The Black Key by Amy Ewing
Author: Amy Ewing
Publisher: Harper Teen
Genre: Dystopian/ YA
This is the third book in the series The Lone City. I’ve read the first two books already as they came out. Book #1 is The Jewel & Book #2 is The White Rose. This trilogy is a combination of A Handmaid’s Tale & The Selection. Let’s do a little summary of the story so far…
In the first book we are introduced to Violet Lasting. She is a surrogate living in one of the holding facilities with others like her. While there the girls learn about high class life & work on enhancing their special powers called Auguries. There are three of them color, shape, & growth. Violet is best at growth but it’s possible to be skilled at using more than one. Once they come of age they are auctioned off yearly to the wealthy women of The Jewel.
The island where the story takes place is called the Lone City. In the Lone City there are five circles each separated by a wall. The areas are called the Farm, the Marsh (where Violet is from), the Smoke, the Bank, & the Jewel. The Jewel sits at the very center of the island and that’s where all the royalty live. Once bought by the wealthy women of the Jewel the girls are to live out their purpose of being surrogates for the royalty.
So in book one Violet is bought by a woman called the Duchess of the Lake and her best friend Raven is bought by the Duchess of the Stone. The girls are happy with their new lives of fancy clothes, nice meals, and as many parties as they can attend. That is until they start to fulfill their purpose of surrogacy. It’s especially hard for Raven who is experimented on and kept in a cage down in the basement. The girls also learn what happens to the surrogates after they have done their duty…it’s not pretty. But with the help of a companion named Ash, a servant named Lucien, & the unexpected royals son named Garnet the girls are about to escape from the Jewel.
In the second book the girls are living at a place called The White Rose located in the Farm. The house is sun by a former surrogate named Sil & it’s a refugee for escaped surrogates. Sil has been working with a secret society to stop the segregation of the circles & the mistreatment of the surrogates. The Society of the Black Key is an organization determined to break down the walls that separate everyone & build a better life. Violet & her friend’s band together with the Society & travel throughout the Lone City spreading the word and gaining followers. While this is going on the Duchess of the Lake is pissed that Violet & Ash escaped the Jewel & so she gets revenge in the worst possible way.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
In the conclusion of the trilogy The Black Key, Violet & her fellow Paladins set out to join forces with the other surrogate homes. We learn more about what it means to be a Paladin in this story.
Years ago when the first founding families came to the island they killed off most of the native people, the Paladins. These were women that could not only use the auguries but also become one with the elements and use them to fight. Violet’s friend Raven is most connected with these women, their ancestors. Raven can then untie the girls with their true selves & turn them into Paladin. Once the girls discover this connection they are no longer just surrogates but powerful warriors.
Once all the girls going to the auction that year are transformed they are ready to fight. Along with Lucien gathering forces in the circles, Ash working with his fellow companions, and Garnet gaining help from the army of Regimentals, the Society will be ready to fight on auction day when the royals are most vulnerable.
In the meantime Violet can’t just let the Duchess of the Lake torture her sister in the palace, so she transforms her appearance and sneaks in under the cover of a lady in waiting. She soon finds out that the Duchess is planning with the Exetor and their plan for the Jewel is much worse than anyone thought. Throughout the weeks leading up to the auction the circles are all fighting back against the royals. Bombs are going off in royal banks & shopping areas, important people are killed, and the Jewel is ever fearful of the Society.
It all finally comes to an end on auction day. The Society together with the Paladin, the companions, & the Regimentals take down the wall surrounding the Jewel. Many are lost but it’s all worth it in the end. Once the fight is over the group of Violet & her friends travels through the circles and sees the ocean & their freedom for the first time in hundreds of years.
Likes: I’m happy this series finally came to an end. It wasn’t too long of a wait since the first book and the spacing between all of them was reasonable.
The book is pretty short so it made for a good, quick read.
The amount of power & life radiating off the characters is very exciting. This is especially true for Violet, she steps up in the end & becomes the leader they all need.
The setting & scenery of this book are just beautiful! From the ball gowns, to the gigantic palaces & gardens. The description & care going into creating this world was great.