I am glad I read this book. I am sorry for some choices that have been made in its execution, but this particular niche of SF is one of my pet interests, and so I felt I needed to read it.
Things that excited me about this book:
- The treatment of fertility as an issue in the future;
- The intermingling of sci fi and fantasy;
- The consistent use of clean language;
- The development of intrigue; and
- The villains. Unfortunately, moreso than the heroine...whom I didn't dislike, but I just wasn't as fascinated by her as I was her owner -- gimme a book on this "baddie," man, she is really interesting! On this: the back cover suggests you are in for black and whites / straight-cut good versus evil, but I found there are a lot of greys, and I like grey.
- ...a different narrative device. The first-person POV didn't work for me, and I felt it limited my engagement with the other characters.
- ...to read more "snide comments hidden under the guise of politeness" (as promised, on page 351). We are told this is going down, but having read 350 pages before this -- pages speckled with hollow dialogue lacking such undertones -- I felt robbed to not be a part of reading it. One of the things that is downright delightful about royals, the court, and the upper class, is the zingers embedded in pleasantry! I get breathless with thrill reading scenes where I believe the elite have little else to do all day but hone their wit and duplicity. I didn't find this in The Jewel, and I missed it.
- ...to like the love story. Brace yourself for the most insta of the insta-loves, peop's.
- ...some fresher physical descriptions of people to match the strong location-building prose.
- Yes, it reminded me of The Selection and A Handmaid's Tale, but I think it is unfair to claim it is simply an inferior copy. The Jewel is a different story, in its own right...although it may lack the sophistication I hoped for. (The Selection is about many women competing for one man, fertility is not an issue. A Handmaid's Tale may share the fertility concerns, but it isn't about implantation and surrogates, nor showcasing the pregnant women's beauty and talents and treating them as pets.)
- Yes, the social system, rankings, and "prep phase" reminded me of The Hunger Games and a variety of other dystopias, but again, I think Ewing has endeavoured to create something of her own.
- While the dialogue felt quite basic (and more suited to children's literature), make no mistake, there is definitely content here intended for young (or not-so-young, even better) adults; namely the medical procedures and sexuality -- there are stirrups and there is alluded-to and led-up-to sex.
Thursday, September 18th Diva Book Nerd
Friday, September 19th Inside My Worlds
Saturday, September 20th Books for a Delicate Eternity
Sunday, September 21st Thoughts by J
Monday, September 22nd Kids Book Review
Tuesday, September 23rd Striking Keys
Wednesday, September 24th Genie in a Book
Thursday, September 25th Fictional Thoughts
Friday, September 26th Book Much