Friday, December 9, 2016

The black key by Amy Ewing

The black key is the final book in the Jewel trilogy so this review contains ***SPOILERS*** if you have not read the first two books in the series.  This series really needs to be read in order so make sure you read The Jewel and The white rose first.

Violet has loved and lost, and along with her fellow former surrogates she is preparing for a war against the royals who have controlled their lives for so long.  She has learned to control the elements as her Paladin powers grow, and visiting the holding facilities lets Violet and her friends teach the next generation of surrogates about who they really are and what they can accomplish.  It is a race against time though, because Violet may have escaped from the royals that control the Jewel, but they have taken her sister Hazel in her place.  All their careful plans might unravel if Violet returns to the Jewel early, but Violet will do anything to protect her family and the ones she loves.

Disguising herself, Violet returns to the Jewel and the home that she fled only months before.  This time she is a servant rather than a surrogate, and that invisibility helps her move through the Jewel with surprising ease - but it also means she is almost as powerless as a surrogate.  Violet hoped to find her sister and bring her home, but instead she finds her sister at the centre of a dangerous and deadly plot where Hazel is even more of a pawn than Violet was herself.  Change is coming to the Jewel -  but will it be at the hands of Violet and her fellow Paladin, or at the hands of the royals who seem so eager to self destruct?

The black key is the final book in the Jewel trilogy and leads to reader to a satisfying conclusion that provides closure for Violet and her world.  This is a dystopian series that was suitable for younger teens, a rare find in a publishing trend that has seen some authors push the boundaries of what younger teens can deal with - great for the older teens who are often neglected by publishers, but it put some great series out of reach of younger teens.  

The world of the Jewel is both opulent and rotten, a glittering facade hiding the rotten underbelly that sees thousands of people oppressed for the benefit of the few.  Students of history would pick up subtle echoes of our own world history here, where royalty have lived decadent lives while the masses struggle and starve.  I have enjoyed visiting Violet and her world and hope that Ewing continues to explore more of this genre as she has the ability to create richly imagined and complex worlds that are easily accessible to her audience.  A great addition to the dystopia genre that deserves to be discovered - and would be a real treat read back to back so you don't have to wait for the next book in the series like I did!
If you like this book then try:

Reviewed by Brilla

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