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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.
I was sort of bored throughout the book. I'm thinking the subject matter just didn't interest me, so you might have a different experience with this one than I did.
Fabulous cover, though!
The Royalty that live in the Jewel can't have babies anymore. Poor people, yes. Rich people, no.
But the nobility have found that some of the poor girls have these abilities that can allow them to manipulate a fetus in their wombs. Make it a viable pregnancy. Even make the child better looking, smarter, more talented, etc.. So, they test all of the poor girls as soon as they get their period, and if they have this ability then they whisk them off to be raised in solitude. Once there, they train them to use their powers, until they are old enough to be auctioned off to the highest bidder.
Violet is one of the surrogate girls, and she's about to be auctioned off when the story starts. The book goes on about how she is used and abused, her concern for her friend, what is expected of the surrogates, how they are treated as less than human....and so on.
Plod, plod, plod.
Of course, her abilities are special. More. Better. Something that hasn't been seen before.
I don't...I'm still not sure what the hell her abilities are, but it has something to do with the life-force of things. Like, she makes plants grow and stuff?
Lots of pain, nosebleeds, and coughing up blood happen when their powers are used, by the way. Kinda gross when the girls are spewing blood all over the dinner table, you know?
Plans are made to help her escape by a mysterious servant with a magical tuning fork.
But before she can escape, she needs to fall in love with a boy, right? Yes. Yes, she does.
Love is in the air, and it feels somewhat boring and rushed.
BUT. The main thing is that they desperately love each other, there will be horrifying repercussions if they are caught, and that she will act foolishly for love.
The last 5 pages are excellent, and left me with a cliffhanger so good that I would almost consider reading the next book, just to see what happens next.
It may be that I have read too many books with a similar feel to them, but this just didn't do it for me. However, that doesn't mean that I would warn anyone off of reading it, because it wasn't badly written.
It's not you, it's me.