As part of Sci-Fi November I have the lovely Amy Ewing discussing her debut YA novel, The Jewel. I reviewed this back earlier this year and I have to say it's one of my favourite dystopian books I've read in a while. I can't (literally can't) wait for the sequel
"A stunningly gorgeous, yet brutal truth to society's most wanted, comes The Jewel, Amy Ewing's debut YA novel." - My review.
You may have heard mixed reviews about this book and I would recommend it. It's unique taste of world building and you may society a little hard to accept, so Amy has very kindly written a guest post about the beauty vs. the brutality of the novel. I also have a Giveaway at the end for 2 copies of the novel. But first here is a little more about the book.
The Jewel (The Lone City #1)
by Amy Ewing
Publisher - Walker Books
Release Date - September 4th 2014
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository
Today is my last day as Violet Lasting. Tomorrow I become Lot 197."
The Jewel is a shocking and compelling new YA series from debut author, Amy Ewing.
Sold for six million diamantes, Violet is now Surrogate of the House of the Lake in the centre of the Lone City, the Jewel. Her sole purpose is to produce a healthy heir for the Duchess – a woman Violet fears and despises.
Violet is trapped in a living death, her name and body no longer her own. She fights to hold on to her own identity and sanity, uncertain of the fate of her friends, isolated and at the mercy of the Duchess.
The Handmaid's Tale meets The Other Boleyn Girl in a world where beauty and brutality collide.
'The beauty vs the brutality of the Jewel’. So the beauty of society with the glamour, riches and balls of the Jewel against the extreme and somewhat extreme aspects like surrogacy, values of one's individualism within the Jewel.
Here’s the thing: I love my stories with a heaping measure of darkness. I think it probably comes from my love of Roald Dahl as a child—all of his stories are so deliciously dark and twisted. So I knew setting out to write The Jewel that I wanted it to have a glittering exterior with a very brutal underbelly. Like picking up a precious stone and finding maggots underneath.
I also am a huge fan of BBC period dramas—Pride and Prejudice, North and South, and Downton Abbey. Downton Abbey inspired the aesthetic for the Jewel. I knew I wanted it to have a turn-of-the-century feel. The glamour, the parties, the dresses…all these captivated me. I did a lot of research on palaces and gowns. The royalty is based on the pre-revolutionary France, when the wealth gap was so outrageous—I felt that sort of setting was exactly what this book needed.
So then it came down to combining these elements, which was really just so much fun. It is not an accident that, throughout the story, Violet is confronted with abuse, humiliation, and degradation, only to be enthralled again and again by the overwhelming beauty that surrounds her. I found this dynamic to be fascinating. Pretty things are supposed to be pretty. But when you have these beautiful woman in gorgeous ball gowns talking about teenage girls as if they are property, it’s so jarring. They strip women of their identity, they use their bodies and feel no remorse, no pity. And the best way to highlight how horrible it all is was to really make the Jewel and rich, luscious place. So many times writing this book I found myself wanting to live in the Jewel, only to remind myself that, no, it’s awful. The royalty are even horrible to each other. It’s that classic situation of, ‘Look at everything you have and yet you still want more.’ Their abject greed got to the point where they literally made trafficking people legal.
But like I said, there is something so appealing about its beauty. I loved creating those palaces, and all the delicious food, and the gardens and topiaries. I hope readers get swept up in all the glamour like I did, only to remind themselves, again and again, like Violet, that it does not matter what the outside looks like. It’s what is in our hearts and minds that really counts.
She grew up in a small town outside Boston, where her librarian mother instilled a deep love of reading at a young age. Amy moved to New York City in 2000 to study theater at New York University. Unfortunately, her acting career didn’t quite pan out. She worked in restaurants, as an administrative assistant, a nanny, and a sales representative for a wine distributor before the lack of creativity in her life drove her to begin writing.
Amy received her MFA in Creative Writing for Children from The New School, where she was lucky enough to meet a fabulous community of YA writers who keep her sane on a daily basis. She lives in Harlem, where she spends her days writing, eating cheese, and occasionally binge watching The Vampire Diaries.
Terms and Conditions.
It is an UK ONLY (Sorry INT!)
Any giveaway hosted for Sci-Fi November will end at the 30th November!!!
Once it finishes I will select 2 winners and email you. Then I will pass your details directly to the publisher so you can receive this prize. I am not responsible for any losses of books once I've passed the information forward.