Title: Crown of Coral and Pearl
Author: Mara Rutherford
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Publication Date: August 27, 2019
Page Count: 432
My rating: 4 1/2 stars
About the book:
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 by Mara Rutherford is the first book in the new young adult fantasy series by the same name. Seeing as I can be a bit hit or miss when it comes to fantasy series I was actually pleasantly surprised when reading this one by just how much I enjoyed it.
The story begins by building the world in which twins sisters Nor and Zadie have been born and raised. The ocean village of Varenia is a poor one in that is controlled by the royalty in Ilara and in which every member of a family is expected to work to survive. Once a generation however the most beautiful of the village females is chosen to travel to Ilara to marry the prince.
Nor and Zadie as twins were both born beautiful and were considered contenders to be chosen to become the next princess until one day Nor was injured saving her sister leaving a scar upon her cheek. After that Zadie was raised to eventually leave the village but when the time came Zadie was unable to be chosen so Nor ends up in her place.
I would almost like to warn anyone interested in this to not read the whole blurb since it gives away a lot of what is to come. However, not to worry though there will still be plenty to come and one may be warned to watch out for a bit of a triangle and insta-love in case those are bothersome. I actually quite liked Nor and in turn rooted her on in her relationship with Talin so after the end I’ll look forward to rejoining them and the others in the next book and would give this opener 4 1/2 stars.
I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
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About the author:
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 along 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. Crown of Coral and Pearl is her first novel.