ARC Review: The Jewel by Amy Ewing

The Jewel (The Lone City, #1)Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Dystopia
Release Date:  September 1st 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Check out on GOODREADS

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.

review

Another example of wasted potential, The Jewel could have been the next big thing for many other readers–if not for that shitty, awful romance. That’s pretty bad, considering I almost NEVER say something is awful–I call a lot of things shitty, but awful. That is a hundred times worse than shitty in the Language of Aimee.

Oh, and noticed how I said “many other readers”? Yes, because even without said shitty, awful romance, this book is just not for me. It was a bit similar to The Hunger Games (they had rings around the city and the larger rings are for the poorer sectors) and The Selection (the atmosphere and writing), but there were really just some stupid things I couldn’t understand about this one. *grabs notes* Let’s get started, friends.

“I have absolutely no idea what it must be like to be pregnant.”

What. The. Hell? Weren’t these girls brought up to be surrogates in the future? Why does it seem like Violet seem to have zero idea about pregnancy? Throughout the novel, she was basically ignorant and constantly confused–just SNAP OUT OF IT AND GET A GRIP ON YOURSELF, OKAY?

This novel was also had a billion cliche scenes/lines. I mean, how many times have you read about the girl “in the mirror” as she “transformed”? That’s seriously one of the most annoying bookish scenes ever, and I can’t help but cringe every time I read about those.

And drama. Drama llamas everywhere, people! The Jewel could totally be turned into the next High School Musical. Really, the characters have already practiced! See:

Her voice is sweet and she sings a traditional Marsh-song, one we all know.

[…]

Two other girls join in.

And here we go: the romance. Excuse me while I go laugh hysterically, folks! Because this romance gave me a huge migraine. I feel like vomiting just thinking about it. But still, I present to you THE STAGES OF THE ROMANCE IN THE JEWEL(Take note that the novel is only about 350 pages long, so these are actually really close to each other.)

  1. They meet. They lock eyes. What can Violet say about Ash’s eyes? “[T]hey look at me in a way that makes me feel hollow and strangely buzzy.” (51% in the eARC)
  2. When Violet leaves Ash’s room, she thinks of kissing him. (53.8% in the eARC)
  3. A few hours after they first met, when they meet again, Violet says, “My whole body feels like it’s blushing.” (54.3% in the eARC)
  4. First kiss. (70.7% in the eARC)
  5. Second kiss. (73.9% in the eARC)
  6. Admission of love. (85.7% in the eARC)
  7. They get married, ride off into the sunset and have babies. (Hopefully NEVER.)

Okay, I should get over that. Moving on!

This book also had some fantasy elements mixed in. I did appreciate that, since fantasy is my favorite genre, but I still have many unanswered questions in my mind about the magic and sorcery in this book. Well, I had questions about ALMOST EVERYTHING, actually. Why were there surrogates? How come only magic-wielding girls can be surrogates? I also felt like the fantasy aspect of the novel was just forced into it–it didn’t really seem to fit with the mood of the story, but maybe that’s just me.

One last thing: STEREOTYPING. Women were portrayed as either too helpless and idiotic (Violet) or vicious and bitchy (basically all of the women who bought surrogates). Men were portrayed as handsome and always drunk (Garnet–the only character I could tolerate) or kind gentlemen (Ash–*pukes*). Where are the normal, average, REALISTIC people?

The only positive thing I can say about the book is that I did enjoy Ewing’s writing. It was easy to read and I just flew through the pages without much reading-related problems.

Well, this review turned out a lot longer than I planned. Anyway, I’m off to bleach my brain after re-thinking about this novel.

Potato Question - The Jewel

Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
World-building
Romance
Impact
Overall: 1.4
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Aimee
Aimee is a sixteen year old bookworm from the Phillipines! She reads any book that catches her attention, but she mostly reads YA. She's into graphic design, writing and sleeping. You can find her at Deadly Darlings, The Book Geek, Goodreads and on Twitter.
Aimee

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  1. laila bc says

    pretty cover…too bad about the characters and general plot…okay first thing comes to mind right now is Halo by Ardonetto (i don’t remember if i got her last name right) but seriously that angel/human romance was just bad and like the heroine was an effin’ special snowflake of an angel. But still i tortured myself more and read Hades just for laughs and so i can see where that train wreck was going.

  2. says

    I don’t think I’ve ever read a positive review for this book now that I think about it *sigh* I was so excited for the book (mind you I have a weakness for pretty covers with pretty dresses on them) but pretty much every review I’ve read says terrible things about the romance. Just reading how everything goes from your review already has me going mad! I mean, talk about insta-love :(
    Lily recently posted…Ugly Love:ReviewMy Profile

  3. says

    *pukes all over* *and again* Honestly, I’m fucking sick of YA romance. They’re like a broken record. Plus, they rarely get it on in a way to get me all hot and bothered. Bring on the adult romance please!!! XD

    But hey, mind bleach could be used for positive reasons. Like, I just read The Secret Place and it was soooooooooo good, I want to cleanse my mind and read it again. Heheh I’m a regular bucket of sunshine.
    Stuti recently posted…The Secret PlaceMy Profile

  4. says

    Well, going by your review it seems like this book is another one of those “pretty cover, not so pretty content” cases… Insta love and cliched characters… not something I’d be too keen on, so I think I’d be skipping this one!
    Thank you for the honest review, Aimee!
    Pili recently posted…Tell Me Tuesdays #8!!My Profile

  5. says

    Oh no! I was sooo excited about this one, and to see how it actually is. *so sad* It kind of consists of all thing I usually don’t like in a book and avoid.

    Breathe by Sarah Crossan was kind of like that for me. I was really excited about it, and then puff, everything I don’t like is in it. So frustrating!
    Anatea recently posted…2nd Blogoversary!My Profile

  6. says

    Ouch. Yeah, I kinda gave this one 4 stars. I mean I get you and this insta love annoyed me as well, but I really liked this whole atmosphere (I haven’t read The Selection so I guess it was all new to me) and also the whole idea. I got sucked in the story, but yes many people will dislike this one and there are good reasons for that. Sorry it wasn’t for you. Great review, Aimee :)
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  7. says

    Oh wow, Faye just reviewed this on the blog and it was a 1 star rating too! O.o

    I can totally understand your feelings for this book though, it really sucks when a story fails because of a disappointing and forced romance. I get annoyed when the book is more ‘telling’ than ‘showing’ or ‘doing’. Should we believe pf what this two peolel actually feel for each other by just stating that fact? Uh, I don’t think so! And it looks like there’s just too much loopholes with the plot and way too many unanswered questions. I haven’t read Faye’s review, but it looks to me that I’m just going to have to pass on this one. Lovely review Aimee!
    Amir recently posted…ARC Review: The Jewel by Amy EwingMy Profile

  8. says

    Hahahah I was wondering what this book was about. I LOVE YOUR REVIEW THOUGH! I also hate when stereotyping happens, it’s very annoying. I want something fresh, and then I get the usual lol. The last book that made me want to rip my hair out was definitely Earth Star (Earth Girl #2). The girl MC in there just got everything she wanted. She was so special, it was annoying :P

    Again, thanks for the review! Off to read Faye’s review LOL!
    Valerie recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday #22My Profile

  9. says

    Yep the romance killed it for me, too. As soon as the love interest was introduced I was like uh-ohh….
    I also felt like the writing was cliched and repetitive, and I wasn’t really feeling anything towards the mc. She was pretty meh, and then once the insta-love begun she was just plain annoying. >_<

    Great review!
    Rneu recently posted…The Perilous Sea by Sherry ThomasMy Profile

  10. says

    I pretty much felt the same way about this, Aimee. The romance was such a disaster. I was actually enjoying the creepiness of the whole surrogate situation, but then the romance came and pretty much ruined my whole enjoyment of the book. This is one of those books that could have excelled with a stronger romance or no romance.
    Great review! I’m sorry you were so disappointed with it as well, but I can’t say I’m surprised.
    Nick @ Nick’s Book Blog recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday (83) : The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler & The Start of Me and You by Emery LordMy Profile

  11. says

    I was so looking forward to The Jewel but recently I’ve found so many bad reviews and the things you say sounds so horrible. I’m still going to read it though, at least I think I will, I’m not sure how many bad critics I can bear to read lol.
    I’m sad it didn’t work out for you.
    Great review. :)
    Veronika recently posted…Bully by Penelope Douglas (Fall Away #1)My Profile

  12. says

    Bahaha I actually was looking at what ARC to read next and read your review of this about 3-4 days ago. You also are not the only one who was not a fan of this romance! And Violet sounds like someone I would NOT like at all. And if I don’t like a main character, this ain’t gonna go well >.< And omg that romance! So cliché and full of blah! And LOL @ #7! Too bad though I was hoping this one would be a winner I like the premise even if it's similar to others I've read. Plus that cover! I decided to read something else instead when I saw the not-so-pretty reviews of this one, but I still might give it a try if I run out of ARCs! Baha!

  13. says

    I recently read a positive review for this, however now I think that may have been balanced out. I definitely do not like the sound of stereotyped females, because as a feminist, I hate it when women are not portrayed in positive ways or equal respects.
    In addition, the romance does not sound great. Definitely on the fence about reading this one now.
    Hope you enjoy your next book more.
    Liv_TheAbsentHistorian recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday #2My Profile

  14. says

    Haha…yeah, I think the plot of this reminded everyone of The Selection, so it’s a shame that the two are similar in execution as well. :( Most reviews have been saying the same thing as you though Aimee. To be honest, I wasn’t really expecting much from this anyway, but your points have made me very hesitant. I’m not a huge fan of instalove or poorly developed romance AT ALL; and Violet sounds absolutely irritating here with her special snowflake act and ignorant behavior.

    I think I’m going to give a pass on this one. Thanks for taking one for the team though Aimee! <3 Brilliant review. xD
    Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf recently posted…The Body in the WoodsMy Profile

  15. says

    Aimee . . . *snickers* . . . okay, so I liked this book a bit more than you did, but yeah, I DEFINITELY had problems too. The romance was ridiculous, and so many things reminded me of The Hunger Games. And . . . I also have this HUGE peeve about violet eyes . . . it just annoys the shit out of me, b/c NO SUCH THING. That being said, I also thought Ewing’s writing was fantastic. YEP. Lots of problems. Sorry this book made you want to bleach your brain. The last book that made me want to bleach my brain was some prequel novella I can’t remember the name of, and good riddance ;) Great review!
    Jessica @ Rabid Reads recently posted…Question: Do You Actually Get Around To Reading Your “Someday” Pile?My Profile

  16. says

    Omg, this is bad but I’m laughing so hard. Especially when you crossed out #7! XD *collapses into insane giggles* OKAY. But I get it. The characters sound 100% clueless. I was actually wanting to read this, but now? Um…I hate stereotypes. They drive me a little bit crazy(er) every time I read one.

    I just finished the House of Night novellas and YUS. Pass the bleach. I want to forget I even attempted them.
    Cait @ Notebook Sisters recently posted…A Very Sensible List On Why I Love The Book ThiefMy Profile

  17. says

    “My whole body feels like it’s blushing.” Oh boy. *sniggers* I’ve heard about the romance in this one and I will not endure it, nope. And it looks like the characters here are clearly plop down in two very different sections. Personally, I like complex characters. I have quite a number of books I would want to have never read in the first place. Most recently, it was Ghost House by Alexandra Adornetto. Ugh.
    Sarah P. recently posted…Review: Words and their Meanings by Kate BassettMy Profile

  18. says

    I hate to say it.. but some book would be much much BETTER without the pointless romance! It ruins everything!!! Shame, look at that cover and that premise. I still have to read it, sadly, because I have the arc. :( Thanks for the heads up, Aimee!

    Awesome and funny review!! <3
    Paula M. @ Her Book Thoughts! recently posted…ARC REVIEW: Tell Me Again How A Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan a.k.a i’m curious about that feeling as wellMy Profile

  19. says

    NOOOOOOOOO. Meh, this is another negative review I’ve read—just in time for when I’ve decided to read this book. But it was brilliant anyways, hun! I’ve decided to read my e-ARC of this book really soon (since Jeann decided not to, maybe it was because of all of these negative reviews coming out) and I’m now afraid. Really afraid. The romance sucked? Bleh. I adore beautiful romance—I’m a sucker! Insta-love? Weak characters? Oh, gosh. I have to brace myself for this, you funny warlock of awesome reviewing. :)
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  20. says

    HAHA. YES. Yes to all of this. Her stupidity, the horrible insta-love/romance. Just.. no.
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