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.
Isn't that such a beautiful cover? The first time I saw the cover I immediately wanted to read it! Thankfully, this book does not follow the cover-fraud rule, where the cover is better than the book. Yes, this book was not the best book I've ever read, but I did love it!
One thing that I really really liked about this book was the amount of world-building that went into it. There was so much involved in the making of this world and the world feels so different than our own, yet so similar and I just found that amazing.
I found the auguries interesting, yet odd. You'll know more about the auguries when you read the book, but auguries are basically special abilities that surrogates, like Violet, have where they can change the color, shape, or make something grow. Anyway, I found it fascinating that they had this, but I couldn't understand why. I'm actually really excited to see more about this in future books.
And the characters were all well-developed. They weren't flat or cardboard characters at all! And I really appreciated this!
My ONLY issue with this book was the romance.
The romance wasn't really introduced until maybe the last 30% of the book, but it did ruin things for me. The romance was similar to insta-love, but not quite. Violet meets love interest and there is definitely attraction, but the two don't actually start anything with one another until later. When they begin to admit the attraction they do get very into each other and they believe really quickly that they love each other and they will be able to stay together. I understand that in real life romance like this may happen, but in real life having these romances won't potentially get you killed (usually). This is what irritated me about the romance. I felt like they were being idiots. They knew that this could get them hurt or killed, yet they kept believing that they weren't going to get caught. <highlight to view spoiler> Surprise. Surprise. They got caught.<end of spoiler>
I can kind of understand, though, why they stayed with each other, even knowing the consequences. Neither one of them really had freedom. Sure, love interest had a bit more than Violet, but they both didn't have much freedom and the idea that they could have this freedom to do something that they could actually do for themselves, may be worth the consequences in their eyes.
Now, the ending, I oddly liked.
Oddly, because this book ends in a cliffhanger and I usually hate cliffhangers.
But I kind of like the mysterious way that the book left off on...
This book has a lot going on for it! Great world-building, 3-dimensional characters, interesting ideas, but the romance really fell flat. Even though the romance stole the show in the last 20% of the book, I'm not letting it ruin my full opinion of the book. Everything else about this book was great and, oddly, the cliffhanger ending made everything better!
I hereby give this book
Meaning: It was amazing!