By: Amy Ewing
Publisher: Harper Teen
Published Year: 2015
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Summary (Provided by Goodreads): Violet is on the run. After the Duchess of the Lake catches Violet with Ash, the hired companion at the Palace of the Lake, Violet has no choice but to escape the Jewel or face certain death. So along with Ash and her best friend, Raven, Violet runs away from her unbearable life of servitude.
But no one said leaving the Jewel would be easy. As they make their way through the circles of the Lone City, Regimentals track their every move, and the trio barely manages to make it out unscathed and into the safe haven they were promised—a mysterious house in the Farm.
But there’s a rebellion brewing, and Violet has found herself in the middle of it. Alongside a new ally, Violet discovers her Auguries are much more powerful than she ever imagined. But is she strong enough to rise up against the Jewel and everything she has ever known?
I loved the first book The Jewel (review here). Oddly enough, this sequel kind of snuck up on me. From time to time I go to the Barnes & Noble website and flip through their Coming Soon page. If I hadn’t done that, I don’t think I would’ve known this was coming out! I’m normally much better at following sequels but for some reason I forgot about this one. I like the cover and I think it’s beautiful, but I think the first one is slightly better/more appealing to me. Either way it would’ve caught my attention even if I hadn’t already read the first one.
What I thought
I wanted to love this one so much but it fell flat for me. I still liked Violet and the overall concept of this world, but this book seemed a lot like a filler before a big finale.
The White Rose picks up where The Jewel left off. Violet was just caught with Ash and is being brought to the dungeon. She manages to escape with help and brings Ash with her. They also find her friend Raven, who she gave the serum meant to fake her own death. The entire first half of the book (and I do mean until page about 150/300) is Ash, Raven, and Violet fleeing the different circles trying to get to the person who wanted to help Violet escape in the first place.
This was the part that just seemed so tedious to me. Nothing happened in this first chunk of pages. It was a lot of “We’re now in this city. Oh no! We almost barely got caught but it’s ok. We’re safe. Let’s move onto the next city where the exact same thing will happen.” There was no character development during these scenes and no relevant information. I don’t understand why an editor didn’t encourage Ewing to cut a large chunk of this out.
Finally, Violet and clan get to their original destination (that if Violet hadn’t screwed up in the first place should’ve taken only like an hour) and the story starts to pick up again. There is a lot of story building and backstory explanations during the second half of the book but it helps to make the world and the situation make more sense. I do like some of the backstory, but I was annoyed and confused by some of the reasoning behind why Violet specifically was needed.
At this point of the story things almost seemed to move too fast. The second half of the book should’ve been much longer and played out over a longer period of time. Instead, Violet seems to access her powers in a different way immediately and then gets control over them immediately and then figures out how to save the whole island, immediately.
In the author’s section in the back of the book, it explains that The Jewel was Ewing’s thesis project. I feel like that explains a lot about why the first book was stronger and better than the second. I would guess that during the process of writing the first book she had a lot more feedback, direction, and redirection to make it stronger. This book definitely feels more like the writing of a debut author than her first one does. There are a lot of tangents that aren’t important and then the important portions seem rushed. While the second half of the book did redeem itself, it didn’t completely overshadow the first half.
By: Amy Ewing