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.
Violet Lasting is trained and educated to be a Surrogate, a girl who would bear an offspring for the royal families of the Jewel, a place adorned with mansions and villas and castles and all that sparkles.
Then, there is the auction, an event where every aristocrat in the Jewel who wishes to bear a child should pick a Surrogate. But that isn’t as easy as one, two, three. The higher the number, the better. And the better the girl is, the higher the price.
Violet is #197, the third best among the girls in her batch. But despite her great abilities and beauty, there will always be something that she has to sacrifice, and that is, her freedom.
As she becomes a part of the family of the Duchess of the Lake, she unravels secrets and conspiracies that she never thought existed in the glittering world of The Jewel.
- The story is incredibly unique. “Once upon a time, there is this world where aristocrats cannot bear a child. They are bothered by it, of course, since they are slowly getting outnumbered. Then, they found a solution to the problem. A genetic mutation found in the girls living in the Marsh, giving them great potential of bearing their child. This becomes the birth of Surrogates.” This concept is very very intriguing since not a lot of books talk about surrogate mothers and in vitro fertilization.
- There is a little bit of fantasy here in this book. It is one of the elements of the book that makes it very unique. Each girl has the ability, Auguries as they call it, that enables them to mold the child to whatever feature they like. There are three of them which I won’t be discussing here. (smiles)
- The book is hauntingly dark. Conspiracies, secrets, unforgotten pasts, and even death. Name it, and it is here.
- If you’re not a fan of insta-love, then this book is not the book for you. I, for one found the romance part of the story a little bit rushed. Ash and Violet met because of a misunderstanding and there, their feelings blossom into something so much more. It is also odd to find the romance aspect at the middle of the book and only to find that at a certain part, it would end.
All in all, this book has been a good read. I recommend it to those who wants to read a unique kind of dystopia with a dark twist. I would be posting my review of the next book soon, so stay tuned! (smiles)
Till my next book review! (waves)