The Selection meets The Handmaid’s Tale in this darkly riveting debut filled with twists and turns, where all that glitters may not be gold.
The Jewel means wealth, the Jewel means beauty—but for Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Born and raised in the Marsh, Violet finds herself living in the Jewel as a servant at the estate of the Duchess of the Lake. Addressed only by her number—#197—Violet is quickly thrown into the royal way of life. But behind its opulent and glittering facade, the Jewel hides its cruel and brutal truth, filled with violence, manipulation, and death.
Violet must accept the ugly realities of her life . . . all while trying to stay alive. But before she can accept her fate, Violet meets a handsome boy who is also under the Duchess’s control, and a forbidden love erupts. But their illicit affair has consequences, which will cost them both more than they bargained for. And toeing the line between being calculating and rebellious, Violet must decide what, and who, she is willing to risk for her own freedom.
This is a book that I wanted to read based on all that I heard about it from other book bloggers. I just kept putting off buying it till recently, and boy am I mad at myself that I waited. As a huge fan of the Selection series the premise for this story was right up my alley. I have to say that I have never seen or read the Handmaid’s Tale, but I remember my sister talking about it before, so I was not sure how this tied into that type of story, after reading a few pages I understood.
The story is about Violet, a girl from the Marsh who was tested by the government and found to have the gene/abilities wanted by the Rich and Powerful to be a surrogate. She is taken from her family and sent to live with other girls like herself, where she is taught to hone her abilities. At a certain age Violet is then auctioned off to the one of the wealthy ladies of the Jewel to be their surrogate. Once Violet is taken to the auction she is given the identification number of 197, which is the only name she will be able to use once she is purchased at Auction. She is purchased by the Duchess of the Lake, and this is where the story really begins for Violet.
Once Violet is living with the Duchess she is introduced to a lifestyle that she is not used to, having a lady in waiting, having electricity at all times, and nice clothing. She is given rewards for her cooperation by the Duchess, and suffers consequences when she breaks the rules. In this new world Violet must realize that surrogates are not seen as people, they are seen as property, they have one purpose for the family and as Violet learns why she was chosen by the Duchess she becomes more aware of how much her life is no longer her own. Then one day while exploring the mansion she now lives in she meets a boy named Ash, who is the companion of the Duchess’ niece. Their relationship forms under the understanding that no one can know about it, they each have their roles and the consequences of breaking them will be dire for them both.
I thought their relationship was an important part of the story, especially when you realize how little control over their own life and bodies the girls in this story have. Being with Ash was one of the few choices that Violet got to make for herself. The other relationships that I thought were important to the story was Violet and Raven’s, it was best friends trying their hardest to stay in contact so that they can keep themselves as more than just the number assigned to them, even when something starts happening to Raven. I also really liked Violet’s relationship with Lucien, the lady in waiting for the Electress, how he is intent on helping Violet both before and after the auction. While his role is small, he is the beacon of hope that maybe there is more out there for Violet then the life she is being forced to live.
I thought that the Duchess’ niece was pointless, she had no real reason in the story except to be the reason that Ash show up, but she really only served maybe two purposes in the entire story…and the Duchess’ son was pretty much my comic relief. He seemed like your typical drunk spoiled rich boy who did not care what anyone thought of him.
I have to say that this book was amazing and I was really sad when it ended that the sequel is not out yet. The way that the author ended definitely left me wanting more, wanting to see what happens with Violet, Ash, and Violets best friend Raven.
My Rating :