Thank you Inkyard Press (Harlequin Teen) and NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC to read and review. “Crown of Coral and Pearl” by Mara Rutherford is set to be released August 27, 2019.
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Series: Crown of Coral and Pearl, book 1
Rating: 5 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes
Summary (via NetGalley):
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.
Crown of Coral and Pearl is a fantastic tale that wholly embodies the fantastical essence of The Little Mermaid and Mulan. The story is a rich, colorful world of magic, intrigue, and strong sisterly bonds.
Do not think this is your average story of sisters and magic and destiny. No, like an iceberg there is so much below the surface than you could ever realize. A depth so dark and fathomless yet strangely alluring.
Nor is probably one of the strongest YA female MCs I’ve ever come across. I rarely come across a character who takes on so much pain, rejection, isolation, and loneliness, yet still finds it in herself to stand against the wicked and unknown for the betterment of other at the sacrifice of her own happiness and life. I hope fervently that all her suffering will yield to peace and prosperity.
I thought the story was told really well. It carries the reader over mountains and hills, through laughs and tears. I enjoyed each and every character and, yes, even Prince Ceren. His wicked presence makes the tension and turmoil oh-so bittersweet. And just went things are at their darkest, a slither of light appears.
There is so much to love about this book and exciting to know that there is still more to come. Crown of Coral and Pearl is a book you’re going to want to get your hands on. The cover is absolutely gorgeous and I need it on my bookshelf. Mara Rutherford is a new author to keep your eye on for what I’m sure will be more fantastical stories.