(The Lone City, #1)
Release Date: September 2, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen; 358 pages
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.
There was one aspect of this book that I didn't love but it grew on me and that was the insta love. Maybe it's me but I don't believe in 'insta love' it's more like insta lust so I have a hard time believing any relationship (real or fictional) that is so sudden. But, I liked both characters individually and like I said, the more they were around each other and the more they had time with each other, it grew on me. He wasn't even introduced until halfway through the book so I was kept wondering when we might see some romance. Hell, I almost was wishing for her and Garnet, I'm not going to lie. But alas, it was not meant to be but I do like Ash and I'm eager for more of him.
The whole world is pretty messed up. All I kept thinking while reading this book is how lucky we are that this doesn't exist. The Royals are all sorts of screwed up and inhuman; viewing these girls who carry babies for them as property, not as people. It's disgusting. The things you find out in this book just make the disgust towards these...these...people grown until you just can't take it anymore. You want to make them suffer probably more than Violet does or maybe it's just me, I'm not sure.
Then, you look at the rest of the society and realize how little freedom anyone but the Royals truly has. You can't even seem to have kids without fearing they'll test positive for a surrogate. It makes you not want to have kids if you lived in those areas, especially the Marsh. The outer circle of this hell.
I LOVE Lucien, seriously, I just LOVE him. I need more of him and I can't wait to get more of him. He's my hero of this story. He really is. He works for the devil (though, there are so many in this book) and yet, he's so damn amazing. You would think that darkness would eventually take hold of someone but not him.
You know who else I love? Garnet. We don't know much about him but I loved him the second he stumbled into that dinner all the way through the end. I need more of him, too.
Violet is strong. She is so much stronger than I ever would be. I admire her so much in this book. From her visit to her family to her torture in this home. They don't think it's torture but it totally is. How she isn't completely and utterly broken at this point makes me in awe of her. And her love for her best friend, Raven, who is also living in a hell much worse than hers, is refreshing. As a surrogate, you don't have friends and you never see them again once you've been sold but that's not the case with these two and their story breaks my heart over and over again.
Dammit, I just need more. Because . . . the ending is torture. The author likes to not only torture her characters but her readers and I'm going to go insane waiting a year for more. Because that ending is BRUTAL. You have been warned. Read with caution because a doozer is coming at the end.
Thank you so much to HarperTeen for allowing me the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review.