Author: Amy Ewing
Publication Date: October 1st, 2015
Goodreads | Book Depository
Perfect for fans of The Hunger Games and Matched, this is the second book in the Lone City trilogy, following on from Amy Ewing's shocking and compelling debut novel, The Jewel.
Violet, Ash and Raven have escaped the palace of the Duchess of the Lake, but Regimentals are hunting for them across the city. Nowhere is safe, and they are dependent on Lucien and his secret society for survival. If they can reach the safety of the White Rose then Violet may be able to help Lucien in his plan to rescue more surrogates. For one surrogate, however, it is already too late. Violet's best friend, Raven, is pregnant. And in the Jewel, surrogates cannot survive giving birth.
I have been eagerly anticipating this sequel to The Jewel ever since we were left with a killer cliffhanger and whilst I unfortunately didn't enjoy it as much as The Jewel, it is still a strong sequel with good development in terms of both plot and characters.
The story kicks off from where the cliffhanger ended and Violet, Ash and Raven make their way out of The Jewel to a safe place away from the brutality of the royal houses. It's a challenging journey especially with Ash's face plastered everywhere on wanted posters but they eventually make it to The White Rose: their safe haven. The pace was quite slow throughout this section. At least, it felt considerably slower than the fast pace I was accustomed to in The Jewel. It does pick up from here on out though and as we finally begin to learn more about the history of the island and as secrets are unravelled, the pace quickens and it becomes difficult to put the book aside. The introduction of the resistance is engaging as is the further exploration into the powers that the surrogates possess.
I loved the character development throughout the story. Violet remains strong throughout whilst also displaying a fierce bravery and protectiveness over those she cares about. Raven has changed a lot from the sassy girl we first met due to experiments being carried out on her and it was intriguing to see a different side to her. Garnet is back and I think he might be my favourite character. He has come a long way since we first encountered him and I'm excited to see the part he is going to play in the resistance against the royalty. New characters are introduced in a non-overbearing way and I'm also very much on board with a developing romance between two characters!
Which brings me to the main romance between Ash and Violet. I wasn't the biggest fan of this romance in The Jewel as it felt very rushed and I'm still not completely sold but it has grown on me a lot. I can really appreciate the way that it has been written: there are no love triangles, no complications, no fighting; just two people who really care for and want to be with each other despite the odds. I like that they are two separate people with their own lives and their own problems and that their romance isn't the main plot. It burns along nicely beside the other, more pressing, elements whilst giving each of them someone they can lean on when needed. I also really liked that we learn more of Ash's history and how his time as a companion is explored a little. As it's pointed out in the story, the surrogates aren't the only ones who are used by royalty in disgusting and degrading ways and Ash has just as much reason to hate them as Violet does.
I did really like this sequel but the slow pace in the beginning means I didn't enjoy it as much as its predecessor. With that being said, I am fully invested in the plot and the characters and with another killer cliffhanger, I can't wait to get my hands on the concluding installment!