Crown of Coral and Pearl

Crown of Coral and Pearl

by Mara Rutherford


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Coming soon! Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Rutherford will be available Sep 01, 2020.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781335090447
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Publication date: 08/27/2019
Edition description: Original
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 31,060
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.60(d)
Age Range: 13 - 17 Years

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.

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Crown of Coral and Pearl 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 36 reviews.
Bibliomatter 4 months ago
The world in Crown of Coral and Pearl is unlike any other. The characters, setting, and politics are well thought out and introduced in an organic way. Rutherford carefully builds on each supporting character, emphasizing what Nor must sacrifice to leave Ilara. Nor and Zadie’s relationship explores the boundaries of sisterhood. What lengths is she willing to go to for her sister? The family dynamic in this novel has so many layers. I was particularly pleased by Rutherford’s faithfulness to the mother’s character. It’s refreshing to read a story where some things are left unanswered. The secrets Nor unveils in Ilara make for a real page turner. I love the parallel between Zadie and Nor’s maid Ebb. On the other hand, princes Ceren and Talin couldn’t be more different. I wish Talin’s backstory wasn’t rushed at the end of the book; it didn’t feel as natural as the other characters. However, I still highly recommend this novel. I rarely read anything in less than 24 hours, but I devoured Crown of Coral and Pearl. Rutherford hit it out of the park with this brilliant debut novel. I’ll be eagerly awaiting the second installment!
ShesGoingBookCrazy 24 days ago
It's such a wonderful thing when I come across a book like this. I could take several hours to fully unpack what all is represented in this pearl of a book in a mile-long review, but don't plan to do quite that. Still, prepare yourself for some gushing! Okay. First and foremost, very few books are, in my opinion, completely flawless. I'll admit that there were a few things within Crown of Coral and Pearl that perhaps, could have been explored further, or told in a different way. The most important note is that there was nothing vitally wrong with this book. I'm a gal that loves detailed world building. While places like Varenia were more unpacked, others like the mainland of Ilara could have had more detail. I do love me a page-long description of the surroundings here and there, just to get my bearings. I'll also take a page-long description about a character and what they actually look like. It's a common flaw in Young Adult books today to leave out necessary details about how a character not only looks, but how they are perceived. While Crown of Coral and Pearl does a great job and discerning it's characters, I still don't have a clear and detailed painting of everyone in my mind, which to me, is a shame. I believe that the main character Nor, along with Zadie, are darker-skinned and introduce diverse casting. However, I didn't get a good enough picture to say that for certain--it was just my impression from what details were given. Despite these flaws, and the plot moving a little slow at times, I really don't have much to complain about. The plot is compelling, the characters aren't lacking in acumen and complexity, and the problem isn't as simple as it may originally seem... There are two topics, or themes, that are the driving force for the plot and it's direction. With the choosing ceremony that eligible Varenian girls must prepare for their entire lives, beauty is immediately highlighted as a necessity if one were to be "useful" to their family. In particular, Nor and Zadie's mother obsesses over her daughters and their beauty--to the point where a single, tiny blemish would bring a daughter to ruin. While Nor and Zadie are preened from a young age, Nor learns what it is like to lose the favor of her mother when an accident occurs, and Nor is scared for life. Nor's insecurities are immediately made known to the reader. In reality, she obsesses over beauty and it's importance to her people. It is not for a vain reason, as she begins unpacking what exactly "beauty" means and the power that it possesses, and also doesn't possess. It is because of this slow revelation that Nor doesn't envy her sister Zadie. In fact, she recognizes the freedom that "flaws" allow her to have. Nor's redefining beauty brings her closer to her sister, and opens her eyes to what truly matters: her sisterhood with Zadie. This is the second, strongest theme throughout the plot. The bond between Nor and Zadie can be felt within each and every page. It is this factor that transforms this book from just being interesting, to having true meaning. Beauty has a certain charm, but it should never overrule a person, and who they are. I think there are some really valuable, and beautiful lessons and representations throughout Crown of Coral and Pearl. I will highly suggest this read to any Young Adult reader, but keep in mind that there are some elements (listed in the beginning about some of the contents in this book) that may be upsetting for some.
mschaeff 25 days ago
Crown of Coral and Pearl is a book about Nor, a girl living in a society that values beauty above everything else. Her twin sister is deemed the most beautiful in the village and selected to travel to the capitol and marry the crown prince, but after an accident, Nor is sent in her place. I had somewhat mixed feelings about this one. I think it was a book that was much better in theory than in practice. The world building was fantastic, and I felt like there were some unique spins on some of the typical fantasy tropes. It was vaguely Bachelorette meets Little Mermaid meets Stolen Songbird. (The blood coral was SUPER AWESOME. Coral! From dead people! That produces cool pearls!) But there were also some major issues. Things I liked: 1. Have I mentioned that the blood coral concept was SUPER COOL? 2. I felt like the author did an excellent job of portraying the bond between twins, and the effects of intense social pressure to be beautiful at the expense of everything else. 3. I really enjoyed the portion of the book set in Varenia. Floating city! Fishing! Diving! Oysters! 4. Nor is a fascinating character with some interesting traits - I enjoyed that the things she used to get out of trouble (her ability to breathe underwater) were unique to her upbringing in Varenia. Things I did not like: 1. I read a few other reviews on here complaining about the "insta-love" between Nor and Talin. I have to admit that I completely agree with them. They have like three interactions before she decides she's madly in love with him. (Check that: it really happens after like one interaction.) You don't actually see their relationship develop, it feels rushed and contrived, and you're sort of left going, "What? Where did that come from?" 2. A lot of the characters are... fairly one dimensional. Ceren is evil! Zadie is so, so, so good and beautiful and perfect! I think there was a bit of an effort to make Ceren more of a relatable character by discussing his family background and mother, but... it honestly didn't work. 3. Nor falls into the traditional fantasy heroine trap: she gets out of every situation without serious harm, her mistakes never end that badly, and she can handle anything that comes her way. (Knife fights: check. Two and a half day ride while suffering from major blood loss: check. Monsters: check.) 4. This book has issues with foreshadowing that's so blatantly obvious you can't steer around it. I saw the major twist at the end coming from a mile away. I think you could probably easily predict the last quarter of the book. Overall, a fairly fun read with some super neat world building. Characterization and pacing needed some work. ARC provided by Netgalley and Harlequin Teen in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
AdventurousBookworm 26 days ago
I don't like fantasy but this one blew me out of the water! I must have more stories about these characters! Now for the actual review, just wow. I know that I've already mentioned that I liked this book but you don't understand how much. The characters were golden. Seriously, there needs to be another story about Nor's twin sister, Zadie. The dedication between these sisters is amazing to read about, especially because many YA books lack on family relationships. Oh, and the villain of this story was despicable but also did some surprising stuff that made me very sympathetic for him. At times, I felt more for him than any other character. The intrigue of this book kept me flipping pages and invested. I would highly encourage you to do yourself a favor and find a copy of this gem as soon as you are able. Rating: 5 Stars Content: 4 Stars *I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own and a positive review was not required.
QuirkyCat 3 months ago
Crown of Coral and Pearl is the debut novel by Mara Rutherford, and it’s been getting a lot of hype and attention lately. Having read it, I can certainly see why. It’s the first novel in a series of the same name, and looks like it’s going to be an epic journey to the end. The novel follows Nor, a twin who grew up on the island of Ilara. Her people catch clams and hunt for pearls to survive. All while the people in Varenia thrive off the exploitation of her people. Nor and her sister, Zadie, are two of the prettiest girls on the island, and thus to their mother (and the crown prince) hold a higher value than most others. Crown of Coral and Pearl is a fantasy, with a lot of other themes gently touching upon the surface. It deals with a lot of the heavier elements of coming of age story, and tells a strong tale of resistance and fighting for what is right. It’s no wonder so many people have felt an emotional connection with this novel. Warnings: Ilara is a beautiful island, but it has its downsides. Here is a world where food restrictions and starvation are a growing trend. The people also value beauty to an unhealthy degree, thanks mostly to the way Vaneria treats them. Crown of Coral and Pearl is without a doubt one of the most emotionally compelling novels I’ve read this year. It’s intense and beautiful, while dealing with darker tones and elements. It’s a tale that truly captivated me straight through to the end. And now I find myself looking forward to the sequel. Nor’s tale was one that steadily unraveled as time went on. At first, it appeared that she and her sister lived in a paradise, only for the truth to be revealed with time. From that moment onward, all we seemed to see was Nor discovering obfuscated truths all around her. Nor herself was a fantastic main character. She’s strong and independent, while also being fiercely loving and loyal to her sister. Many people in her shoes would have focused on the hurt, but she turned that hurt into something positive. She turned it outward and used it to drive her to make a change. It was really quite empowering to see her in action. This novel was intense, especially at certain points. The kingdom and island structures are not set up for sustainability, and that was before the wicked prince started getting his hands into things. That made the struggle Nor was in feel all the more intense – knowing exactly what was on the line. There were times where I had thought that I knew what was going to happen next, only to be surprised by what actually happened. I love that the twists and turns in this novel were not always predictable – though they always made sense in the context of the story. Another brilliant element of this story was that all along it had been setting up a larger plot. It wasn’t until the end that I realized just how long this quest of Nor’s was going to be, or how far-reaching the effects would be. I honestly can’t wait until Kingdom of Sea and Stone comes out, though obviously, I have quite some time to wait until that point. In the meantime, I suppose I’ll just wait for a cover reveal. If it’s anything like Crown of Coral and Pearl, I know it’s going to be striking.
Anonymous 3 months ago
I loved this book, it's well written and I loved the characters and the world building. I strongly recommend it. I received this arc from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for a honest review.
mandabutler 3 months ago
I had seen this posted on Goodreads and was looking forward to reading. I was excited to receive a copy via NetGalley. Crown of Coral and Pearl is a heart wrenching tale of Varenia, a civilization on the water built on beauty and harvesting pearls, and Ilara, the ruling queendom made of stone. Varenia has been at Ilara's mercy for generations, harvesting pearls for trade in order to feed themselves and preparing their beautiful daughters to marry the princes of Ilara. If you even so much as had a scar, you were seen as unworthy of this "honor." Varenia believes in their duty so much, their daughters are taught little else. Nor and Zadia are twin sisters who have an inkling that they can change their fates after Nor is scarred as a child and deemed unworthy. In a parent-trap style switch, Nor is sent to Ilara in Zadia's place, and she finds Ilara is not what they've been told. For a debut novel, Crown of Coral and Pearl was beautifully written, however, it does seem to speed up in the second half. Critical events happen in rapid succession, but it leaves me wanting so much more. The novel was originally to be a standalone, but Mara Rutherford is working on the sequel. I really loved the story and how it fights the misconceptions of beauty, as well as the Queendom that exists in place of a Kingdom. I look forward to the sequel's release in 2020 as Mara has created a beautiful world.
Hilzie 3 months ago
A poignantly written YA novel about growing up, about how one society's views on beauty mold and shape the lives and minds of not only the young people, but of the adults that push it on their children. Zadie and Nor are two beautifully identical twins living in a floating community, Varenia, dedicated the remembrance of two Royal, forbidden lovers who died hundreds of years ago. To honor Ilara, a nation that lost their princess, they are forbidden from stepping foot on land until another princess is born to wear the crown. So they send their most beautiful daughters to become become to Queen and hopefully birth a daughter. Hundreds of years later, they are still stuck following the demands of Ilara, all while starving themselves. With so much hinging on perfection, one small scar is all it takes for Not to no longer be considered worth for a prince's notice. So when Zadie is chosen their mother is ecstatic, but dreams as dashed for the Zadie who loves a boy from Varenia. Seeing a way to change Fates, Nor takes Zadies place on a possibly dangerous mission if the prince should find out. When Nor finds out that her adventure is not the dream she thought it would be and that she is instead going into a pot of vipers full of intrigue and murder. Who will she turn to when she is so far from home? When the handsome prince she is to marry turns out to be a vile snake, will she stay and marry him knowing the fate of her village rests in his hands? It's a read that will have you remembering that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and is only skin deep. ** I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley and am voluntarily leaving a review. **
Brooke Allen 3 months ago
Overall, I enjoyed Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Rutherford. The world that she puts us in is quite unique: Nor and Zadie are born asea in a culture that lives upon the water. Their culture has two goals: 1) provide pearls to the nobility and 2) provide a beautiful princess for the prince once every generation. Nor and Zadie live their whole lives doing everything they can to not mar their beauty. The only person from their culture who is ever allowed to set foot on land is the princess. Through the course of the book, Zadie is chosen to be the new princess, but Nor ends up going. When she arrives at the castle, things aren't all hearts and puppy dogs. Her fiancée, Ceren, isn't a good guy. Even worse, she and her family back at sea could be in danger. The book started off slow for me, but the last 2/3 of the book made up for it. I enjoyed the court intrigue, although sometimes I feared for Nor as Zadie's actions. The worldbuilding was well done, and the writing was good as well. Even though the book started out slow for me, the second part (and especiallly the end) make me want to read more. I really didn't suspect the ending, in a good way.
SharSam 3 months ago
Surprising, mystical, evocative, unique. Crown of Coral and Pearl is a novel about royalty within a unique fantasy world. The world building is memorable along with the characters. The plot pertains to two sisters different but yet the same, beauty is a big aspect to this royal family that's destined for arranged marriages. The character's are well developed but at times the story becomes dull with predictable elements. Later in the story and the end it changes into a whirlwind of surprising turns with a shocking ending. This was a fun read, I enjoyed the unique fantasy world strongly developed within common royalty themes.
Nyobe 3 months ago
Can you hear the ocean humming? See the blood go sweeping past? The child of the waves is coming. To set our people free at last. The weaving of history and culture and the myth and religion of the people in the story creates such a great tapestry, and it builds such a rich background to the novel without overpowering, that it is a pleasure to have incorporated. The author did a very good job bringing up the atmosphere in both of Nor's worlds—the warm, sunny, sun-kissed Varenia in contrast to the dark, dreary, cold life in the castle. That is one of my favorite parts of any novel: being able to truly immerse myself in the world that is put before me so that it surrounds you and further takes you in. And while I would have liked to see more of some characters and witness them further develop and open up—Ceren, for one—I did greatly enjoy the cast, no matter their good and bad sides. Nor and Zadie's sibling bond, for one, is one of the most beautiful and hopeful parts of this whole story, and one of the things that is going to make me eagerly await the next book in line. ARC received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
onemused 4 months ago
CROWN OF CORAL AND PEARL Is a story of sisters, adventure, and change. Nor and Zadie, whose names mean coral and pearl respectively, are twins whose beauty is renown. They live in Zarenia, a water kingdom of boats, and have never set foot on land. Their people make a living by diving deep and finding pink pearls, colored by their proximity to a deadly red coral. Varenia is oppressed by the kingdom who buys the pearls, believing them to be healing and somewhat magical. It is that kingdom, Ilara, which chooses a girl from Varenia once a generation to marry the prince and become a queen. Ilara was a queendom until the girl who would be queen ran away with her love to the sea and died. Since then, the royalty has only had sons, marrying the Varendan girls. Zadie and Nor were thought to be the most beautiful and most likely to be chosen to marry the prince- that is, until an accident leaves Nor with a small scar on her cheek. Beauty is prized above all, and the next most beautiful girl, Alys, is discounted for a crooked tooth. Zadie is chosen, but after an accident, they send Nor in her stead, covering the scar, fearing what would happen if they don’t send “Zadie” to wed the prince. Never having been on land before, Nor is not only surprised by all the social constructs of Ilara and the troubled political climate, but also everything about not being on the water. As she gains her footing, she realizes she has entered a world more dangerous than she ever could have imagined. What I loved: The world here is really interesting, and I loved the mythology and legends that are told throughout. Nor and Zadie also have a beautiful relationship, and I adored the celebration of sisterhood. As a character, Nor is brave, strong, and everything I love in a heroine. Her journey is easy for the reader to leap into and empathize with. Adding this to themes about beauty and oppression, and it becomes a powerful story. The villain here, Ceren, was really well-developed. The reader easily empathizes with him and can see where his concerns arise- which is not to say that he doesn’t take everything further than most of us would. However, there were times where I wondered if he could just be misunderstood (until his next terrible deed), but this conflict makes him a stronger character and villain as a result. What left me wanting more: As a minor point, I would have loved to see more of the relationship building between Talin and Nor. A few more scenes where they get to know each other and develop something deeper would have aided in building something stronger between them. At times, it did feel a little insta-love-ish, but I still adored them as a couple anyway. Final verdict: A celebration of sisterhood, political intrigue, and an intense villain make this book a delicious read. Highly recommend for anyone looking for an exciting new YA fantasy, and especially fans of THE BELLES, THE EVIL QUEEN, and RED QUEEN. Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher through YABC. All opinions are my own.
Morgan_S 4 months ago
I loved the world-building. The structure and setting of Varenia, as well as all the women's preoccupation with beauty for the goal of being chosen as a princess, resonated with today's culture of holding women to some ridiculous, unattainable beauty standard, and for what? In the novel, the chosen girl is shipped off to land to become a princess, while the family is given money, never to see their daughter again. But no one knows what actually happens to the girls who get chosen, despite being told they become queens of the kingdom. I loved all the intrigue and secrecy of the Ilaran court. Ceren, an awful, calculating, cruel excuse for a human being is betrothed to Nor, sent in her sister's place to become the kingdom's next princess. But Ceren has a dark agenda for his sickly father's kingdom and for Varenia, whose people are currently starving since the waters have been overfished and the price of the pearls they bring to market has gone down. Nor attempts to spy for her native Varenia, in hopes of freeing them from Ilara's oppression, but the one person who knows her secret from home is Ceren's brother, Prince Talin, who of course, she is attracted to. You would think a triangle with a beautiful, strong girl and two princes would be cliche, but in this story it's definitely not. One of my favorite characters is one of the women Nor meets at court, an older Varenian woman who does her best to help Nor fight against the evil sure to come upon their people if Ceren has his way. At the end of the story, I would love to believe that what happened is a good thing, but somehow I doubt the truth of what everyone believes happened to a certain character. Ugh, cliffhangers! I will be anxiously awaiting the next book. I wish there had been more time to see Zadie and Nor's relationship, but I'm hoping we will get more of that in the next book. I hope Zadie becomes a stronger character, because for the most part I thought she was pretty pathetic in the beginning of the book. (That's me, being annoyed at the character; not me saying I didn't like how she was written). I think the author did a good job of showing the sisterly bond, but also what can happen when one is held to different standards, and what happens when love for a boy gets in the way.
booklover_lexi 4 months ago
Your new favorite YA Fantasy!!! Varenia is an ocean kingdom and for generations only the most beautiful maidens are sent to marry the princes of Ilara. Every girl longs to be chosen as the next princess, but the cost of becoming royalty is higher than any of them could ever imagine... Nor once dreamed of seeing the beautiful kingdom of Ilara, until one accident left her scarred. Since that day, she always new her twin sister Zadie would be chosen in her place to marry the crown prince. Then Zadie is gravely injuries, and Nor is sent in her place. Her future husband, Ceren, is forbidding and cold as is his home. A castle carved into a mountain devoid of sunlight. As she grows closer to Ceren’s brother Talin, she starts to uncover startling truths about a failing royal bloodline and a plot to destroy the home she once was eager to leave. To save her people, Nor must learn to negotiate the treacherous protocols of a court where lies reign and obsession rules. But learning that strength is more important than beauty might be the one move that costs her everything. You guys... I have not read a YA fantasy novel as good as this since Red Queen. The timeline moved along perfectly! Rutherford did an amazing job with descriptions an creating such a unique world. When it ended I wanted more! Thank goodness there is going to be a second book because I have so many questions! The ending left a lot open and I can’t wait to see where it goes from here! This beauty publishes August 27th. So if you love YA Fantasy you are going to want this book!!!
Anonymous 4 months ago
Nor and Zadie have grown up believing that beauty is their only worth, and beauty will win them a prince and a crown. A scar is all that sets Nor apart from Zadie, and makes it impossible for her to win the ceremony. But after an accident causes Zadie to be unable to travel to Ilara, Nor must go in her stead. Hiding her true identity is important for not only her safety, but also for the people she left behind in Varenia. While becoming the chosen girl at the ceremony has always been Nor's dream, she finds that not everything is as it seems in Ilara, and what once might have been her dream is slowly becoming her nightmare. The beginning of the story immediately had me hooked. I loved the relationship between Nor and Zadie, and the world-building painted a colorful picture of Varenia. I thought Nor was such a complex, strong character, and she had me engaged in her story. I found that these things I loved so much about the first few chapters did not continue into the rest of the book. I thought the idea of New Castle was so interesting, but the author failed to create the same details for it, as she did for Varenia. Nor's character also took a nosedive due to instalove. Nor manages to lose focus on trying to protect her people, because she can't keep her mind from her love interest. I think the overall concept for the story was interesting, and there were some really creative ideas here, but it fell short on execution. The premise of the story was one I've seen many times before, and found that I enjoy when done correctly, but the author was unable to put an original spin on it to make it interesting. The villain is without depth, and left me confused for the most part.
Lauriane974 4 months ago
Nor and Zadie were raised their whole life knowing that, when Prince Ceren comes of age, he will select the most beautiful girl to become his queen. On the small island where the twin sisters are from, this means honor and a way out of poverty. Unfortunately, at age ten, Nor is scarred, leaving all hope resting on Zadie’s shoulders. The day finally arrives and Zadie is selected, but before leaving, she is badly injured. Out of desperation and fear of retribution for not sending the chosen girl to the king, the elders send Nor in her place. Nor then discovers that the world she dreamt of was only that—a dream. Reality will be harsher, especially when her treacherous heart begins beating for someone other than the prince. When I started reading, I was afraid this book would be about girls fawning over a beautiful man and tearing each other apart. Thankfully, it was not. I devoured it in 48 hours. The story is narrated from Nor’s point of view, a fierce and loveable character. Nor’s compassion is her predominant strength but also her greatest weakness, and I could not help but love her. The writing is also beautiful; I particularly appreciate the pacing because it kept me engaged throughout the book. I fell for every single character. Prince Ceren’s arc is very well executed. The romance begins slowly, but the chemistry is off the charts from the very beginning. I wanted to read more about each character, especially Zadie and Sami. The world building is unique, which made this story even more special to me. At first, I did not think much of the story because it reminded of books I’ve read before, but it surprised me in the best way possible because it did take a different route. I immensely enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it.
taramichelle 4 months ago
Crown of Coral and Pearl was a quieter book than I was expecting. But I liked it because of that. Nor was such a realistic heroine, I was able to empathize with a lot of her choices and decisions. She was also brave, I liked how she always got back up and was faithful to her own moral code. Plus there was a great examination of beauty. And I loved the author’s writing, there were some sentences that were just wonderfully phrased. The plot was very character based but I loved getting to know the entire cast of characters. My favorites were Nor and her sister Zadie. I was definitely rooting for the main romantic relationship as well, even if it was a tad instant-love. Plus Rutherford does a great job of looking at how the villain became a villain! I’m definitely going to be picking up the sequel when it comes out. If you’re looking for a character-based YA fantasy, check this one out! *Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
PNWBookworm 4 months ago
This book was fantastic. It had everything you could possibly want from a fantasy story including adventure, high stakes, romance, intrigue and a creepy villain that you can’t quite figure out. The idea of a village that is built in the ocean was so interesting to me. I loved the way it was described and found myself wishing I could visit Varenia. Nor was a fantastic main character, never appearing weak or helpless and never wavering from her love for her home and people. I liked her immediately and that only grew as I read on. I also found the myths and legends of the people in the book to be interesting. Basically I loved this book and think that you should read it too!
Anonymous 4 months ago
Meh, there was nothing big that bothered me, so much as this just felt like standard YA fantasy and not one I got really caught up in. Super beautiful, just not perfect so also, clever and strong (and did I mention selfless?) Nor takes her sister’s place to go and marry the prince, so that her perfectly beautiful sister, raised to someday become the Queen, can stay with the boy she loves. She’s gotta be super sneaky so they don’t know they got the slightly imperfect sister, and her plan is complicated when the emissary she met as Nor (and not as Nor being Zadie) turns out to be the Prince’s brother. The Prince is a monster, and Nor doesn’t want to marry him, but how could she get out of it - it all plays out in a familiar YA fantasy way, including a fight scene with a monster reminiscent of one in A Court of Thorns and Roses (except in water, because Nor thrives in water)
Anonymous 4 months ago
Beware the lionfish, my dear, Beware the fish that's made of stone. Beware sweet nothing's in your ear, And the heart as hollow as a bone. For Varenian's, beauty is everything when it comes to the young ladies of the island, for the prince of Ilara will only take the most beautiful girl as his bride. Becoming the princess of Ilara is the only way off the island, and for Nor, that's really all that matters. But, when an accident mars her once beautiful face, it's obvious that the chance to leave the island will go to her twin sister, Zadie. The first half takes place on the island of Varenia, a land that depends entirely on the mainland kingdom of Ilara for the entirety of their goods, including fresh water. The Varenian's only have their rare pink pearls to trade, and the value of their precious commodity is barely enough to keep food on the table even though demand is higher than ever. I really enjoyed this part of the novel. It was a really different setting and a good juxtaposition for the second half. Nor knows that things on her precious island will never change unless someone stands up to the king of Ilara. After the actions of her twin end up sending Nor in her place to be princess, Nor decides it is she who will change the way her people are treated, even if it's the last thing she does. What Nor doesn't except is a dying king, a young prince with a heart of a stone, and a handsome young man that takes her breath away. Life in Ilara is not what she expected, and neither is her betrothed. Old mysteries unravel as Nor pretends to be Zadie, leaving her wondering if beauty is the only thing that defines her. The second half of the novel takes place inside this mountain castle. It was a great setting for the dark and twisty turns that Nor goes through. Crown of Coral and Pearl is an amazing read and, with the announcement of a second book, I can't wait to see what comes next for Nor (and Talin. I love Talin. That is all.)
bayy245 4 months ago
I was blown away by this story and I wasn't expecting to love this book as much as I did. The synopsis makes the girls sound very self-involved and shallow, but it's a great exploration of beauty and the power it can hold over people. The relationships were the strong suit of this novel and oh my god were they stunning. We got to see a wide variety of relationships and I loved all of them. Nor has a close bond with her twin sister, a strained relationship with her mother, and a great relationship with her best friend Sami. We see her struggle with her relationship with herself and who she thinks she is, along with what others think of her. We get to watch her village turn on her before she's shipped off to land for the first time. We see her grow as a person as she makes friends and plenty of enemies in the castle. I loved the unique premise of this book. The mythology that started the rocky relationship between the kingdom and Nor's sea village. The magic in this book was utterly unique and stunning, from the blood coral to the pink pearls. Gender stereotypes are a theme in the book that helps shape Nor into who she is, from what she thinks a beautiful woman should be to what a beautiful woman really is. We've also got some politics and sneaky stuff going on in this book. We've got a dead queen, a resentful heir, and a woman king in the south. The love interest in this book is very swoonworthy BUT I wouldn't trust him as far as I can throw him. I'm dying to read the second one to know who the real liar is here because a lot of things were revealed to be not what they seemed. Who really is the good guy? The bad guy? Can Nor really save her people without losing herself and what she stands for in the process? *I received a complimentary copy of this book from Inkyard Press through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.*
Anonymous 4 months ago
This eARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Nor and Zadie are twin sisters from the ocean village of Varenia. They are raised to value beauty above all because the most beautiful girl in their village is chosen to marry the Crown Prince of Ilara, Prince Ceren. Due to an accident when she was younger, Nor believes she will never be chosen and that honor will go to her sister, Zadie, but due to a twist of fates Nor is sent to marry Prince Ceren instead. In Ilara she must figure out the politics of court and the schemes of the royals in order to save her family and village. I’m not sure if there are enough ways to say how much I love this book. It had a strong message of taking charge of your own fate because the world is a cruel place and only you can make your own happiness. The first half of this book focuses on the relationship between twin sisters Nor and Zadie. They love each other so much even though most siblings in their situation would hate each other. Their relationship was so refreshing and their love for each other was so pure that it made me tear up on more than one occasion. For me, this was the most important relationship showcased in this book and Rutherford wrote it beautifully. The book felt mature for a young adult novel and had an overall seriousness and darkness to it that I personally enjoyed. All the characters had their flaws but I felt that made them more relatable, especially Nor whose thoughts and decisions throughout the book resonated with me. Nor and Zadie were both fierce, independent characters who faced massive obstacles that fate dealt them but with every challenge they faced they both grew stronger. Prince Ceren and Prince Talin were both fascinating characters but as different as night and day. Prince Ceren alternated between from being a sympathetic character that you wanted to root for to being cold-hearted and calculated in his manipulation of those around him. Prince Talin was the exact opposite. He exuded warmness and people around him were instantly attracted to him. I thought it was interesting of Rutherford to compare the pure love of sisters Nor and Zadie to the tainted love of brothers Prince Talin and Ceren because it showed what could have happened to Nor and Zadie if they chose to resent rather than love each other their whole life. Overall I adored this book. It was dark and serious, but also featured some remarkable characters and their complicated relationships with each other. My only complaint is that the book ended so abruptly and left several storylines dangling but I think it set up the opportunity to write a sequel. I would be heartbroken if Rutherford did not continue this series.
Anonymous 4 months ago
I can never get enough of YA Fantasy, I truly believe that. I was immediately drawn into the world of Varenia and Ilara. I found the idea of a village at sea to be very fascinating, and the world building was very on point. I left with few questions about the world, and information was provided in well timed and paced chunks. Varenians are obsessed with beauty, as the only Varenian ever allowed to leave the village and walk on land is the most beautiful woman in the village - once every generation when a Prince is ready to be married. It is seen as a high honor to be chosen, and families will do just about anything to send their daughters away. Nor and Zadie are twins (their names mean Coral and Pearl, respectively). They are easily the most beautiful women in Varenia, at least until Nor is injured saving Zadie from drowning. Zadie is now a shoe in to win, and Nor is a cast off in her mother's eyes. The catch is that Zadie is in love with the Varenian Governor's son, Sami. She will do anything to be able to stay with him, instead of bringing her family the highest honor. After Zadie makes some ill advised decisions, Nor is sent in Zadie's place - but she must pretend to
Kayladeej 4 months ago
Pretty cover...check. Original...check. Interesting premise...check. It had so many good things going for it and that's exactly what Crown of Coral and Pearl was: good, but not great. Nor and her twin sister, Zadie, along with several other young women in their ocean village are groomed to care about one thing only: beauty. The elders in Varenia are in charge of picking the most beautiful girl in the village to marry the crown prince of Ilaria, a cold and cruel young man. Although Nor and Zadie look identical, Nor envies the fact that her sister will be the one chosen, she's unmarked by scars and has a sweet and gentle nature that calls forward a man's immediate adoration. Nor is beautiful too, but she's damaged. She doesn't bow down easily to commands, and she has dreams that reach far outside the ocean that prisons her. When will she get her chance to escape? My favorite part of this book was the lack of bitterness between siblings. For two young women who were raised to be the most beautiful women in the world and to compete against each other, they are surprisingly loving and supportive. You don't get any hatred, just good and honest twin love. My least favorite aspect was the romance, it was just too plain for me. I needed more emotion and more burning. I'm going to give this read a 3.5 Star rating!
marongm8 4 months ago
This book was received as an ARC from Harlequin TEEN (US & Canada) - Inkyard Press in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own. I was so intrigued by the description of this book that I had to pick it up and read it. While reading I can see similarities to a modern Cinderella and the twisted fairy tale that Red Queen has brought us. Reading this book made me think that royalty and the high life may not be so glamorous as the media makes it look or as we know it to be and this book really emphasized the sacrifices that have to be made and great power comes at a cost.and the sacrifice Nor made for royalty could cost her everything! Our community will enjoy this story with its compelling story and drama filled context. We will consider adding this title to our YFantasy collection at our library. That is why we give this book 5 stars.