In Violet Lasting’s world royalty have lost the ability to birth viable offspring. Amazingly, girls from the lowest levels of their society have shown a remarkable DNA strain that has become highly sought after. Testing is required for every girl and any that test positive immediately begin training for surrogacy. Violet is one of them and her time for auction has come.
Violet is purchased by the Duchess of the Lake, a member of one of the four founding families. For all intents and purposes, Violet Lasting is no more: she is now 197, a possession belonging to the Duchess. Her sole purpose is for the continuation of the Lake bloodline. The change is hard for Violet and as the realities of life as a surrogate become more clear, she realizes that her fate is more dangerous than she’d ever imagined. But things become even more difficult when Violet begins to fall in love with a boy who’s not meant for her.
Amy Ewing’s The Jewel does bear a marked resemblance to Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. In spite of this, or perhaps because of it, I found I quite enjoyed it. The intrigue and the danger are darker than most dystopians because of the ramifications involved in using teenage girls as brood mares and the world itself is quite intricate.
The Jewel is the first in a projected trilogy and so there are the usual cliffhangers and unanswered questions. As an opening story, though, I was completely hooked and I can’t wait for the next book to come along.
9/14 Becky Lejeune
THE JEWEL by Amy Ewing. HarperTeen (September 2, 2014). ISBN 978-0062235794. 368p.