From the start, we are under no illusions that Violet Lasting’s life is not meant to be easy. She is an Augury, separated from her family and auctioned off to the highest bidder to act as a surrogate for a wealthy family.
Many dream of living in The Jewel. While its inhabitants don’t suffer many privations, their lives are far from easy. Beneath its glittering surface, The Jewel is a harsh and unpleasant place to exist.
In many ways this is like so many other YA dystopian novels. We have a female protagonist who is a lot stronger than she thinks; rumours of scandal at the highest level; some gruesome deaths; a clearly defined social structure and, inevitably, the romance.
However, it is not a mere copy of these novels. There is something about Violet that makes you hope she’ll triumph. While she is naive in giving in to her feelings for Ash, we are made to understand her motivation for continuing something so dangerous. The character of Lucien – like Cinna in The Hunger Games – is intriguing, not least because he really does seem to offer hope for the future. The biggest plus for this novel though was the completely unexpected element to the ending, which has me desperate to know what comes next.
While this didn’t make it onto the Carnegie Long-list for 2016, I am certain that those amongst its target audience who pick it up will find a place for it in their hearts.