Review: Garnet’s Story (The Lone City #1.25) by Amy Ewing


Title: Garnet’s Story
Author: Amy Ewing
Publisher/Year: Harper Collins 9/13/16
Length:   100 Pages
Series:  The Lone City #1.25


In The Jewel and The White Rose, we follow Violet in her servitude under the Duchess of the Lake. Now we’ll hear the Duchess’s son, Garnet’s, story in this digital novella—a companion story to the New York Times bestselling Lone City trilogy.

Garnet, the son of the Duchess of the Lake, has always been a spoiled playboy. But now, for the first time, Garnet is beginning to realize the horrors that his family, and the ruling community, have perpetrated. And he just may be ready to do something about it.

My Thoughts

I’ve always wondered about Garnet as i read through the series and i think that there was definitely a lot more to him than we knew.  Especially coming out of book 1, the Jewel, he’s really given a persona to live up to and it’s not until the last few lines that we see that there’s something bigger going on here.  In this novella that we get about him, we see truly what that ‘more’ is and what caused it to all come to happen.

So we know that Garnet is the Duchess’s son, the one that purchased Violet, and we know that his reputation precedes him quite a bit.  He’s known more for his partying and antics than for being someone that will be the future Duke of the Lake and i think all along i wondered if it was an act or cover, and in this novella we get to see exactly what it is.

We come into this story right before the auction i believe, and we see that Garnet is up to his partying ways which of course get him into trouble.  BIG trouble.  If it weren’t for Lucien, then things would have turned out so much differently for him in this series so it’s lucky Violet’s in the picture and Lucien is in the picture.

What we see in Garnet’s story from that point on are a lot of scenes that we had already gotten from Violet’s side – where Garnet came into a dinner late and drunk, where he bumped into Violet at a party, and the whole process of the search for a suitable wife for him.  We didn’t really get much of that side of the story before which humanizes Garnet in ways that i think were needed, but we get to see that there’s so much working behind it all that there’s something bigger going on.

The other nice piece of this story is that we get to see what the relationship is between Anabelle and Garnet.  personally, i was quite curious at that one because there were scenes where we would see them interact without any context and at least we get that and a bit more in this novella.  To be honest, i think that there’s still more potentially that we aren’t told about, but i think that we get enough to validate a lot of what i was questioning and then get to see how that plays out as the story progresses.

supposedly there are a few more novellas that i need to track down, so that’s my quest- but in the meantime, have a great day!

Review: The House of the Stone (Lone City #1.5) by Amy Ewing


Title: The House of the Stone
Author: Amy Ewing
Publisher/Year: Harper Collins 7/7/15
Length:   71 Pages
Series:  The Lone City #1.5


In The Jewel, we followed Violet in her servitude under the Duchess of the Lake. Now we’ll hear Raven’s story and her time as a surrogate for the Countess of the Stone in this digital novella from Amy Ewing.

When Raven is bought at the Auction, she knows immediately that things will not go well. And when she arrives at the Countess’s palace, Raven quickly discovers that the Countess is much less interested in having a baby than experimenting with Raven’s mind and body. Raven can only hope for an escape . . . and to see Violet again, all the while reminding herself that she is Raven Stirling, and she does matter.

My Thoughts

I’m a huge fan of getting novellas that give us snippets and glimpses into what’s going in the story with other characters who are so important to what happens to the mains but are secondary themselves.  We met Raven in The Jewel when they were still at Southgate and their lives were not yet completely destroyed.  only marginally as they had already been taken from their families to be trained in the auguries.  Regardless, from what we learned of Raven even then, she’s a strong girl who’s going to stand her ground, be a true friend and never give up.  And because of where she ends up from the auction – bought by the House of the Stone, she has no choice but to hope that what she knows of herself is enough to survive.

In this novella, we come into Raven’s story as she’s going to auction – where she’s forced to be strong for Violet so that her friend isn’t so afraid.  What she gets from that though is a life of horror and pain that we saw glimpses of in the Jewel.  Raven’s life is horrible and it’s something that’s intentionally being done – she’s put in a cage, forced to suffer through tools and things to abuse and harm her.  Ebony, the Countess and her L-i-W are masochists who take pleasure in hurting her, and the doctor there is so on board with mutilating her and getting her pregnant that there’s really no hope there

In these few chapters, we see the life slowly get sucked out of Raven, no matter how much they physically hurt her though, she stays tough, she forms a friendship with Emile who is her Lady in waiting and the few glimpses that she gets at Violet when they are out makes her hope that she can keep on.

It’s a sweet place that we go in this novella, where we get to see another surrogates perspective on things,  and therefore another POV on how the royals are living their lives since it’s clear that there’s so much more going on with forming alliances and deep rooted hatred.  This novella gives you a nice little boost as you get into book 2, but also one that’s nice to read if you did it like me and read it after the fact.  Enjoy!

Review: The Black Key (The Lone City #3) by Amy Ewing


Title: The Black Key
Author: Amy Ewing
Publisher/Year: Harper Collins 10/4/16
Length:   237 Pages
Series:  The Lone City #3


For too long, Violet and the people of the outer circles of the Lone City have lived in service of the royalty of the Jewel. But now, the secret society known as the Black Key is preparing to seize power.

While Violet knows she is at the center of this rebellion, she has a more personal stake in it—for her sister, Hazel, has been taken by the Duchess of the Lake. Now, after fighting so hard to escape the Jewel, Violet must do everything in her power to return not only to save Hazel, but the future of the Lone City.

My Thoughts

This story has finally found it’s ending and while it’s very very expected, i think that we got to see the culmination of a lot of things.  where this series differs from a lot that i’ve read and loved, it’s that we don’t get to see the details behind what’s next, but at least we get to see the ‘what’s now’ bit of things.

So as you’ll remember from the last book, we learned that Hazel was taken as the replacement surrogate for the Duchess of the Lake and that meant that Violet now had a personal quest to protect and save her in addition to furthering the agenda of the Black Key Society.  That of course means that bad stuff is going to happen since we know that once emotions are involved, all hell breaks loose.

Before she’s even able to get that sorted out, she and Sil and Raven work together to bring surrogates from the other facilities together so that they can put a plan into action – find a way to get all the powers pulled together to be united and strong and then take down the royalty.  So we see that as the means to introduce some of other powerful ladies that are also part of this historical land.

Once that’s all happened Violet makes the decision that she has to go back to the Jewel and Garnet gets her brought on as his wife’s Lady in waiting.  She’s used her powers to change her appearance and few know that she’s in there at all.  there are of course challenges there as well since Cora (the duchess’s lady in waiting) realizes who she is and gives Violet an ultimatum – to kill the duchess herself or to be outed.  so that’s one added layer of stress.  on top of that, Violet has learned that Ash has left the White Rose and that means that he’s open to be recognized and executed.  Then there’s all the fear of not knowing what’s at stake for Hazel and hoping that the Surrogates and the Black Keys are able to get together enough in numbers to make their plan work.

If we need an underlying lesson here, it’s one of love and friendship and family.  What we see over and over again that these folks really do have a deeper bond and that’s somewhat necessary to make their powers work ,but unexpected love comes along with it as well.  There are characters like Carnelia who are so underestimated throughout the story, and all she wants is to be loved  and then there are those like the Companions who are trained to be what girls want to see as love, but of course they have their own struggles because they are things only, not people.  So when we finally get to see these bonds form, it’s really heartwarming.

So where we net out at the end, this complex plot has a lot of elements that you know are going to fail, regardless of how well Lucien has orchestrated it.  We see that a lot of the characters that we love die in the line of fire, even some that we really didn’t expect.  At least i didn’t.  We see some step up and become more important players as well and i think that’s a nice twist to thing.  But the ending of course is what you want to see happen for a select few and you are left with hope and a sense of maybe there’s a way to make life bigger and better.  So on that note, have a great night all and i’ll be back soon.

Review: The White Rose (The Lone City #2) by Amy Ewing


Title: The White Rose
Author: Amy Ewing
Publisher/Year: Harper Collins 9/6/16
Length:   336 Pages
Series:  The Lone City #2


Violet is on the run—away from the Jewel, away from a lifetime of servitude, away from the Duchess of the Lake, who bought her at auction. With Ash and Raven traveling with her, Violet will need all of her powers to get her friends, and herself, out of the Jewel alive.

But no matter how far Violet runs, she can’t escape the rebellion brewing just beneath the Jewel’s glittering surface, and her role in it. Violet must decide if she is strong enough to rise against the Jewel and everything she has ever known.

My Thoughts

There’s so much going on in this second installment of the series, and whatever we thought the premise of the story was, it’ll be something entirely different.  From the end of the first book, we know that Ash has now been accused of raping Violet so he was set for execution, and Violet needed to find a way out of the palace.  we saw Garnet pop up at the last moment to help her with Lucien and that’s where we start off this journey.  We’re on the run with them on the way to somewhere safe that no one quite knows, in the hopes that clarity will be brought to them on what has to happen to save everyone from the royalty and then to see where the Lone City will go.

Throughout the journey, we see that there’s really something bigger going on.  Violet was able to get Raven out of the Jewel with the serum and they are bringing her with them in the hopes that maybe she will somehow survive even though they know that you die when you give birth if you’re a surrogate.  Then there’s the whole issue of Garnet popping up from time to time as well as lucien, the fact that Regimentals are looking for Ash and there are no clear directions to where they need to go – so we see that it’s going to be really really hard for them to make it, if they can even make it.

We know of course they’ll persevere, but i think that what’s really going to throw everyone is the whole story behind the powers of the surrogates – and while it’s not something that they expected at all, i had a feeling there was something bigger going on.  Mind you we get background to the island and what it started at before it was taken over, but we don’t really get to know why it’s only those really from the Marsh that have the Augeries.

Throughout this story we are seeing a tale of trust – who can they trust amongst themselves and who’s going to betray them.  Then there’s the point of righting history’s wrongs.  That’s the biggest thing that we see happening here.  It’s not just overthrowing the royalty to get equality for everyone, but it’s returning the island to it’s rightful owners and that’s the biggest challenge since that also means that they have to convince people that all that they know isn’t quite the case.

We see a lot of planning and plotting.  There’s a lady named Sil who’s really the shepard here -she’s the one that discovered the truth of the surrogates through her own experiences and has the pain to teach everyone else.  Violet seems to be the one that’s been chosen to lead it all – she’s got the power that she can harness the best and everyone is expecting her to conquer the world.  Then there’s Ash who really wants to find his place in this world since everyone seems to think that he’s just a companion.  There’s Garnet who’s really interesting to me – i thought he had a thing with Annabelle in the first book but i’m wondering if it’s now Raven based how they interact.  The thing with him though is that he’s playing both sides a bit – the jewel and the Black Keys – so we’ll have to see how that plays out.

We get yet another great cliffhanger at the end of the story that i was totally expecting to be honest.  Violet is on the run and the duchess needs a new surrogate who can do what she needs.  We ran into Ochre – Violet’s brother and find out that their sister is getting to be tested soon for the next auction and surprise – we learn that the Duchess all of a sudden has a new secret surrogate.  So i guess that’s what we’re going to be dealing with in book 3.  It’s a race against time to see if they will be able to put their strategy into action before it’s too late to save her sister.  all in all, a great many things to be accomplished in the finale.  Hope you guys enjoy this one – it’s really an interesting story.

Review: The Jewel (The Lone City #1) by Amy Ewing


Title: The Jewel
Author: Amy Ewing
Publisher/Year: Harper Collins 9/1/15
Length:   400 Pages
Series:  The Lone City #1


The Jewel means wealth, the Jewel means beauty—but for Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Born and raised in the Marsh, Violet is destined for the Jewel. She is trained as a surrogate for the royalty and is bought by the Duchess of the Lake at auction. And she quickly learns the brutal truths that lie beneath the Jewel’s glittering facade: the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way of life.

Violet must accept the ugly realities of her life . . . all while trying to stay alive. But before she can accept her fate, Violet meets a handsome boy who is also under the Duchess’s control, and a forbidden love erupts. But their illicit affair has consequences, which will cost them both more than they bargained for. And toeing the line between being calculating and rebellious, Violet must decide what, and who, she is willing to risk for her own freedom.

My Thoughts

I’ve had this book in my library for so long that i was borderline going to archive it but after reading The Glittering Court the other day, i decided to give this one a chance since the premises are somewhat similar.  The overview says that it’s a bit like The Selection and a bit like The Handmaids Tale and i guess in various pieces that’s a correct assessment.   I think that there’s definitely a unique skew to this story that we haven’t seen in the same way before.

As the summary notes, we meet Violet on the day before her Reckoning day which is the day that she goes to ‘the Auction’ where she’s to be sold to an elite woman to be her surrogate and birth her child.  We are placed in a time and place where society lives in the Lone city, a walled city that’s an island essentially with a great wall keeping the ocean out.  As you get closer to the center of the island,  you see wealth and quality of life improve taking you all the way to the center – the Jewel where the elite of the elite, the Exetor/Electress (rulers) and the Duchess/Countess (founding families live.

The journey that we go on in this story is not just one of understanding what Violet’s life will be like, but it’s also trying to better understand why she was chosen to be a surrogate and what made the girls in the Marsh so special.  They seem to have these genetic mutations where they have powers to manipulate colors, shapes and growth which is something that’s desired by these elite women since everyone is on their quest to have the most desirable child.  There are so many questions in my head to understand what makes these women so special and i feel like it’s something that was talked about a lot in the story but we never got clarity.  There’s definitely a bigger story here and as the first installment progressed, we definitely began to see how that was going to likely take shape as the series continues.

So back to Violet – she’s been forced into a life where she has no future aside from birthing a child for someone who pays for her in auction, all based on the level of her skills in three augueries as they are called.  abilities to manipulate things.  She has scored the highest at ability to promote growth and that’s something that one duchess in particular is really interested in since she needs to have the first daughter born now that the electress has a son.  She wants her child to be matched with the son so that she can further an agenda that we still don’t know.  Violet though not only has become a piece of property but she’s resigned to really living her life as someone else deems is correct.  While she’s given food, great clothing and entertainment, she’s not allowed to truly have an identity or even a personality of her own since she’s there for the purpose of having a baby.

There are a cast of characters that we meet throughout that i think make this story even better.  There’s Raven who’s Violet’s best friend and who is also in the auction.  We see that dynamic change based on who’s purchased her, and the hope that comes along with wanting something more for yourself and your friends.  There’s a twist at the end that comes up related to Raven that makes things all that more complicated but gives us something to look forward to in the next book.

Next is lucien who we meet at the Auction as he’s been assigned to prep Violet for her sale.  He’s a lady-in waiting’ for the Electress meaning that he’s got quite the high role in working class.  We quickly find that he’s someone who’s maybe not sharing all that he is to the world.  He quickly becomes a friend to Violet and we see as the story progresses that he is much much more than we know – that he’s connected and has an agenda that will hopefully help all of the surrogates.  He’s an inventor of sorts, and a planner and conspirator and from the last line in the story – he’s going to be key moving forward.

Then there’s Ash, who’s been hired as a ‘companion’ for the Duchess’s niece.  Ash seems like a nice enough guy at first – maybe the first guy that Violet’s really encountered ever and the one that shows similar interests but he’s forbidden because of who he is in the house and who she is.  The evolution of their relationship in this book is quite expected and still you want to bang your head against the wall for their obvious lack of sense of reality since you know that it’s all going to end poorly.

Aside from them, there’s Garnet who is the Duchess’s son, newly engaged and yet a bit of a disappointment to the world, but there’s a huge surprise that popped up at the end that i can’t wait to see how it comes to life in book 2.  He has an interesting relationship with Annabelle who’s Violet’s lady in waiting and i want to know more about that as well.  Tag on the Duchesses/Dukes, Countesses/Counts and the Exetor/Electress, well i think there’s quite a few personalities to wrangle and a lot of plotting and scheming.  Three are endeavors to change the world and how surrogacy happens and i think that it’ll be interesting to see which side ultimately wins out and who’s going to benefit from what.  So…on that note – have a great day and i’ll be back soon.