The Jewel is by no means a terrible book: the story flows smoothly and the lead character is sweet and relatable. But a frustrating lack of momentum and a fairly simplistic plot make for a less than engaging read.
Story: Violet is born into the protected city – a post apocalyptic walled society holding back the waters. Within is a series of nobles at the protected center and then the workers and finally the poor in the outer circles. Violet is happy though she lives in the poorer sector. But the nobles have a problem: they can no longer procreate and take from the poor sectors girls who are gifted in a mental magic and can be surrogate mothers. Though they live a pampered life, they are in fact pretty slaves. When Violet meets a young man hired as a ‘companion’ to a young noblewoman, she risks both their lives when she falls for him.
The Jewel felt like a high school drama moved to a dystopian setting. A Beverly Hills 90210 group of characters: fish out of water, class elitism, backstabbing, etc that many will find appealing, if perhaps a bit unrealistic. But the lack of logic in the society or how people react/interact kept this book at a very shallow level. The story needed a sense of urgency and we’re not necessarily convinced that Violet’s move from poverty to pampered pet was necessarily a bad thing. Nor that with the exception of her unique snowflake gift of magic, she really has the spirit or intelligence to overcome her situation.
Once again, we have an instaluv with a love interest who is over idealized and rather bland. Typical ‘misunderstandings’ cause conflicts and the angst comes from the forbidden nature of the relationship. Both main characters lack ‘edges’ enough to flesh them out as being more realistic people.
Lead character Violet is very passive and accepts/moves through the story at a languid pace. The book makes no statements, doesn’t take a stand, and is solely concerned with a straightforward young adult read. As a result, this is ideal for young teens but older teens and adults may find the simplistic approach unsatisfying.
Reviewed from an ARC