Book Review: The Jewel by Amy Ewing

The Jewel (The Lone City, #1)The Jewel by Amy Ewing
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Meh.

Think that pretty much sums up my feelings about this book. Didn’t love it. Didn’t hate it. Just didn’t really care that much about it. Possibly I’ve just read too many YA dystopian books recently and need a break but it felt like this story had so much potential but just got stuck in the same formula as every other one.

The story follows Violet, a seventeen year old girl who was chosen at a young age to be a surrogate for the royalty. She has to say goodbye to her poor but honest and loving family and be auctioned off to the highest bidder. She is one of the highest ranked surrogates in her year due to her ability to manipulate energy so is snapped up by a Duchess from one of the four founding families.

However while on the surface it seems like a life of luxury there is a lot of manoeuvring and game playing among the royal families and Violet has to keep in favour if she is to survive. Then she meets Ash, companion to the Duchess’s niece, and she falls in love putting both their lives at risk.

This is quite an easy and quick read and the story flows well but I felt like not a huge amount happened. Books like this make me think the author is dragging out what could be one book to a series. There are a lot of similarities to other books such as the Hunger Games, the Selection and even a bit of Harry Potter so not much stands out as being particularly original.

Violet as a character was ok. A bit naive, a little rebellious and very caring but for the most part kind of boring. Ash the romantic interest wasn’t much better. He’s essentially hired to romance and flirt with the niece so should be handsome and charming but while we’re told repeatedly how good looking he is I couldn’t see the attraction.

The whole romance between Violet and Ash just wasn’t believable to me. They spend literally five minutes together and they are madly in love and willing to risk their lives? Sorry, but no, I don’t buy it. If there had been a bit more banter or even just a little conversation I might have accepted it but there is absolutely no spark.

Worryingly the one character I did like was the Duchess who is supposed to be the baddie of the piece. She is manipulative, scheming, violent and at times sad but she knows what she wants and she goes for it. For me she was definitely one of the most interesting characters. Everyone else felt a bit stereotypical and dull.

The story does pick up around the end but by then I wasn’t sure I cared what happened. I am slightly annoyed by the cliffhanger at the end as it seems another sign that the author is dragging the story out and trying to get readers to buy the next one.

I’m not sure I care enough and I’m sure it will be another drawn out story leading to a further cliffhanger and no real answers to all of the questions raised.

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