A copy of this novel was provided by Walker Books Australia for review.
I was interested in The Jewel from the moment I heard about it. I’m a sucker for dystopians, especially the ones with a more flamboyant edge. It gets me every time.
I’d heard some mixed reviews, but that never deters me. I don’t always love the books that everyone else loves, and I don’t always dislike the books everyone else seems to dislike. So I was more interested than ever in reading The Jewel.
Overall, I certainly enjoyed The Jewel. I read it in one day. That tends to be a positive thing when it comes to books, because it means I don’t want to do anything else (or anything remotely life-related). Although I did have a few narrowed-eye moments (I do this – I narrow my eyes at a book when something is iffy. I guess it’s just my sceptical side coming out). I’ll talk about the narrowed eye moments first.
The Auguries. Awesome concept: girls start displaying these weird kind of powers (?) when they hit puberty and because of these (and other things?) they’re auctioned off to barren rich ladies to make their babies. Notice the question marks? Yeah, that’s why there were narrowed eyes. What exactly are the Auguries? Why are only poor women born with them? What exactly do they do? None of these questions were answered and that irritated my need-to-know-things-because-I’m-a-scientist side.
The beebees. Or, you know, the babies. Why are the rich women barren? Why can only girls from poor families conceive children? There was a bare basics sentence or two about why the rich women weren’t having any babies, but there wasn’t really an explanation as to why it was happening.
The instalove. I wasn’t as annoyed by it as everyone else, because in a dystopian situation I think one's emotional responses are likely heightened and you’re probably scared shitless about the future so you don’t want to waste a minute – but. I would have preferred no declaration of love/needing-wanting to be together forever. I think the instant lust and attraction were forgivable, and I think without the undying love aspect, it probably would have been an easier pill to swallow.
Violet. I just don’t really get her. She did some stupid shit sometimes (like putting a green mark on the Duchess’s face, which I thought was petty and of course it would be caught, silly girl), and failed to act at others, and in general I just didn’t think she was strong enough. I know, not everyone has to be Katniss in a dystopian novel but do they have to rip up dresses and fawn over boys and just do everything they’re told? I understand she would have been scared of the retaliation but surely the adage ‘better to ask forgiveness than permission’ could have come into play at least once.
So they were the things that had me narrowing my eyes. In general, with a little more explanation and a little more time, everything would have been peachy.
There were things that I didn’t narrow my eyes at, of course. Like the premise. Getting auctioned off to have some rich lady’s baby? SIXTEEN AND PREGNANT? Gives me the heebie-jeebies if I’m being honest.
The clothes. I love love love it when books have emphasis on fabulous clothes. Like fancy dresses. And Violet/the Duchess/heaps of other characters were always prancing around in their finery and I loved reading about that.
Ash. I liked him, I did. I mean a guy who teaches girls how to have sex properly? Hells to the yeah. Although I wish we had gotten to know a bit more about this job *wink wink*
The Duchess. She was a fabulous character, I think. Sometimes she’d seem all vulnerable and pity-inducing and then she'd freaking punch someone in the face or smash a cello to pieces and I’d think ‘this bitch is crazy’.
The cliffhanger. YES. This is a cliffhanger done well. I want the next book, because I want to know what happens to all the characters whose futures are up in the air. I don’t like it when the first book in a series is pretty much just a filler for the other books in the series, and The Jewel was in no way a filler. We were introduced to the world, the characters, the storyline. And now we have to wait x amount of time for the next book. OH, THE PAIN OF WAITING.
So there you have it. The Jewel has its ups and downs, but I’m telling you – if you’re a fan of the glamorous dystopians (like The Selection), I’d recommend giving The Jewel a go.
© 2014, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.