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.
This contain some spoilers (though not major, I hope) from the book.
There are a lot of problems about the book, which is why I give it a 3 out of 5 on Goodreads. But I still like the book nonetheless. That's because:
1) Despite being a really typical dystopian, it lacks a thing that, for some reason, is very interesting and makes me curious. The book doesn't even mention one bit about the outside world. Yes, the trilogy is called The Lone City. But if it is on Earth (which it probably is), it surely can't be the only city? The book doesn't really go to the way I expected simply by judging the name of the trilogy. And it doesn't when I actually read it and get an idea of this story. I don't know what exactly fascinates me, but this is one of the reason why I enjoy this book. I'm kind of tired of the there-is-a-world-beyond-the-walls thing.
2) There are a lot of potentially interesting characters. Not Violet, despite her being supposedly super smart and resilient. I do like her, but she's not one of those characters. I think Lucien and Garnet are actually more interesting. Garnet, especially. (Spoiler) He appears to be insolent and surrogate-hating. But I believe there's more of him than that. I'm pretty curious of how things will turn out for him in the next book.
But no matter how much I enjoy the book, there are so many untied ends of questions that serves as an distraction rather than a boost that pushes me to read the book. Like the fact that surrogates can grow things with their mind. Can somebody (AT LEAST) give a brief section of how this works? It might not be important in this book, but it still bugs me nonetheless. And what can I say, judging by the turn of events in The Jewel, it might actually be very important. So a brief note will be very nice. The list will go on forever if the untied ends, so I'm not going to talk about them here. But with so many questions swirling in my head, it gets hard to concentrate on the book. A little satisfaction will be nice and it will help us focus.
The romance in this book, while being nice, is another big distraction for the book. It probably has something do with Violet being an indecisive girl on the aspect of love and her desire to break the rules. Like, can Violet focus more on a particular something-else that can actually help save her miserable life in The Jewel? But it probably also has something to do with the fact that it reminds me so much of Romeo and Juliet at some point. I like the romance, don't get me wrong. But the thing is, I don't like Romeo and Juliet. And for quite some time all I can think about is: why is the romance so Romeo and Juliet? Yep, not distracting at all.
I will still continue to read the trilogy because I'm curious and I enjoy the romance. But the plot can still be improved.