Ugh. I so wanted to like The Jewel. My sweet husband gave it to me as part of my first ever book box from him, and I am all about that YA dystopian life. But man, I just COULD NOT get into this one. I was intrigued by the insane body-genetics-reproduction-dystopian plot points, and at first I thought I was going to quickly become obsessed with this book because of them. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.
The reproductive-possession thing was really interesting (very akin to The Handmaiden’s Tale) but unfortunately those very grotesque and crazy reproductive themes are kind of glossed over. Instead, the major plot seems to be taken over by a shoddy romantic subplot that doesn’t even make very much sense. Now, I’m all for suspending a bit of disbelief so that I can enjoy a good impromptu romance. But the romance in The Jewel felt so unimportant and so fake. I just couldn’t enjoy it at all. I didn’t care about their instalove story – there was so much more at stake! What the heck was Violet thinking, to jeopardize everything that was actually important to share a few stolen kisses with some guy she’s only just met. It’s insane – I mean, COME ON – someone wants to use your body and torture you so that you’ll bear them a child (which may or may not potentially kill you in the process) and you’re major concern is kissing a male prostitute because you’re lonely??!?!?! I’m sorry, but that is just not what I expected in a story like this one. It completely threw me off, and, honestly, just left a bad taste in my mouth.
I wish that this book had delved deeper into the creepy reproductive plot. The scenes that did were by far the strongest throughout the novel, and they were the moments that left me gaping and desperate to find out what happened next. But the cheesy love-plot was indigestible and the moments where it all got real were too far and few between.
I will leave you with this – as I read the very last page I did find myself wondering, “what’s going to happen next?” Sadly, it just wasn’t enough for me to want to buy the second book.
Read this if you know that you won’t be bothered by the lukewarm love and you’ll probably find it fairly enjoyable. It wasn’t for me, but I do think that Amy Ewing had a good idea here and has a lot of potential as a writer, and if she tries her hand at a new series in the future, I will definitely consider picking it up. In the end, The Jewel just wasn’t a good match for my tastes and interests. This isn’t a bad book, it’s jut not a great one (which is what I was hoping for).
Rating: 3.5/5 stars