Book Title: Kingdom of Sea and Stone
Author: Mara Rutherford
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Release Date: October 6, 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Ever since Nor was forced to go to a nearby kingdom in her sister’s place, she’s wanted nothing more than to return to the place and people she loves. But when her wish comes true, she soon finds herself cast out from both worlds, with a war on the horizon.
As an old enemy resurfaces more powerful than ever, Nor will have to keep the kingdom from falling apart with the help of Prince Talin and Nor’s twin sister, Zadie. There are forces within the world more mysterious than any of them ever guessed—and they’ll need to stay alive long enough to conquer them…
Mara Rutherford began her writing career as a journalist but quickly discovered she far preferred fantasy to reality. Originally from California, Mara has since lived all over the world with her marine-turned-diplomat husband. A triplet born on Leap Day, Mara holds a master’s degree in cultural studies from the University of London. When she’s not writing or chasing after her two sons, she can usually be found pushing the boundaries of her comfort zone, whether at a traditional Russian banya or an Incan archaeological site. Mara is a former Pitch Wars mentee and three-time mentor.
This review is for the sequel to Crown of Coral and Pearl. This review will have spoilers from the first book. You can read my review of the first book here.
Kingdom of Sea and Stone wonderfully wraps up Nor’s story. With how Crown of Coral and Pearl ended, I was eagerly awaiting the sequel. I loved Nor’s character and I needed to know how this story was going to end. Needless to say, I was not disappointed, and I loved how the ending wrapped everything up. Like the first book, the characters are beautifully written and believable and the plot is gripping. Kingdom of Sea and Stone is one of those sequels you just end up loving.
Whereas Coral of Crown and Pearl was more Nor’s story than anyone’s, Kingdom of Sea and Stone is everyone’s story. Nor went to the kingdom in place of her sister’s, Zadie, in the first book, but in Kingdom, the sisters are brought back together to take down an enemy once and for all. Kingdom is filled with the beautiful sisterhood bond I love seeing. And even though this is still Nor’s story, there’s a lovely amount of character development with some of the side characters.
Like in the first book, Nor is still brave and wholeheartedly human. She makes mistakes, but she learns from them. Like the first book, her love for her sister is what powers her through this fight. But it’s no longer just love for her sister; it’s love for the people she loves, including Prince Talin. The chemistry between Nor and Talin is as strong as ever, and I loved seeing Talin’s character development. Talin still has his flaws, like every character, but watching him develop and turn into the leader he’s meant to be, was everything I could have asked for. And then there’s Nor’s character growth. Even though Nor had a good amount of character growth in the first book, her character growth in Kingdom is empowering. Her growth didn’t just give her strength, but also strength to the people around her. Nor doesn’t just fight for herself and her freedom, she fights for her family and her kingdom. And she refuses to give up.
One thing I love about this duology is the world and the sea kingdoms. I love the light yet powerful magic system and how Rutherford weaves it all together in a beautiful tale. Rutherford’s writing is exceptionally strong. I could feel the emotion falling off each page; I could feel the pain Nor and her friends felt. Her writing is captivating; I could sense how much heart Rutherford put into this story. Rutherford’s writing was beautifully structured and truly brought a wonderful masterpiece of a story together.
In the end, this is a wonderful and well-structured duology, It’s a duology filled with heart and amazing character development and world building. Mara Rutherford has written a strong duology, and I look forward to reading her next work.