The Jewel by Amy Ewing

The Jewel The Lone City Book One 
Written by Amy Ewing
Fantasy, Dystopian, Romance
Published September 4th 2014
368 Pages
Thank you to Walker Books Australia
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Violet Lasting is no longer a human being. Tomorrow she becomes Lot 197, auctioned to the highest royal bidder in the Jewel of the Lone City. Tomorrow she becomes the Surrogate of the House of the Lake, her sole purpose to produce a healthy heir for the Duchess. Imprisoned in the opulent cage of the palace, Violet learns the brutal ways of the Jewel, where the royal women compete to secure their bloodline and the surrogates are treated as disposable commodities.

Destined to carry the child of a woman she despises, Violet enters a living death of captivity, until she sets eyes on Ash Lockwood, the royal Companion. Compelled towards each other by a reckless, clandestine passion, Violet and Ash dance like puppets in a deadly game of court politics, until they become each other’s jeopardy, and salvation.
As the auction is set to begin, this will be her last day known as Violet, sixteen years old and being sold as a surrogate into the Jewel, the heart of the city where the royalty and wealthy call home. She will simply be known as lot 197 where no one will know her name, or care enough to ask. She's bought at auction, never to see her family or best friend Raven again. Plucked from near poverty in the Marsh, surrogates are promised a life of luxury, an education, an abundance of material possessions and never needing to lift a finger. But what the girls will never have is freedom. They are simply there to carry and birth a child for their owner, then discarded to a holding center to live out their days.

Violet is one of the drawcards of this years auction, not only for her unusual eyes in which she was named after, but her ability to manipulate objects through the use of her Augury, a magical ability, sees her sold for an impressive six million diamantes to the Duchess of The Lake. Falling more on the side of cruelty, the Duchess has plans for her new surrogate and yearns for a daughter of her own. All Violet needs to do is comply and with her own chamber maid, it isn't long until she begins to see her position is of a prisoner in a lavish palace.

With the cruel Duchess and Doctor tending her, the Duchess' drunken son and malicious niece in residence, Violet meets Ash, a companion to the Duchess' niece, and an instant attraction forms. Both she and Ash have both been born into a life of servitude and understand one another. But as a dangerous relationship begins to bloom, Violet realises her life is in danger and her only chance at survival is to escape. The royal families are feuding, surrogates are mysteriously dying and Violet will be damned if she's next.

Kelly's thoughts

The Jewel was a mixture of the lavish lifestyle of The Hunger Games and the forbidden romance of The Selection. It blended a dystopian world of oppression and mixed in a touch of fantasy, where the surrogate girls displayed powers known as Auguries.
Once to see it as it is. Twice to see it in your mind. Thrice to bend it to your will.
The girls are ranked at auction depending on their results during the Augury testing. The Duchess has purchased Violet for a very specific purpose, the first Augury can influence skin, hair and eye colour. The second, physical shape, and the third being growth. She wants a perfect daughter, and quickly. Reminicent of The Selection, Violet's only friend within the Jewel is her lady in waiting, the mute Annabelle and Lucien, who is eerily similar to Cinna in The Hunger Games. Her life is seemingly simply, obey the Duchess and she shall be rewarded, otherwise face the consequences. Although Violet and best friend Raven begin as scared but somewhat defiant young women, being owned wears their rebellion down. While Violet is treated to new dresses, lavish balls and the freedom to explore her new home, Raven is being mistreated by her new owner and Violet is helpless as she watches the light fade from her Raven's eyes.

The appearance of instant love wasn't unexpected, but Violet's choice of love interest was. It seems that the trend in young adult is the main character gravitating towards the rich and handsome potential suitor and was pleased to see that this wasn't the case. The instant love is more of a tentative friendship and physical companionship, and declarations of feelings are made a little too prematurely for my liking. Regardless, the romance wasn't overpowering and felt more like two teens navigating awkwardly around one another for the fear of being discovered.

One aspect that struck me was the men. They all take a back seat to strong, although malicious women. They create the laws, challenge and scheme to destroy one another, while husbands retreat to nurse their drinks and I enjoyed the role reversal. The fantasy element comes in the form of the Auguries, which are powers that only surrogates hold. An explanation of what the Auguries are isn't until almost half way through the book, but with no explanation of how they were obtained and whether or not that's how potential surrogates are selected, which I'm hoping will be rectified in the next book in the series.

Overall, it was incredibly entertaining and almost impossible to put down. It ends in an enormous cliffhanger, where the storyline takes a stunning turn that I didn't see coming. It was beautifully written, the storyline flowing effortlessly, and I devoured The Jewel in a matter of a few short hours. If you enjoyed The Selection, you'll fall in love with The Jewel. I'm excited to see where debut author Amy Ewing takes this series next.

Interview with Amy Ewing

The Jewel is your debut novel, how did you find the experience overall from the storyline taking shape to being published?
It was a very long, very crazy ride. I sold The Jewel in May 2012. It went through about four major revisions, and there were definitely moments of despair, but in the end I am just so proud of the final result. It’s strange to live with something in private for so long and then suddenly, it’s out there in the world for anyone to read. I think this experience has taught me to have patience, or at least, made me understand I need to find some. Publishing is full of long lulls of nothing happening and then intense periods of revising. But I have an amazing editor and agent who helped guide me through this process, both the business side and the creative side. And I have a terrific group of author friends who serve as beta readers and also keep me sane on a daily basis.
With being likened to such well loved novels as The Hunger Games and The selection, what was the inspiration behind the idea of The Jewel, and do you see the comparisons as a positive reinforcement of your work?
Well, I am certainly flattered by those comparisons! I try not to think about comp titles when I’m working because at the end of the day it’s my story, and I have to love it and tell it as best I can. But obviously I would be thrilled if The Jewel appealed to readers of both those titles!

I got the idea for The Jewel while watching the movie Taken, weird, I know. There’s a scene where Liam Neeson’s daughter (the one who gets taken) is paraded onto a stage and bid on by wealthy men. And I thought to myself, "What if it was women buying this girl, instead of men?" And that’s how the Auction came to life.
The surrogates could be seen as glorified slaves, being sold into a life only to birth a child. How did the idea come about?
I think once the Auction was formed in my head, it just flowed naturally. I wanted to use the surrogates to explore the concept of having ownership over your own body and how important that is. These girls are treated as property, as walking wombs. I hope the readers will find this idea as offensive as I do.
Violet begins her story as a meek and scared girl, in her shoes, what do you see as the turning point behind her rebellion?
I think it’s a combination of factors. Lucien, obviously, is the one who puts the idea in her head of escape. Meeting Ash gives Violet the opportunity to make a choice for herself, for pretty much the first time in her life. I think that shapes her outlook considerably. And then she sees Raven, her best friend, losing her mind at the hands of an evil woman. Violet always looked to Raven as the strong one, so I think seeing her weakened makes Violet step up and find courage she never knew she had.
Could you explain to us a little how the unique concept of the Auguries came about, and what each Augury represents?
There are three Auguries, Color, Shape, and Growth. Each one can affect different aspects of the child these girls are meant to carry. The surrogates can also affect the environment around them, changing the color or shape of an object, or making plants grow at will. 

I knew I wanted there to be magic in this world, but I hadn’t nailed down the Auguries until my thesis semester of graduate school. My advisor and I talked a lot about what the magic should be, and eventually we came up with the idea of the Auguries. The word augury means omen, so it felt fitting to use, as these girl can foreshadow a child’s hair color or eye color, etc.
The Jewel is incredibly entertaining, with the storyline peaking just before leaving readers with the ultimate cliffhanger. How have readers received the ending thus far?
Oh, I have made so many people mad at me! Particularly on Twitter. I get a lot of tweets that are essentially saying, "How could you do this to me?" I love the ending, and I love that I was able to keep it as the cliffhanger it is. And hopefully it will keep people wanting more of Violet’s story!
What can readers expect from the next in the series, which is currently untitled?
At this point, all I can say is that readers will get to explore more of the Lone City and meet some fun new characters. The second book actually does have a title, but my lips are sealed on that until further notice!
Both released covers for The Jewel are absolutely stunning. Did you have a hand in the design process?
I love my covers. I feel so lucky because as an author, you have zero say in what goes on the cover of your book. It’s another one of those publishing things that you learn during the process. But I am just over the moon with both designs, and feel they both express the book so well. 
When you're not writing, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I love to cook. And I play guitar and write my own songs. But probably my favourite thing to do is watch old episodes of The Vampire Diaries with my best friend over a glass of wine.
And lastly, what can we expect next from Amy Ewing?
I am currently in revisions on the second book, and then I imagine it will be straight into book three! But I’m also working on a collaboration with a fellow author (my first ever attempt at collaborating), so hopefully there will be something brand new on the horizon as well.

Follow the tour

Thursday, September 18th Diva Book Nerd
Friday, September 19th Inside My Worlds
Saturday, September 20th Books for a Delicate Eternity
Sunday, September 21st Thoughts by J
Monday, September 22nd Kids Book Review
Tuesday, September 23rd Striking Keys
Wednesday, September 24th Genie in a Book
Thursday, September 25th Fictional Thoughts
Friday, September 26th Book Much


  1. This sounds like an interesting book. The premise is definitely unusual and worth looking into. Marking this book as Want to Read on goodreads now :)

    1. If you enjoyed The Selection series, I can almost guarantee you'll love The Jewel. It was pretty similar, but had just enough where the oppression was so vivid and it really pulled me into Violet's world. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

  2. Fabulous review Kelly! I'm in the middle of this one at the moment and enjoying it as well, and it's so nice to see the author's perspective on her own book and find out more about Violet.

    Eugenia @ Genie In A Book

    1. I was thrilled to have nabbed an interview with her, as I wanted to know more about how the Auguries worked. It was such a unique concept, reminding me a little of Crewel by Gennifer Albin. So glad you're enjoying it too!

  3. I'm actually getting more and more excited for this book as I read the reviews for it. I haven't read The Selection but maybe I should! I love the idea behind this one. Can't wait to pick it up :)

    1. The Selection was good, especially book one. But sadly the series faded out a little for me. It was more about the Bachelor type contest, rather than wanting to change society and the brewing revolution that the original book seemed to hint at. With The Jewel, it's the opposite. It begins as an auction where Violet and other gifted girls within the society are sold into a life of birthing and then thrown away. But the revolution is already brewing. Violet is a strong character away from the love interest Ash, so I'm hoping that he is just a starting point to her rebellion.

  4. Glad to hear you found it entertaining, I have heard so many adverse things about the romance and I don't like how the males are all privileged and hold the balance of power in this book. Thanks for sharing and lovely interview Kelly!

    1. It's actually the opposite Jeann, the men are the male equivalent of trophy wives and the women, although most of the cruel, actually hold all the power. They run their perspective houses and the men practically have no say. The romance is too instant love, but I had expected that and enjoyed it regardless. It's really entertaining, hopefully you can pick this one up soon.

  5. I've got to admit the huge similarities for this and The Hunger Games really made me sad. I'm a huge THG fan, so loyalties there. ;-) But that's a really interesting interview...Taken was the inspiration?! Cool. And cooking is a fabulous hobby. Definitely approve there.

    1. I remember that scene in Taken, where they paraded the daughter around and she was in the process of being auctioned off. I wonder if The Winner's Curse also took inspiration from that film as well. It was incredibly entertaining, despite it's flaws with instant love and the similarities to The Hunger Games and also The Selection series. I'm actually really looking forward to the second in the series.

  6. Ohhh, I've heard a lot of mixed things about this book, but now I'm definitely going to give it a try. Awesome review lovely :)

    1. Thanks Gina. I actually think book two in the series will be even better.


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