**Disclaimer: I was given a free e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley.**
Title Crown of Coral and Pearl
Author Mara Rutherford
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.
I was super bummed at Book Con 2019 when I met Mara Rutherford, but unfortunately was not able to snag an ARC of this book. However, as luck would have it, I was meant to read it. My request on NetGalley was approved last week and I jumped at the chance to read this story.
Ebb — I loved her name. It made me think of ebb and flow and that’s exactly what she represented. She kept everything moving for Nor and made sure she was where she needed to be and dressed appropriately at all times.
Some Things I Liked
- I loved all of the names used in this book. Everyone’s name had meaning and I thought that was a really cool feature. The writing and naming conventions of this story were very thoughtfully crafted and I enjoyed that.
- Twins — I’m a sucker for a story about twins. Not sure if I have any fans of The Office reading this post, but there’s a scene from one episode where Dwight tells Michael to abandon the lady he’s talking to at the bar for “twins”. Michael jumps at the chance only to discover Dwight meant two large, bearded men were the twins Dwight was referring to. That’s me with twins. I am the Dwight Schrute of the YA reading world (minus the beet farm). I loved Nor and Zadie’s connection and the way they would do anything to protect the other. I also loved in the Acknowledgements (yes, I always read those too), that Mara Rutherford thanked her twin for being part of her inspiration.
Something I Wasn’t Crazy About
- The ending. I didn’t love the cliffhanger-esque ending. It’s final, but I felt it was lacking that conclusion of everyone together in the end that I wanted to see.
I enjoyed this book. I think it had some flaws (a smidge predictable and a somewhat inconclusive ending), but, overall, I liked it. I think there is a lot of potential for a series here and I liked the political and social aspects that dictated the characters’ society. I thought this was a very thoughtfully written story with so much meaning behind every word.
Release Date August 27, 2019
Recommendations for Further Reading
- The Princess in the Opal Mask and The Opal Crown by Jenny Lundquist – this is another story of twins where one takes the place of the other meant to marry a prince.
- Everless and Evermore by Sara Holland – no spoilers here, but there are some **STRONG** parallels between the storylines here. Secrets, royals, romance, check these stories out if you liked the plot twists and relationships in Crown of Coral and Pearl.
- Caraval, Legendary, and Finale by Stephanie Garber – this is an amazing series about sisters who would do anything for each other.