{Blog Tour} The Jewel by Amy Ewing: Review/Interview/Giveaway

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

22586252The Jewel by Amy Ewing
Released: 4th September 2014
Series: The Lone City #1
Published by: Walker Books
Genre: YA Dystopian
Source: Publisher
Pages: 368
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Goodreads | Bookworld | Book Depository
"Today is my last day as Violet Lasting. Tomorrow I become Lot 197."

 The Jewel is a shocking and compelling new YA series from debut author, Amy Ewing. Sold for six million diamantes, Violet is now Surrogate of the House of the Lake in the centre of the Lone City, the Jewel. Her sole purpose is to produce a healthy heir for the Duchess – a woman Violet fears and despises. Violet is trapped in a living death, her name and body no longer her own. She fights to hold on to her own identity and sanity, uncertain of the fate of her friends, isolated and at the mercy of the Duchess.

The Handmaid's Tale meets The Other Boleyn Girl in a world where beauty and brutality collide.
Thank you to Walker Books Australia for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Amy Ewing's debut definitely exceeded my expectations. After hearing it being compared to 'The Selection' (which I haven't read), I was intrigued as to how the plot would develop and what our main character Violet Lasting would make of the jaded world she was thrown into. Recently this year I studied 'The Handmaid's Tale' by Margaret Atwood, which covers the central theme of women being physically and emotionally exploited through being forced into surrogacy by their leading matriarchs. In many ways I can see The Jewel as a teen adaptation of the modern classic, but it still stands on its own merit in the YA genre. With the unique addition of the auguries which add a supernatural touch, small acts of defiance and characters that are more complex than they at first seem, this is a book that I would recommend.

If I could have my own life, make my own choices. I would do anything for that sort of freedom.

I found the concept of The Jewel itself to be quite fascinating, but harrowing at the same time. Everything that Violet had to endure, from the holding facility, to being sold like a piece of meat at the auction and then treated like nothing more than living potential to bear a child was dehumanising. It was really interesting how the author portrayed Violet's feelings towards her jeweled cage, which I feel was expressed really well. Although at times Violet seemed a bit prissy, she did have at her core an unwavering resolve and genuine concern for her friends who had also been taking into other ruling households.
In this place that takes little bits and pieces of us, you remind me of who I am. Of who I was.

The romance in some aspects is where the plot fell a bit short. Ash played the part of the 'dark/mysterious/smart/handsome' guy well, although there was some insta-love involved. That being said, I suppose some allowance should be made because of the circumstances that the characters were in. With so much pending on Violet, her volatile situation with the Duchess and the fact that nothing in her life was certain, you can't really blame her for wanting to feel something other than anxiety as to what was going to happen to her next. The auguries are another thing which I would have liked to have seen more of and what their purpose and significance was, or perhaps their origins. There are still questions to be answered, although I expect that they will be answered in the next book in the series.

"Hope is a precious thing, isn't it", she says. "And yet, we don't really appreciate it until it's gone"

What I loved about this book was the complexity of the Duchess's character. At times she seemed like a purely controlling and cruel 'owner' of sorts, parading Violet on a leash even (like the other surrogates at special events), but on the other hand she showed some vulnerability. I am still undecided on whether she is a true villain at heart, but I suppose the answer to that remains to be seen. In the plot itself, there was a twist which I did not expect at the end so I'm looking forward to finding out what will next be in store for Violet.


The Jewel is quite an impressive YA dystopian novel, with room for further development in the sequel. If you enjoyed 'The Selection' or 'The Handmaid's Tale', this book will reminisce with you, while still delivering something different.

When did you know that wanted to be an author?
Honestly, it wasn’t until much later in life. I always wanted to be an actor—I went to New York University to study theatre for my undergraduate degree. But when the economy crashed in 2008, I was laid off and lived off unemployment for a while. It was during that time that I decided to try my hand at writing. And I found that I loved it. So I applied to some MFA programs in New York, got accepted to The New School and the rest is history.

One of the things which I loved about 'The Jewel' was the world-building. How did you come up with the overall concept for the setting?
For the aesthetic, I looked at early twentieth century England. I watched a lot of Downton Abbey (research can be so fun sometimes) and did a lot of image searching. When I was constructing the royalty, I looked to pre-revolutionary France. The royal family was obscenely wealthy while the rest of the country was starving. I wanted to reflect that dynamic in the Lone City.

What were your top 3 must-haves during the writing process? 
Coffee, post-it notes, and comfortable clothes.

Without giving too much away, what is your favourite moment in 'The Jewel'?
I love the moment when Violet meets the Duchess for the first time. And I won’t reveal any more than that. 

What were the best, and hardest parts about writing this novel?
The best part was seeing it grow and change and become the book it is today, which I am immensely proud of and never thought possible. The hardest was probably getting it into that shape. There is so much self-doubt when writing, and it’s so easy to feel like every choice you make is wrong. But you keep plugging away and the reward is totally worth the fear.

Is there one piece of advice in particular which you could give to other aspiring writers? 
Finish what you start. There is such an amazing feeling of accomplishment in finishing a book, and it’s only when you get to the end of something that you can see how to fix it.

What should readers be looking out for next from you after this wonderful debut? 
Well, there are two more books in this series! And there will also be two novellas from different character’s perspectives, so keep an eye out for those as well.

Check out the other stops on 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. Great interview Eugenia, I didn't know she was also bringing out novellas for the series. I hope we see those in different character points of view. I really enjoyed this one too, it was really entertaining and reminded me a lot of The Selection series, but I felt Violet was a much more likable and engaging character than America was. Brilliant review <3

    1. Neither did I until she revealed it, but it will definitely be interesting to see how they saw things!

  2. I have a copy of this, and I'm really looking forward to reading! Though admittedly, I've read some quite negative reviews for this novel, that hasn't dampened my excitement for it at all. Whereas a lot of people disliked The Selection, I enjoyed it, and considering the comparisons being drawn between the two novels, I think I'm going to like this one, too. Great interview and review! Usually I'm not a fan of novellas, however if I like the book I'll probably give them a shot. ^_^

    1. I saw some negative reviews as well, although like you it didn't really phase me and I'm glad that it exceeded my expectations. I'm interested in reading The Selection now just to see how similar the two are. Thanks for stopping by Kara :)

  3. Great review and interview, Eugenia. I loved this one too and am looking forward to the other books in the series, and the novella's. I would love one of the novella's to be from Raven's POV, though I can imagine that would be very dark. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Something from Reven's perspective would definitely be interesting as a glimpse into the darker side of the world in The Jewel, and I can't wait to read a novella from some of the other characters as well!

  4. I loved this book! Great Interview and review! You're so lucky to get to interview her!


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