Rescued from poverty in order to help royalty, Violet Lasting grows to hate her gilded cage in this dystopian debut.
Taken from her family in the Marsh—the farthest circle and lowest class of the Lone City—Violet has spent the last four years in the holding facility of Southgate. Not a criminal but a surrogate, Violet was born with a certain gene and the special power of Augury (transformative magic) and will help a royal woman…by bearing her child. The Duchess of the Lake buys Violet at Auction and begins to pamper and punish her, eager to implant a child that will win the ruling Electress and Exetor’s favor. Beautiful, purple-eyed and slightly rebellious, Violet balks at the idea of being a walking womb for a rich woman, but she cannot think of a way out. Mysterious beautician Lucien takes Violet as his symbol for a brewing rebellion and offers an escape, even as Violet falls for Ash, the hired companion for the Duchess’s niece. Ewing’s opener bears obvious similarities to The Hunger Games and The Handmaid’s Tale as well as countless other dystopian novels, with predictable rebellion and romance elements. Still, it offers a well-built world, an appealing heroine and an unusual blend of magic and science. Expect sequels.
Fans not yet sated by the dystopian glut may enjoy this decently wrought, derivative mashup. (Dystopian fantasy. 14 & up)