I actually got an ARC of this book through Books for Trade on Twitter, but originally I got an e-galley from HarperTeen and Edelweiss. I really wanted a physical ARC though, to match the physical ARC I have of the first book, The Jewel, which I got at BEA in 2014. So thanks to all of those I’ve listed, I finally got around to reading it, and enjoyed it! It was still good, although not as great as the first one. But it was good enough, and I still can’t wait to read the 3rd one. If you haven’t read the first one, there will be spoilers here unfortunately. In that case, click the link above taking you to my review of the first book, and stop reading this review NOW. 🙂
Where we left off, the Duchess had just caught Violet in bed with Ash, the male companion. And what is in store for Violet and Ash is something she just can’t stand to happen. So she must run away, but instead of taking the potion that will make her appear dead, she gives it to her friend Raven, who seems to be in an even worse situation. The two of them end up in the morgue after she’s helped Ash escape with the help of Garnet, the Duchesses son, and even Garnet’s sister, Carnelian. But Carnelian loves Ash, even though she hates Violet, so she helps them because of that. On the run they find out that the Duchess accused Ash of rape and so he is wanted everywhere for that. Supposedly she still has Violet sequestered away and has signed a contract for her daughter, not yet born, to the Exetor’s son. Something that has never been done. Violet had been rescued by the Black Key group, but her trip out of the city to the Farm is filled with dangers and chances of being caught. Once Lucien finally helps them get to the Farm, she will meet Sil. Sil was a surrogate at one time, and she escaped and is now living and helping try to take back the Island they live on. She will help Violet figure out her powers, and how she can use them to help the cause.
Both Violet and Ash’s families will come into play in parts of this story, in very sad ways. We learn more about Ash’s life as a companion, as well as what led up to the way the city is these days. There’s a lot of information in this story, although I still feel there is more to know. We also get to meet some of the surrogates that we’d only heard mentioned at the Auction in the first book.
I really liked that Ash was a pretty realistic character, I felt. There was definitely some interesting new aspects to the auguries that we learned about, that caused the sicknesses back in The Jewel, that made the surrogates sick. I’m also very intrigued about the history of the island and the people who were there before. This definitely one you must read to go on in the story and find out what will happen in this world.