This novel is the first of a trilogy that features a world of conflict between classes. With a romance brewing and desires to be more than your job developing, you can't help but root for the characters.
In a world where the royals are unable to carry babies, surrogates exist to continue the royal line. Not just any woman will do, though. Surrogates are special girls who have a power known as Auguries. There are three auguries - the power to change shape, color, and make things grow. Violet is a surrogate.When she was deemed to have these powers, she was removed from her house and raised in a holding facility. She has now reached her full potential and has been put up for auction for one of the royal houses to purchase. Once purchased, Violet becomes nothing more than the surrogate and her owner has big plans for her because times are changing and people are desperate to make their mark. While Violet may be nothing to her owner, she meets Ash, another person who is nothing more than the job he does. Despite the fact that their relationship is forbidden, together they find connections and life and desires that their positions try to strip away. At the same time, however, Violet meets a man who wants to save her from her life as a surrogate in an effort to start a rebellion. Going with him is not only risky, but it means saying goodbye to Ash. Violet needs to decide what is most important, especially when she learns more about future plans for surrogates.
I picked up this novel because I enjoyed reading The Selection and felt this book had a similar vibe. It is definitely different (surrogates vs dating game), but there are a number of elements that are similar and classic to dystopian novels (at times I felt the novel was reminiscent of The Hunger Games, especially at the beginning - Lucien reminded me of Cinna). There are the different levels of society with The Jewel being the center and royalty, the Bank still being wealthy, down to the Smoke, Farm, and the lowest of low - the Marsh. Violet's rights are completely stripped away and she's put on display for the ruling class. Then, through it all, a rebellion is slowly brewing. You really feel for Violet and Ash. They're nothing more than toys to serve a purpose for the royalty and you want them to reach their full potential as people. It's easy to see the injustice in everything, especially when it doesn't have to be that way.
The novel might be a little bit slow to get going - especially setting up this new world and way of life - but it is definitely worth the payout. I know that I'm anxiously awaiting the sequel.