Violet Lasting is no longer a human being.
Tomorrow she becomes Lot 197, auctioned to the highest royal bidder in the Jewel of the Lone City. Tomorrow she becomes the Surrogate of the House of the Lake, her sole purpose to produce a healthy heir for the Duchess.
Imprisoned in the opulent cage of the palace, Violet learns the brutal ways of the Jewel, where the royal women compete to secure their bloodline and the surrogates are treated as disposable commodities.
Destined to carry the child of a woman she despises, Violet enters a living death of captivity - until she sets eyes on Ash Lockwood, the royal Companion. Compelled towards each other by a reckless, clandestine passion, Violet and Ash dance like puppets in a deadly game of court politics, until they become each other's jeopardy - and salvation.
5 Words: Family, lies, attraction, friendship, babies.
I enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would.
I have to admit that before I picked this up I only looked at the cover (yes, bad Cora, but it's so pretty). I'm not a big reader of blurbs, I like as many surprises as possible when I start a book. But sometimes this can give me wildly inaccurate expectations. I was expecting something like The Selection. But actually? This was pretty good. It definitely surpassed my pretty-dress induced expectations.
I found myself reading this book rather quickly despite the relatively slow pace. Although not much happens for the first three quarters of the book, I couldn't put it down. As much as I didn't like Violet all that much, I needed to know what was going to happen next. This book very much sets the scene and builds the world.
The world in this story is not wildly fantastical. It's pretty cookie-cutter fantasy, and familiar enough that if it weren't for the magical aspect it wouldn't be too dissimilar from the world we live in.
I loved the complexities of the characters, how it wasn't all black and white. Even now I have finished the first book I'm not sure where the lines lie, whether any of the characters are truly wholly good or bad. I like these blurred lines, how it keeps me thinking, keeps me coming back to the story.
I did feel like the story just ended, that nothing was really wrapped up, which has made me desperate for the next book. Now I'm just playing the waiting game with the library.