Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Rutherford
Rating: 5/5 stars
Genre: YA fantasy
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Release Date: August 27, 2019
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.
(Blurb as found on goodreads)
** Thank you to Netgalley and Inkyard Press for providing me with an eARC of this book**
Aaaaaaaaaah. That’s me screaming cause this book. I loved this book. Nor was great, and I cheered for her throughout the whole book. I did love the turning of the trope “she was beautiful but didn’t know it” on it’s head (spoiler, she’s beautiful and she does know it). I knew going in that this one would have a heavy romantic subplot, which is normally a dealbreaker for me, but I gave it a chance, and thought it was really well done.
I love love love Nor’s relationship with her sister. So refreshing to see, and I’m a sucker for strong family relationships. There were a couple well-planned twists, which I personally loved. Oh and that world, like honestly, all I did today was think about building an ocean city near a coral reef. Loved it. And wow, the way the settings shaped the characters, excellent, excellent.
What really sold me on this one, was how much it reminded me of the YA books I read when I was a teenager. It had that same feeling that I’m constantly looking for and yet constantly disappointed by. It was just laced with excellent nostalgia, and I read it in one sitting. Seriously, I stayed up half the night devouring it cause I had to know what would happen.
Anyway, this is a fantastic book, I’ll recommend it to anyone looking for a young adult fantasy.
To buy this book: https://www.mararutherford.com/books
To learn more about the author: https://www.mararutherford.com/
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