Title: Crown of Coral and Pearl
Author: Mara Rutherford
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Release Date: August 27th 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
For generations, the princes of Ilara have married the most beautiful maidens from the ocean village of Varenia. But though every girl longs to be chosen as the next princess, the cost of becoming royalty is higher than any of them could ever imagine…
Nor once dreamed of seeing the wondrous wealth and beauty of Ilara, the kingdom that’s ruled her village for as long as anyone can remember. But when a childhood accident left her with a permanent scar, it became clear that her identical twin sister, Zadie, would likely be chosen to marry the Crown Prince—while Nor remained behind, unable to ever set foot on land.
Then Zadie is gravely injured, and Nor is sent to Ilara in her place. To Nor’s dismay, her future husband, Prince Ceren, is as forbidding and cold as his home—a castle carved into a mountain and devoid of sunlight. And as she grows closer to Ceren’s brother, the charming Prince Talin, Nor uncovers startling truths about a failing royal bloodline, a murdered queen… and a plot to destroy the home she was once so eager to leave.
In order to save her people, Nor must learn to negotiate the treacherous protocols of a court where lies reign and obsession rules. But discovering her own formidable strength may be the one move that costs her everything: the crown, Varenia and Zadie.
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, from Russia to Peru, along with her Marine-turned-diplomat husband and two sons. A triplet born on Leap Day, Mara holds a Master’s degree in Cultural Studies from the University of London and would rather study the folklore of her next post than the language (which she has found is a lot more fun but not nearly as useful). She is a former Pitch Wars mentee and three-time mentor. Her debut YA fantasy, CORAL AND PEARL, will release from Harlequin Teen in Fall 2019.
Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram
“I had sacrificed all of that to come here, and I would be damned if it had all been for nothing.”
Crown of Coral and Pearl is a beautiful and captivating story of sisterly love and what a sister will do to protect the people she loves. The world building is enthralling and unique, a truly well-developed fantasy world with many fantastical elements.
Over everything, what really grabbed my attention with this story were the characters. All the characters are uniquely their own and felt so real. The characters were the main reason I loved this story. Nor and her journey is what made this story possible and wholly original.
“You have the power to do anything and everything you dream of, more than any person I’ve ever known.”
The plot build up is perfect and each chapter provides just enough to keep your attention. Hints and secrets are dropped continuously throughout the book until you flip to the last page and read the last line, and until you start to piece everything together. Mara Rutherford did an excellent job orchestrating the plot and making sure too much detail was not released at one time.
“Your mother taught you to believe your scar made you ugly, but it has made your brave.”
Nor is brave and unconditionally human, which is what makes her character so believable. Her love for her sister and her capacity to sacrifice her life and dreams to protect her sister and village is remarkable and, in my opinion, is what made this story what it is. Even though more than half of the story is spent away from her sister, Nor never forgets what she is fighting for. She’s selfless and when she finally wants something, she still puts her sister and her village first. Throughout Crown of Coral and Pearl, Nor learns what it’s like to finally live and be her true self, and that growth is one of the reasons that made her character so unique.
Not only is the relationship between Nor and Zadie wonderful to read, but so is Nor’s blooming relationship with Talin. Nor’s engaged to Talin’s brother, Prince Ceren, who is cruel and cold and everything Talin is not. The chemistry between Nor and Prince Talin is undeniable and leaps off the page. The chapters where both characters interacted were some of my favorite – I love romance in fantasy books, especially the type of romance that feels alive and is genuinely realistic.
Actually, if I’m being honest, all of the people that interacted with Nor were believable and flowed well with the story. She’s unsure of what moving to Ilara will be like, so she spends most of her time navigating her surroundings and trying to figure out the secrets that people are hiding behind lies.
“You’re not afraid of anything, Nor. You never have been.”
Overall, Crown of Coral and Pearl is a story built on heart and sisterly love and one that is easily a favorite of mine for 2019. I was left in anticipation for the sequel, and I cannot wait to read the continuation of Nor’s story next year.
Check out all the amazing bloggers on the Crown of Coral and Pearl tour!
Prize: Win (1) of (15) copies of Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Rutherford (US ONLY)
Starts: 19th August 2019
Ends: 2nd September 2019
Thank you, Fantastic Flying Book Club, for having us on this wonderful blog tour!