When you’re reading a LOT of books, sometimes, you have this strange feeling of deja-vu. This happened to me a lot of times while reading dystopian or fantasy stories, because the trope is pretty much the same. One character, nothing special, except he’s here to save the whole world. A rebellion, a huge fight, and everything’s great again. After a while, if it’s too predictable or deja-vu, we are getting a bit sick of it. In The Black Jewel, I couldn’t shake off this deja-vu feeling, despite a very promising story, it didn’t live up to my expectations.
AN UNORIGINAL PLOT
After a while, you’re getting to know the stories, so much that you can tell them by heart. Here, this is the story of Ela, a teenager with a blank space for a past, living with a group of people in the forest, but dreaming of better days in the city, dreaming to get away and to find her real family, her freedom. With one of her closest friends, Caden, they manage to get away thanks to a map, and there awaits adventure, fights, betrayals and most of it all, the truth about her family, her life, her destiny….and so on. If the plot wasn’t too original to begin with, I was hopeful that the characters and the world-building would take me far, far away from every other fantasy stories I’d ever read before. But it didn’t. The world-building was a bit weak, and where I wanted to know details, shape out worlds, traditions and complexities, I just got a short glimpse of everything, making me craving for more. I’m not much into long, winding descriptions, but I would have loved a little bit more details to really make the world stand out, in my mind, and make the book a bit more memorable.
INTERESTING CHARACTERS, BUT LACKING DEPTH
The characters aren’t too original either, sadly, but what disappointed me the most, was how two-dimensional they felt in my mind, especially the main character. Ela is a teenager and she never learned life the hard way, so she’s obviously not as badass as Katniss Everdeen or every other character we might call “strong” might be. But this is not why I didn’t fully connect to her. She felt a bit childish and most of it all, naive and indecisive all thorough the story, which made it a bit hard to connect with her, and for me to fully like her. She didn’t feel like the cliché of the strong girl who needs to save the world, which was a good thing, however. The main character is surrounded by Caden, her long-time friend and maybe a bit more than that, and a whole lot of other characters she meets during her journey. If there’s something I really enjoyed, it’s how the author allowed us a glimpse into the past of these secondary characters, in order to discover what happened before, how are the consequences now, and most of it all, allowed me to understand some of these second characters’ motives, and grow actually closer to them. I only wish that happened with the main character as well.
GOOD PACING AND LOVE INTEREST.
Despite these flaws, The Black Jewel was an enjoyable read, mostly because of the pace: the author manages to keep us entertained at every page, with witty dialogue, ups and downs and some plot twists that, despite their predictability, I still enjoyed reading. Another good aspect of the story was the romance. If there’s the bad case of a love triangle here that made me cringe a little bit while reading, I found myself rooting for Ela and Caden from the beginning, especially because of every good interaction and a bit of drama making the story, and their growing feelings, interesting to read about. I only wish I could have felt more for them, and root for them like I do for some other bookish characters.
If the story wasn’t too memorable, sadly suffering from deja-vu, good secondary characters and witty dialogue make up a bit for the lack of character development through the story. If you read A LOT of fantasy, maybe stay aside from this one, but if you’re just looking for an entertaining read, you might want to try it out.
Final rating: 3 drops!
Biggest thanks to the author for providing me with a free digital copy of this book. This did not, in any way, influenced my opinion on her work.
Did you read The Black Jewel? Did you enjoy it? Do you want to read it? Share your thoughts in comments!
Cassie Clarke, The Black Jewel, Published by Midnight Orchid Publications, October 1st 2015.
A city in ruin.
A forest filled with secrets.
One girl with the power to change it all.
Trapped in a mundane existence in the heart of a deadly forest, Ela often imagined what life must be like away from the trees. A world without rules and restrictions, with the freedom to do anything. She’d be safe from the ever-lurking threat of the Bowen Elders, the men who seemed so determined to hurt her best friend, Caden.
And then Caden found the map. A map that would lead them straight into the city of Ezeth.
Ela thought all her problems would be solved if she could just make her way into the city, but the outside world is nothing like she imagined. It’s filled with hidden dangers, dark magic, and secrets. Secrets about her past. And if she can’t uncover the truth before it’s too late, her past could lead to the downfall of the once-great city, especially if she can’t find a way to stop the dark power rising inside the castle before it’s too late…