I received The Jewel for review (thank you Walker Books AUS!) and, I admit! I was dubious. I didn’t know of even one blogger who’d given it a rating over 3-stars. That’s pretty tough. But I have a cantankerous tendency to like books that everyone hates. (Look at me raving over Half Bad while the rest of the world pronounces it “meh”.)
I thought I’d LOVE The Jewel…but then it did the unthinkable.
It felt dangerously similar to my favourite trilogy of all time, The Hunger Games.
I don’t want to rant. I want to talk about this logically. And I don’t for even one minute think that I’m 100% right about this. I don’t want to slam anyone! I just want to…chat with you about this botheration.
Therefore we need a list of the similarities and you can see for yourself. (Don’t sigh. You knew the list was coming. This is me! Listastic Queen.)
1. The “stylist”
The Hunger Games: After Katniss was tossed into the confusing elite rich world of The Capital, she gets all “prettied up” for the interviews and Capitol life. Bring in Cinna.
“So they gave you District Twelve,” I say.
“I asked for District Twelve,” he says without further explanation. (THE HUNGER GAMES || pg. 78)
The Jewel: After Violet gets bought as a surrogate and is tossed into the confusing elite rich world of The Jewel, she gets all “prettied up” for her new life. Bring in Lucien.
“I’ve been doing it [the auction] for so long now, I get to choose who I work on.” He bats his eyelashes.
“You chose me?”
“I did.” (THE JEWEL pg. 62)
Both Katniss/Violet have an insta-warm-relationship with their stylists because they’ve been tossed into a new environment and this is the first person to tell them WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON. Can’t deny though, the circumstances are exactly the same.
2. Their little sisters
The Hunger Games: Katniss has a little sister, Prim, who gets picked to fight to the death in an arena. Katniss volunteers for her.
The Jewel: Violet has a little sister, Hazel, who she leaves behind in the poor slums. But, if it came to it, Violet says she’d sacrifice everything for her.
If it was Hazel being sent away on that train and I could save her by taking her place, I would do it in a heartbeat. (THE JEWEL pg. 266)
To make this worse for The Jewel, it really didn’t need to add in the little sister bit. They could’ve left it completely out and it wouldn’t have affected the story at all!!
3. The heroine’s poor and dirty home town
The Hunger Games: Katniss comes from District 12, which is a mining industry. People die of mine collapses or lung diseases and everyone is poor and sick and starving.
The Jewel: Violet comes from The Smoke, which is one the factory industries. People die of lung diseases and everyone is dirty and poor and sick and starving.
4. The iconic salute
The Hunger Games: There’s a 3-fingered salute that’s a pretty big symbol throughout the story.
At first one, then another, then almost every member of the crowd touches the three middle fingers of their left hand to their lips and holds it out to me. It is an old and rarely used gesture of our district, occasionally seen at funerals. It means thanks, it means admiration, it means good-bye to someone you love. (THE HUNGER GAMES)
The Jewel: Randomly (just ‘cos, you know), Violet is sad because her friend Raven is being abused. She does this salute. SHE NEVER DOES IT AGAIN THOUGH.
Our eyes meet, and I cross two fingers on my right hand, and press them against my heart, the symbol of respect from the surrogates of Southgate and a sign that, no matter what, I will never forget her. (THE JEWEL pg. 232)
5. The sexual slave
The Hunger Games: Although this is from later books in the trilogy, there’s a character, Finnick, who is basically a sexual slave to The Capitol. He’s coy and awesome and smooth with words and utterly loathes the life he’s been forced into.
The Jewel: The love-interest is Ash, a “companion”. He’s a slave bought to teach girls how to be pleasing to their husbands, with all the strings attached. He’s smooth and beautiful and totally hates himself for the life he’s been forced into.
6. The “fire is catching” line
The Hunger Games: It obviously actually has the “fire is catching” line. It’s rather iconic for the second book which is titled (wait for it!) Catching Fire.
“I didn’t meant to start any uprisings,” I tell him.
“I believe you. It doesn’t matter. Your stylist turned out to be prophetic in his wardrobe choice. Katniss Everdeen, the girl who was on fire, you have provided a spark that, left unattended, may grow to an inferno that destroys Panem,” [President Snow] says. (CATCHING FIRE)
The Jewel: And because The Jewel needed to follow suit…
Lucien smiles a secretive smile. “It only takes one small stone to start an avalanche.” (THE JEWEL pg. 292)
I can’t deny it, I’m a little angry with The Jewel.
I am a huge The Hunger Games fan! I have a Mockingjay pin! I love the movies! I adored the books before they were even famous! I FEEL A KINDRED SPIRIT TO KATNISS WHO LOVES FOOD. I absolutely adore those books and I will always stick up for them.
I’m not saying the author of The Jewel blatantly copied The Hunger Games. I don’t even know if she’s read it! But, peoples, those similarities are huge. They make me a little suspicous.
I don’t think you can be a writer in this day and age and use the excuse of “I didn’t know”. It’s too easy to educate yourself on trends in famous books to ever be ignorant.
The really depressing part is: The Jewel was a good read. It had some freakishly original concepts. Like the magical abilities of the surrogates?! The fact that the royalty couldn’t have children so they used surrogates?! The politics? The who-is-really-evil-here grey areas?! There was so much going for this book. The writing is strong. The characters are intriguing.
But for me? Whether I’m right or wrong, it feels like it copied. And it loses face.
Maybe I’m reading out-of-context though! Maybe I saw the Cinna/Lucien similarity and my hackles rose and I zoned in on anything remotely similar. MAYBE IT’S JUST ME. There’s pretty much only one way to find out.
You need to read it and discuss it with me.
Plus if you haven’t read or didn’t like The Hunger Games, you would probably love this a lot.
Also, feel free to read my entire review on Goodreads if you wish it.
Cait has been drafting blog posts frantically before NaNo, which (in her half of the planet) is tomorrow. Wow. But she has a plot! She has a pinterest board! She is PREPARED FOR THIS. She is also making fantastic and evilly delicious plans for a great Blog Renovation. More news on that will come on the weekend. But you may admire the header. Yes. Look up. It has changed. She just finished reading MASQUERADE by Kylie Fornasier.