_-)

  9. I agree with Maleficent. This one shall not be making the cut. On a side note, I know exactly what you mean- hating yourself for having stayed up late reading something awful when there's work in the morning. Been there, done that way too many times.

  10. Not gonna lie...all the comparisons I'm seeing to The Selection are a major turn-off. I mean, I read all of the books in that series, but like you, it was more of a guilty pleasure, so addicting that I couldn't NOT find out how it all ended. But I was still sorely disappointed by it all. I was supposed to buddy read this with April, but I may leave her to it instead of wasting my time on it.