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.
Page Length: 358
Publication Year: 2014
Genre: Dystopia/Young Adult/SciFi
Characters: Violet, Ash, and Raven
I think the blurb for this book really undersells it. My main motivation for reading this was that I was looking for something different and this defiantly hit the spot. It’s told from Violets POV in the first person. I found the writing style very easy to read and I was quickly sucked in by the storyline.
Violet was taken from her family at the age of 12 to be trained as a surrogate for Royalty. This is because the Royal blood line has become damaged, babies are either born sick or deformed if a royal tries to bare a child themselves. Surrogates are used as they have an ability called The Augries, these Augeries help repair the damage in the royal embryos.
I found the concept of this book fascinating. There are lots of secrets and lies surrounding the Royal people. There are 5 families (if I remember correctly) and it seems they are in competition with each other. The Duchess that Violet is a surrogate for comes across as a bit unhinged, she wants to have Violet to use the Augries to speed up her pregnancy so that she gives birth within 3 months of getting pregnant. 1 month per trimester, from what can gather this is so she can secure a more advantageous marriage for her daughter.
Violet, I spent the vast majority of this book feeling sorry for, she has had all of her choices taken away from her. I liked that she was quite strong-willed and that she took some huge risks especially when it came to Ash. I also liked that she was fiercely loyal to Raven, to the point she sacrifices her freedom to save her. I can’t wait to read whats next for her!
Ash, his character is introduced quite late in the story, he is a “companion” aka escort for the royal family that Violet is with. He chose this way of life to help pay for his sick sister’s medical treatment. Like Violet, he has no freedom and has not seen his family since becoming an escort.
I can totally see why they fall in love with each other and why they continue to see each despite the risk of them being caught.
“I want you forever, Ash, but that’s not going to happen and I get that. But I’ll take you for as much time as I can have, and I won’t waste a single second of it.”
I didn’t really fall in love with this book until the last few chapters, up until then I wasn’t convinced that I would continue with the trilogy, but ending definitely made me want to read more about Violet and to find out what happens next. If you enjoy dystopian/fantasy books with a little science fiction thrown in I would recommend this to you.
My Rating 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟
The ebook version is free on Amazon UK at the moment