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The Jewel and Her Lapidary

(Gemworld #1)

3.41  ·  Rating details ·  929 ratings  ·  199 reviews
Buried beneath the layers of a traveler's guide is a hidden history: two kingdoms, powerful gems, and the even more powerful Lapidarys who bind them. Lin and Sima, caught in a web of intrigue and deceit, must find a way to escape the traps set by the past and save their kingdom.

An epic fantasy, in miniature.
Paperback, 96 pages
Published May 3rd 2016 by
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3.41  · 
Rating details
 ·  929 ratings  ·  199 reviews

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Elena May
Jul 16, 2017 rated it liked it
It’s an epic fantasy packed in a tiny novelette! I’m really impressed with how the author handled the world building. We jump straight into the action and everything is revealed bit by bit. And there is so much to reveal! The complex magic system, powerful gems, the Jewels (the royal family who rules over the valley,) and their Lapidaries, who can talk to the gems and reign in their power. The premise was also great – after a betrayal and a massacre of the entire royal court, two teenage girls a ...more
Jun 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017-shelf, fantasy
I know I've only read two of Fran Wilde's tales, but I'm getting the impression that I'm just not her audience at all.

I was reading this for her Hugo nomination this year and I had high hopes because some authors can really kick butt with the shorter stuff even if their longer works fall short for some readers. (Read: me).

Unfortunately, the whole concept of jewels of power is a very, very old one, and while she tries to make it fresh by doing the whole linking them to their wearers and then havi
Althea Ann
Jul 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed Wilde's 'Updraft,' although I thought it was a bit too similar to Zilpha Keatley Snyder's 'Greensky' trilogy. When I saw this at the library, I thought I'd give the author a second try.

The concept of jewels that are invested with magical powers isn't a new one, but this slim novella gives the idea a fresh-feeling twist. In this fantasy world, a kingdom has been based on the harnessing of jewels' power. Only certain people can 'hear' these magical jewels, and those people end up being
Sherwood Smith
May 05, 2016 added it
Shelves: fantasy
After reading Updraft, which I loved, I put Fran Wilde on my auto buy list.

So I was excited to read this novella, and indeed here were the nifty world building and lovely characters that I expected. This is more of an elegiac tale that feels like a novel boiled down to novella length.

A great deal of attention is paid to the rules of the lapidary that I thought might have gone to more character development, and to the sense of living in the world. But that might just be my taste for elaborate tal
Sep 19, 2016 rated it liked it
I was pretty excited to read this novella, particularly because of all the good things I’ve heard about Wilde’s debut novel. I found it a little too compressed, though, and confusing because of it; there’s a lot going on, with a whole new fantasy world, a magic system without a proper tutorial so that you’re never quite sure of the rules and limits, and a lot of characters who are sometimes referred to in different ways depending on the POV characters’ relationships to them — and that’s ...more
Apr 25, 2017 rated it it was ok
Alrighty. A new low, for me. I actually called Audible and returned it. THAT'S how bad this was.

And maybe it would have been a 3 star story. However, I really don't know what the point is. What's the author trying to achieve?? Yes, it's an interesting world idea. But NOTHING HAPPENS!

But that's not the worst part, not for me. I've NEVER listened to a worse narration. Truly. I think I can read my grocery shopping list with more drama and life. 95% of the lines ended on a downnote. It was like lis
Engrossing fantasy as a kingdom based on magical gemstones is betrayed from within, and a young woman of the royal blood (a "Jewel") finds herself the last heir, presiding over a ruin, conquered land. She and her magical companion (a "Lapidary") must decide how to best cope, for their own benefit, or the kingdoms, as temptation and betrayal surround them.

Interesting world building, a little rough getting started as the exposition seem to lag the storytelling a bit, but yielding a clever world an
I liked the use of the tourist brochure recounting a little of the history that we then get to see. I liked the relationship between Lin and Sima (friendship and servitude together). I was a little confused as I listened to this story, as the author drops you into what are long ago events with Sima and Lin.
Feb 06, 2017 rated it liked it
I feel rather meh about this.

Being the sucker for cover art that I am, I had been looking forward to it for a while. I knew ahead of time it was a novella, but finding such a slim volume after paying full paperback price was letdown #1.

In such condensed form, there's really only room for "Look at my cool magic system!" as opposed to space to flesh out the plot or characters' personalities. The travel guide part also felt like filler.

On the plus side, (view spoiler)
May 15, 2016 rated it liked it
A little confusing at first as you jump in, but a nice little tale full of creativity and a world I wouldn't mind seeing more of in the future.
Beth Cato
Jan 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, novella, 2016
Fran Wilde is a fantastic writer, and this novella showcases her intricate, innovative worldbuilding. This is a fantasy world of royal Jewels and their bonded Lapidaries, who can speak with stones to empower their comrade or those around them. It reminded me of how some video games handle bonuses via magic-embodied stones like magicite or materia. The central characters here are teenage girls, Jewel Lin and her lapidary, Sima, who awaken to find the royal court under attack. It's really Sima's s ...more
Kat  Hooper
Jun 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Will review soon at
Bridget Mckinney
Apr 11, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
I adored Fran Wilde’s debut novel, Updraft, so I was thrilled when I learned she had written one of’s novellas. The Jewel and Her Lapidary was one of my most anticipated books for the first half of 2016, so imagine my surprise and dismay when I turned out to just not care for it very much.

Read the full review at SF Bluestocking.
Maria Haskins
May 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Fran Wilde builds her world skilfully and quickly, fitting a lot of world-building (with magic and a complex society), and invented history into a taut novella, keeping the tension high and the action moving. There’s a profound sense of loss and grief throughout the story that amplifies the tension: this is not a safe, comforting fantasy read, but it is extremely compelling.

Even more than the deep story and the intriguing world, what makes this story so great are the two main characters: Lin and
Rachel (Kalanadi)
Jan 22, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: novellas, publisher
Not my favorite of the novellas, but not a bad one either.

Two teenage girls survive a palace massacre and coup; one is a bound servant to the other. They need to keep a magical gem out of the hands of the usurper.

There was very little to the story, and a lot of time was spent agonizingly repeating the rules of being a Lapidary. As far as I can tell, Lapidaries are slaves to Jewels, and bound by these repetitious axioms like "a lapidary must always obey their jewel, or their mind will sha
Jun 01, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
A nice quick read with an interesting bit of world building. However, the story itself is a bit manic and I found myself wondering what was going on throughout.

Also, unsure if wonky writing, wonky editing, or wonky audio narration, but lines were repeated several times. As in line said, line said. Back to back. Weird.
May 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A short book, but one that manages to mine (sorry, I had to get one jewel related pun in) epic themes: how to grow beyond expectations, making hard choices for a greater good, the power of friendship and duty. It's all here along with a framing device that makes it clear that Fran has more stories to come set in this world which I will definitely read.
May 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a beautiful, beautiful novella that manages -- in very few pages -- to create a kingdom, a world, a war, vows broken and kept, sorrow and redemption. The characters are compelling and the prose exquisite. If you haven't had the pleasure of reading Fran Wilde, then give yourself this gift.
The Jewel and Her Lapidary is an intriguing fantasy novella about a kingdom betrayed by those meant to protect it and two teenage girls are left to deal with an invading army and its demands. Lin is the last princess, or "Jewel", left in the kingdom of the Valley as an invading army from the mountains, with the help of a traitor in the palace, has come to bend the powerful, magic gems of the Valley to their will. In order to do that, they need a Lapidary, one of the Valley people who can speak t ...more
Dec 27, 2018 rated it liked it
I really wish I could give this four stars, but the plot feels drowned out by worldbuilding and it's too short for that.
The premise is interesting - a kingdom where rulers draw their power from gems and they need a lapidary to keep them under control. Unfortunately, we only get to witness the downfall of this and, despite most of the novella being spent on worldbuilding, we don't really get a clear picture of how that power works.
There are some cool, interesting ideas in this bite-sized epic fantasy.
I think maybe Fran Wilde and I were just not meant to be. There's nothing wrong with her writing, most of her stories just don't quite connect for me.
May 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
A good short story, which follows Lin and Sima, two girls - a royal Jewel and her Lapidary, bound by vows and by a deep friendship and understanding for each other, in a world of magical gemstones which has just been invaded by a usurper, leaving Lin the sole Heir to the kingdom.

The challenges the two girls go through, testing the limit of their vows, is very compelling and draws you in deeper into the story.

The only downside for me is that the story feels like just a quick glimpse into this fa
Emily Leathers
A fun little story. Really liked the world. (view spoiler)

You spend a lot of this story without the world knowledge to know exactly what things mean - if that sort of thing really bothers you, The Jewel and her Lapidary may not be for you.
Dec 10, 2016 rated it it was ok
“If she began screaming now, she might not be able to stop.”

Interesting plot device. Adequate storytelling, but it never jelled. I never felt engaged with the world or the characters. Maybe if it’d been shorter … or longer.

“A people’s love is not an easy thing. You must return it in kind or it will devour you.”
Julie (Manga Maniac Cafe)
4.5 - 5 stars

I liked this novella so much I wish it had been a longer book (something I rarely say). The world-building was compelling, the details about the gems were fascinating, and Lin and Sima are willing to do anything to save their kingdom from the invaders that have taken the crown. Wow. I can hardly wait for Cloudbound now, because I like Wilde's writing so much.
Jul 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was a great story! I did like it a lot, the world was interesting, and the characters were also fascinating. The prose, while beautiful, was a little easy for me to lose track in, personally. It was a wonderful, quick read (it only took me a month because I haven't had time to just sit and read for a little while).
Jun 13, 2016 rated it liked it
Nooo I didn't know having my heart broken was on the agenda for this week

Seriously though, this is a beautiful little thing, and the nuanced, subtle wordbuilding will make you yearn for more. There are so many questions posed by the epilogue. So many. I hope that this is a prelude to something bigger, rather than a standalone tale.
Dec 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I'm pretty sure the first thing I ever read by Fran Wilde was a lovely short story set in the same world as this novella, so it was a welcome return. As always, her world building is intricate and impeccable, her language rich.
Apr 13, 2016 rated it liked it
I quite enjoyed this condensed tale. I loved the unique worldbuilding, I think it's the author's strength. I wish it had been a little longer so we could have spent more time getting to know the characters instead of exploring how things worked in the world. Overall, a very good story.
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Sci-fi and Heroic...: The Jewel and Her Lapidary by Fran Wilde 16 22 Nov 15, 2017 08:35AM  
Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Feb 02, 2016 07:32AM  

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Fran Wilde writes award-winning speculative fiction and fantasy. She can also tie a number of sailing knots, set gemstones, and program digital minions. She reads too much and is a friend of the Oxford comma. Her short stories appear in Asimov's, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Shimmer, Uncanny, and

Fran's debut novel, Updraft, was nominated for a 2015 Nebula Award, won the 2015 Andre Norton Awar

Other books in the series

Gemworld (2 books)
  • The Fire Opal Mechanism (Gemworld #2)