May contain spoilers for The Jewel and The White Rose
The Lone City Book Three
Written by Amy Ewing
Dystopian, Fantasy, Romance
Published October 1st 2016
Thank you to Walker Books Australia
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For too long, Violet and the people of the outer circles of the Lone City have lived in service of the royalty of the Jewel. But now, the secret society known as the Black Key is preparing to seize power.
While Violet knows she is at the center of this rebellion, she has a more personal stake in it, for her sister, Hazel, has been taken by the Duchess of the Lake. Now, after fighting so hard to escape the Jewel, Violet must do everything in her power to return not only to save Hazel, but the future of the Lone City.
Across the Island The Black Key rebellion gathers, mercenaries fighting against enslavement, against poverty and the inhumane treatment of those less fortunate. The Royal Houses have become complacent, infiltrated while young women are rescued from imprisonment where they will be sold as Surrogates and discarded once their purpose has been served.
Violet Lasting is a Paladin, a descendant of a lost civilisation of women who once inhabited the Island and a former Surrogate for the House of The Lake. As the Black Key rebellion gains momentum, the girls of the White Rose are preparing to bring down the oppressive walls that separate the castes. A revolution has begun.
The Black Key is an entertaining and captivating dystopian series, blending fantasy with an oppressive rule and a band of heroines that are determined to end the oppression. The Jewel begun Violet's journey as a Surrogate, chosen by the Duchess of The Lake to bare her an heir and a sibling for Garnet, the former playboy Prince. After their brazen escape, Violet, Raven and former Companion Ash have retreated to the White Rose, a rural haven for those seeking solace from the merciless royal court. Throughout the series, we've seen Violet mature into a young woman who understands that her mistakes no longer define who she is, a leader among women on the verge of a revolution. But unlike previous installments, Violet now finds herself returning to The Jewel to rescue sister Hazel, despite Ash's protest. I loved Violet for her strength, which could often be seen as condescending as she asks Ash to remain at the White Rose.
Dejected and a wanted fugitive, Ash believes he is beneficial to the rebellion and is able to assemble the Royal Companions to which Violet is opposed, refusing to allow Ash to jeopardise his freedom for the cause. With Lucian's assistance, Violet returns to the House of The Lake under the guise of a new Lady In Waiting for Garnet's betrothed. Returning to the wealth of the castle felt remarkably like an adaptation of The Jewel and a regression in terms of character development and storyline. Violet is reckless and makes incredibly careless decisions which may threaten the Black Key revolution. She feels responsible for Hazel's abduction, the Duchess having seized Hazel to take Violet's place as Surrogate and her internal guilt fuels her desire to make dangerous decisions which are generally not the best cause of action.
As Violet masks her identity in The Jewel, the former surrogates are being guided by Raven, a former surrogate herself who was tortured in her time within The Jewel. Raven is one of my favourite characters and I was disappointed that she wasn't able to play a greater role in The Black Key as her strength and resilience is one of the aspects that endeared me to The Lone City series. I would have liked to have experienced the girls exploring their Augury abilities, especially given the oppression of the Surrogates throughout the series and their journey to freedom.
Although it felt anticlimactic throughout the storyline, the final few chapters were brilliantly written, emotional and vividly imagined with friends reuniting, although not everyone will make it through unscathed. Such a wonderful debut series that is often underestimated by readers. Thoroughly enjoyed it.