Title: The Jewel
Author: Amy Ewing
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Dystopian Fiction
Series: The Lone City, book one
Star Rating: 4.5 Out of 5 Stars
I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.
Me, after reading this frightening, powerful, dark little book:
This has got to be one of the most hard-hitting books in the dystopian genre, for the whole year of 2015. Despite seeming like a mixture of The Handmaid's Tale, The Chemical Garden series by Lauren DeStefano, as well as some ringing references of Megan McCafferty's novel Thumped, I really enjoyed it, despite some minor flaws.
Violet Lasting will be known as Lot 197 after she leaves her home, The Marsh, to go up for Auction in the Jewel. Lot 197's sole purpose for the wealthy Founding families of the Jewel is to have children for them. When she is bought, and owned, by such a family, Violet begins to learn that despite having everything she could ever want or need, she would much rather be with her family, and free to make her own choices.
I loved almost everything about this novel: the vivid, exquisite prose, which seduced as much as frightened me, the characters, from Violet herself, fiercely independent and defiant, to the Duchess, who was about as cuddly as a pit of vipers, and Ash. Oh, Ash. (Swooning as I type this, ladies and gentlemen!) And then the world-building: That was really the only thing I wanted explanation on. How did it come to be this way? It's pretty darn close to a masterpiece. But what really sold this book for me was the frightening, scary issues it discusses, more often than not swept under the rug than actually dealt with.
It really opened my eyes, as a reader, a writer, and a woman. What's the point of having a life if you aren't free to make your own choices? And if you are forced into unsavory circumstances, perhaps it is the best thing to buck against it. This book was terrifying. At times it was gory, frightening, brutal, and inhumane, and I often had to do my best not to throw something. This novel isn't an easy one to get through, but honestly, this book should be read, by readers and writers of all ages. It was an experience I will never, ever forget.
The bottom line: A thrilling new feminist tale from a promising new author, I recommend The Jewel for fans of Lauren DeStefano, Megan McCafferty, M.D. Waters, and The Handmaid's Tale--this brand new novel revolving around reproductive rights in a dying society should be read by all! Next on deck, a reread to get ready for Lair of Dreams: The Diviners by Libba Bray!