The Jewel, the White Rose and the Black Key (The Lone City Series)

the jewel white rose black key

Well this series was a pleasant surprise. To tell the truth, I only read these books cos I was in a slump, so my only wish going in was for it to not be terrible… And whaddya know- it wasn’t terrible! Success! Yes, sometimes I have low standards- but to be fair to me I do enjoy the occasional YA dystopia- I just feel like I’ve spent the last few years being burned by them *cue sad music*

So when this surprised me by having complex world building, a creepy setup and started going in a direction I did not expect… Well let’s just say I was prepared to eat my own hat.

eat my own hat


But hold your horses- it wasn’t all good. Because there were huge problems with this series… starting with the instalove. It was going so well- why oh why did they have to put in such a shoddy romance?! *Sigh*.

I have to say, one of the reason the romance sucked was cos the male characters were nothing but eye candy. I’m all for girl power, but c’mon does that mean most of the men have to be devoid of personality? Whhhy?! Lucien was the only interesting character really and he was a carbon copy of Cinna from the Hunger Games crossed with a tame version of Varys from Game of Thrones. Other than that a lot of the characters fell a little flat for me. I wasn’t crazy about the fact that the main character was hyperaware of everything that was wrong with her world from the start, because it allowed for less character growth as the series progressed (this is a theme I’ve noticed in dystopias which I’ve always thought of stylistically as 1984 vs Handmaid’s Tale– this definitely falls into the latter category). It was even more of a shame that they decided to substitute her actually learning something as a person for developing powers- which is yet another snowflakey YA trope.

In terms of plot, it had its ups and downs. There were times when not a whole lot was happening… *insert cricket noises*. But it was very addictive and had a fair amount of DRAMA to keep me engaged. Unfortunately, by book three the heightened action really could not make up for the lack of characterisation. Plus the ridiculous scheme they come up with is ridiculous, the ending is completely expected and naturally there’s a pointless death to spur the main character into action…

So yeah, in summary, there really wasn’t anything unique or original here (go figure, since I’m pretty sure this was marketed as Hunger Games meets Handmaid’s Tale meets Selection). That said, it was good for a slump, and for that reason, I gave it:

Rating: 3/5 bananas


So which books have you found helped you get out of a slump? (even if they were mediocre like this one) Let me know in the comments!

34 thoughts on “The Jewel, the White Rose and the Black Key (The Lone City Series)

  1. I’ve been wanting to read these because they look kind of like fluffy entertainment, which I am sometimes in the mood for, but I have generally seem lukewarm reviews. On the other hand, the thing really holding me back is that book one never seems to be in at the library.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pretty sure I read the first one last year and gave up on the series after it. Worryingly I remember absolutely nothing about it. Sometimes it is these kind of nothing books you need to get out of a slump.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Don’t you just hate reading slumps?? I’m in one now. I can’t decide if I want to continue my fantasy kick or switch it up to historical romance cause it’s been ages since I’ve read one.

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  4. I read the first book and loved the concept, but hated the romance. I couldn’t finish the 2nd book because it became boring and nothing was happening

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  5. The romance was what disappointed me most from the first book. It was so rushed and stiff. Even worse, Violet went completely pathetic around him, when she had been a reasonably interesting character with a good bit of backbone before.

    I wish there had been more Raven though. She was my favourite 🙂

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    1. Yeah I really get that- I can’t say I liked the romance at all in any of the books to be honest. You are so right- I do think she has backbone as the story progresses, but to make up for that he ends up with zero personality. Yes for sure! I really liked her at the start (at the end she was pretty meh though, gotta be honest)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Agreed. She was very generic YA protagonist for the most part. I wasn’t crazy about most of the secondary characters but at least they had a bit more individuality and character.

        Same. But at least Ash got a bit more character development and therefore a bit more bearable in the next two books, even if the romance was still as bland as mozarella….

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  6. “But hold your horses- it wasn’t all good.”

    It’s YA so my horses were already shot, sent to the factory and turned into glue and dog food.

    HOWEVER, I am glad this pulled you out of a slump, those are just bad…

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Lovely series review 🌸
    I enjoyed this series, mainly because it wasn’t hard to get into and because I was intrigued by the whole surrogacy plot. The Jewel was definitely my favourite in the series, but I must agree that it was somewhat ruined by the insta-love! I also really loved Lucien and he totally reminded me of Cinna too! Overall I was disappointed by how the series wrapped up, but it was an enjoyable read non the less 😊

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  8. I thought this was the Selection series until you mentioned it at the end hahahah I’m glad that these helped you out of your slump, but man the issues you had with them could really shut down any reader. Glad you survived through it and enjoyed it in general! 😀

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  9. Sometimes I need flaky dystopia to just pass the time too… Not sure how you can develop powers without learning something as a person but somehow writers mahage it! It is a pet peeve of mine too! And NOT TO INSTALOVE! I get why female readers love it but at least give the guy some backbone… a reason for the girl to fall so quickly, lol… loved this review though your peanut review I read earlier was so funny!! ❤

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  10. Good this got you out of a slump at least! I was really intrigued by what you said about dystopias and characters being hyper aware of what is wrong with their world in the first place as opposed to realising/learning about it. The latter really is more interesting character-development wise. I read a YA book a while back where the main character just gives a snarky running commentary about all the injustices in her world for the first part. It really did jar… esp. as the injustices were kind of obvious from what she was seeing without us needing her to point out how very unjust it all was, and it did feel quite info-dump-ish when she launched into political explanations (and given her age and character, a tad implausible). Anyway, you have given me some food for thought there! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes for sure!! And yes, that’s one of the difference I’ve always thought of between handmaid’s tale style dystopias and 1984-esque ones. I definitely prefer the latter. Yeah it could potentially be interesting in the former, it just depends on how strong the voice is and what reasons there are for them being hyper aware (and obviously that can be a problem with becoming info-dumpy!!) And yes, I often find they make really young characters like this- and I just don’t see it as that plausible. The problem here as well was that the mc was hyperaware *and* very agreeable in disposition- which was a very unlikely combination. Thank you!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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