Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Black Key by Amy Ewing

Series: The Lone City (bk. 3) final book

Genera(s): Dystopian Fantasy/Sci-fi/Romance

Subjects: royalty, classes, pregnancy, surrogates, slavery, abilities, love

Setting: The Lone City, and the middle sector of the city, The Jewel

POV/Tense: 1st person POV, present tense: Violet Lasting

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 295 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $17.99

Publisher: HarperTeen

Summary/ product description: “For too long, Violet and the people of the outer circles of the Lone City have lived in service to the royalty of the Jewel. But now the secret society known as the Black Key is preparing to seize power.

And while Violet knows she is at the center of this rebellion, she has a more personal stake in it—her sister, Hazel, has been taken by the Duchess of the Lake. Now, after fighting so hard to escape the Jewel, Violet must do everything in her power to return to save not only Hazel, but the future of the Lone City.”

My Review:  The Black Key is the epic finale to the Lone City trilogy. What started in The Jewel and continued in the White Rose now comes to a close. If you have not read The Jewel, I recommend the series to people who like YA Dystopias and Fantasy. Fans of The Selection by Kiera Cass, Crewel by Gennifer Albin, Divergent by Veronica Roth, Bumped by Megan McCafferty, The Red Queen by Victoria Avyard, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski, A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess, Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige, Pawn by Aimee Carter, Defiance by C.J. Redwine and Incarnate by Jodi Meadows.

When Violet finds out that the Duchess of the Lake kidnapped her sister Hazel to replace her as surrogate, Violet comes up with a plan to disguise herself as a lady-in-waiting to help rescue her sister. The rebel group known as the Black Key has a greater plan in store and the big day in the next Auction Day and Violet keeps on eye on her sister and what’s going on in the palace while she plays the new lady-in-waiting for Coral, Garnet’s new wife. Garnet is part of the plan and “hires” Violet for Coral, even thought his mother has denied any lady-in-waiting that Coral selected.

Meanwhile Ash Lockwood, Violet’s love-interest in the story and former companion (like a male escort) of Carnelian (Garnet’s cousin), is gathering other companions to help with the cause of the Back Key. Lucien, a male lady-in-waiting for the Electress, also plays a huge role in all this since he’s the basically the brains of the whole operation.

I really enjoyed this finale. My only complaint is there isn’t enough romance in it, but the awesome elemental magic abilities make for it. I really enjoy dystopian and fantasy stories that have a character in disguise for some sort of revolution. This happens in Pawn by Aimee Carter, The Red Queen by Victoria Avyard and Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige. It’s not exactly royal-espionage, but in this one it felt like it.

I loved elemental powers. It reminds me of the show W.I.T.C.H. with the guardians, and a book I recently read, A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess. Violet went from a poor surrogate to a bad-A Paladin! She used the Auguries to change her hair from black to blond and eye from violet to green, which was painful for her, but she did it for her sister. She was like Katniss fighting the Royals instead of the Capital.

I really adored the world building of this series. The Lone city has five circles, kind of like a Caste system in the Selection series, from highest to lowest: The Jewel, The Bank, The Smoke, The Farm, and the Marsh. There’s certain naming conventions I noticed for people from each place. The Jewel’s Royals are named after gemstones and mineral, The Bank seemed to be luxurious items, The Smoke were named after periodic table elements and industrial materials, The Farm people were named after plants and animal, and the Marsh people were named after color, for attributes like hair, eyes and skin. The Marsh names was something that took a while to figure out.

An overall great finale. I will miss the series and I hope to read what Amy Ewings writes next: The Cerulean (a space fantasy book?).

Cover Art Review: Lovely cover. Looks like shattered glass around the girl in the dress.

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