The Jewel And Her Lapidary (The Jewel Series book 1) by Fran Wilde (book review).

Lin is a Jewel, a member of the valley’s royal family and Sima is her lapidary, a servant sworn to protect her and work with the magical gems that protect the valley. But when the king’s lapidary betrays the court, killing everyone but Sima and Lin, the valley is exposed. Many of the gems that have protected the valley for generations are destroyed. When an army invades, Sima and Lin must figure out how to save the valley.

The tone of this novella is like that of a fairy tale. I think this generally works for the story, but it does limit the level of detail given in certain parts of the story.

The story is interspersed with extracts from a tourist guide five hundred years in the future, which I think gives the story a unique edge. There are some differences between what actually happens and what is reported to have happened in the tourist guide. The tourist guide aspect, is by far my favourite part of the book.

The concept of the jewels and lapidaries is interesting. Lin and Sima have a very close relationship, which is explored as they try to save the valley.

My main complaint is that the story is poorly paced, as there are some parts where things are dragged out a lot and others that are extremely rushed. It doesn’t build reader intrigue very well, as all the parts that should build tension and intrigue are rushed.

Overall, this is a fairly enjoyable book. I think all her other books are much better though. But if you enjoy fairy tale like stories and magic, this one’s possibly worth a read.

Rebecca Thorne

July 2019

(pub: TOR. 90 page paperback. Price: $11.99 (US), £ 7.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-0-76538-983-1)

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