Book Review: The Jewel by Amy Ewing

Title: The Jewel
Author: Amy Ewing
Series: Lone City #1
Published: September 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 358
From: Barnes and Noble
Rating: 9/10

Sometimes you come across that one book that kind of blows your mind and makes you think, what if? Well, Amy Ewing’s debut novel The Jewel did that to me.

The Jewel takes place in a post-apocalyptic world not unlike that in The Hunger Games, where royalty cannot have their own children. They purchase surrogates, young women from lower castes, who have certain abilities. These surrogates are then impregnated and forced to carry a royal woman’s child. Violet Lasting is a surrogate who is purchased by the Duchess of the Lake.

I absolutely loved this novel. I felt there were so many dark adult themes I wish (like most of the young adult novels I read) that it had been written for adults. The ideas of forced pregnancy, surrogacy, sex, prostitution and human experimentation are such mature topics I’m actually pleasantly surprised this novel was published as young adult at all.

But, that’s why I loved this book so much. Ewing took on these mature themes and built on them in ways young readers could understand without being too forward.

However, despite why I loved it, I wish Ewing had actually pushed the boundaries even further. These themes are so broad, it almost felt like some of them weren’t fully formed. Forced pregnancy and surrogacy are, definitely, but the further in the book the reader gets, the more it’s noticeable that the other things, such as sex and experimentation, aren’t really brought to life like I felt they should.

But, even still, I was able to look past all that because this book is well written, mature, inventive (if it does seem like The Hunger Games and Red Queen [even though Red Queen was published later, I did read it before]) and fresh. I thoroughly loved Ewing’s writing style and the flow of the plot. I am truly excited to see what happens in the next of the Lone City trilogy, The White Rose.

The Jewel by American author Amy Ewing is available in book stores and online. The young adult novel is part of the Lone City trilogy, with the third out in 2016. Check out Book Swoon’s review of The Jewel here.

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