Back in September I posted a list of 7 YA titles that wereon my radar (and should be on yours). One of the titles was Amy Ewing’s debut novel The Jewel. I had been hearing a lot about The Jewel, mainly through Epic Reads, a website for anything and everything Young Adult Literature.
Here is the synopsis for The Jewel:
The Selection meets The Handmaid’s Tale in this darkly riveting debut filled with twists and turns, where all that glitters may not be gold.
The Jewel means wealth, the Jewel means beauty—but for Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Born and raised in the Marsh, Violet finds herself living in the Jewel as a servant at the estate of the Duchess of the Lake. Addressed only by her number—#197—Violet is quickly thrown into the royal way of life. But behind its opulent and glittering facade, the Jewel hides its cruel and brutal truth, filled with violence, manipulation, and death.
Violet must accept the ugly realities of her life . . . all while trying to stay alive. But before she can accept her fate, Violet meets a handsome boy who is also under the Duchess’s control, and a forbidden love erupts. But their illicit affair has consequences, which will cost them both more than they bargained for. And toeing the line between being calculating and rebellious, Violet must decide what, and who, she is willing to risk for her own freedom.
Quite intriguing right?
I was able to finish The Jewel in one sitting, which is highly unusual for me with YA books. Typically, I spend two or three days thumbing through a YA novel. Ewing’s writing style was easy to follow and flowed well. The plot had merit, even though it was slow in some situations, and I found myself immersed in Violet’s story.
I would give this story 3.5 stars out of 5. There are two main reasons. I do feel that the story could have been longer. I say this mainly because I felt it was anticlimactic until the very last page or so. I know that Violet was in several intense situations, but I did not feel the intensity leap of the pages. A few more well constructed paragraphs describing the direness of this situation and Violet’s role really would have elevated the plot.
The second reason is because of the character of Ash…or more importantly, the relationship between Ash and Violet. At first, I suspected the character of Garnet to be the romantic interest. Garnet is the 19 year old son of Violet’s owner, the Duchess of the Lake. He is unpredictable, devastatingly handsome, and an all around bad boy. Perfect romantic interest right? I was surprised by the introduction of Ash, a companion who was purchased to teach the Duchess’ niece how to flirt and land a husband. I felt that Ash and Violet’s relationship was flat. For whatever reason, I could not get the idea of Violet and Garnet out of my head. I found myself annoyed with the scenes that Ash was featured in. If the novel had been drawn out more, I might have found myself more accepting of the pairing. That being said, I hope that Ewing will either dedicate more time to expand on this relationship or revisit the Violet/Garnet pairing that my heart seems to want. The last page of the book was slightly reassuring to me though. Fingers crossed - #violetandgarnet
Though I had a few small issues with the novel, Amy Ewing did a splendid job on her debut book. I think teens will devour this book and I encourage you to check it out.