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 found Violet to be a likeable character. The position that society places her in gave me a lot of empathy for her and I cheered for her to succeed by finding some way out of it. I like that she took some risks to get a better life, but at the same time, I found that this made her seem naive as she plunged into another world that she didn't completely understand or comprehend. I found the romance to be very sudden and Insta-love and I wished that there was more development on it. As a result, I didn't care about the romance. I was actually more interested in the political system because the manipulation seemed like the power moves made in House of Cards. I wish that there was more of that, but I understand the need to leave some questions unanswered and I am excited to see how this series will continue.
This book takes on both dystopic and fantasy elements, which surprisingly blends well together. On the other hand, I found some similarities to other dystopian books to be intense at times. Ewing's writing did grasp me and led me to finish this book rather quickly (Almost one sitting!) and I enjoyed it, but I didn't love it. I feel that this book mirrors aspects of The Handmaid's Tale, Wither, and The Selection and I would suggest this book to fans of those books. The end made me want to read the next book, but I don't feel the need to read it right away. If you like a character placed in a difficult situation, a quick and fast plot with political intrigue, and books with dystopian and fantasy elements, then I would suggest this book. It isn't amazing or bad, but more so just good and interesting.
Disclosure: Received ARC from Publisher