Monday, January 4, 2016

The white rose by Amy Ewing

The white rose is the second book in the Jewel trilogy so this review contains ***SPOILERS*** if you have not read the first book in the series.  This series really needs to be read in order so if you have not already read The Jewel then I suggest you do before reading this review!

Violet has done the unthinkable for a surrogate - she has become romantically entangled with a companion.  It is an act of treason and now Ash has been sentenced to death, a sentence the Duchess seems all too eager to carry out.  The chains of her servitude are bound even tighter than before, but the worst thing for Violet is knowing that people have died and are going to die for her - a surrogate, a disposable life, a tool in the hands of the Duchess and her doctor.  When she manages to achieve the impossible and escapes from the manor it is only the start of a hair raising and dangerous escape from The Jewel, because the Duchess is determined to get her back, and Violet is not travelling alone.

The world beyond the walls of The Jewel is chaotic and dangerous, each ring of the city full of it's own dangers and challenges.  Violet and her companions are at a distinct disadvantage, depending on Lucien and his plans to get them to safety.  It is a dangerous situation, and not just because the Regimentals are searching high and low for them, although for some strange reason the Duchess has kept news of her escape very quiet.  Even when they reach their destination in the Farm they may not truly be safe, because although Lucien has plans for Violet those plans depend on her learning how to harness the power of the Augeries.  Any rebellion carries risks, especially if you can not always trust the people around you.  Violet has a lot to do, and very little time in which to do it - and to achieve her goals she may have to sacrifice everything.

The Jewel was an outstanding debut novel, a fresh voice in the world of dystopian novels, a glimpse of a world where the few rule the many with an iron fist.  Violet and her world were expertly sketched out and then populated with interesting and humanly complicated characters that have continued to grow and devlop in this gripping sequel.  In The white rose we learn more about what the Augeries are and where they come from, as well as learning more about the history of the island where Violet and her fellow surrogates live - but don't worry it is not a boring history lesson, it's more dynamic than that!  Through her escape we learn more about Violet's world and it's rulers, and we learn that there is a rebellion afoot that has plans for Violet.

Violet's world is controlled and she is a slave to her place in life, but this series is not as dark and despairing as some of the other dystopian series - in many ways it is presented as a glittering world of glamour and luxury, with a rotten core of power plays and manipulation.  As Violet learns more about her world so do we, and it becomes clear that everyone wants something from Violet, some people are just more obvious about it than others.  This is a series that would be suitable for younger teens who are interested in reading dystopian series without too much of the outright gruesome and grim that you get with series like The hunger games or even The testing.  One of my colleagues read The Jewel and felt it was quite cliched, but I found a lot to like and enough subtleties to enjoy it as a unique voice.  The white rose continues on well from The Jewel, and it will be interesting to see how Ewing brings the trilogy to a close.

If you like this book then try:

Reviewed by Brilla

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