Crown of Coral and Pearl
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 Details

TitleCrown of Coral and Pearl
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseAug 27th, 2019
PublisherInkyard Press
Rating
GenreFantasy, Young Adult, Young Adult Fantasy

Crown of Coral and Pearl Review

  • Candace Robinson
    January 1, 1970
    So right away, I really liked the first half of this book. The sister bond was well done and I really connected with Nor.For me, I kept waiting for the romance to build between Nor and Talin, or take away the romance. I loved their connection at the beginning of the book but then their whole relationship was underdeveloped, which would have been fine, but I kept getting insta love vibes from Nor! Ceren was actually well developed and he was quite the baddy, but I liked him?The writing was beauti So right away, I really liked the first half of this book. The sister bond was well done and I really connected with Nor.For me, I kept waiting for the romance to build between Nor and Talin, or take away the romance. I loved their connection at the beginning of the book but then their whole relationship was underdeveloped, which would have been fine, but I kept getting insta love vibes from Nor! Ceren was actually well developed and he was quite the baddy, but I liked him?The writing was beautiful and the world the author created was really cool. Side note: I with there would have been more Sami! He was probably my favorite character and there should definitely be a whole book on him!
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  • BookHugger
    January 1, 1970
    did i add this to my tbr just because the cover's pretty? no, why would you suggest that?
  • Joan He
    January 1, 1970
    longer review tk BUT GUYS THIS BOOK IS AMAZING (as is Mara) and will delight anyone who loves a good twin relationship, ocean-aesthetics, and complex villains <333
  • Namera [The Literary Invertebrate]
    January 1, 1970
    I was frightened of the person I was becoming: a woman who lied to everyone, who disrespected her parents, who helped her sister injure herself. A woman who would spy on a king.A woman who would steal a crown. Right up until the end, I thought this was going to be a 4-star read. Nor was wonderfully smart, the politics were actually interesting, and I loved the premise of the story. But there were three main problems:1) The romance was absolutely shite.2) I sympathised with the 'villain' way I was frightened of the person I was becoming: a woman who lied to everyone, who disrespected her parents, who helped her sister injure herself. A woman who would spy on a king.A woman who would steal a crown. Right up until the end, I thought this was going to be a 4-star read. Nor was wonderfully smart, the politics were actually interesting, and I loved the premise of the story. But there were three main problems:1) The romance was absolutely shite.2) I sympathised with the 'villain' way more than I did with the 'heroes.'3) The ending was extremely deus ex machina and not worthy of the book at all.Like I said, the premise really good. Seventeen-year-old Nor (whose name means 'coral') lives in the ocean village of Varenia with her twin sister Zadie ('pearl'). It's literally an ocean village - the houses are on stilts over the water, and due to an ancient rule made by the nearby land kingdom of Ilara, no Varenian is allowed to go to shore.With one exception: whoever is chosen by the village elders to be the next queen of Ilara. Once every generation, the most beautiful girl in the village will travel to Ilara to wed the king. Nor has always wished it could be her, because she feels stifled in her tiny beauty-obsessed village with a mother who wants nothing more than to have gorgeous daughters. But she can never be chosen. A childhood accident left her with a tiny blemish on her cheek, and it's Zadie whom everyone knows will be picked. And when Zadie is picked, everything is as it should be. Only, Zadie doesn't want to go. She's in love with their childhood friend Sami, and she's willing to go to desperate lengths to make sure she isn't sent away from him forever. Nor is packed off to Ilara instead, armed with a pot of cream designed to hide her scar - the only thing identifying her from Zadie. There she meets her betrothed Prince Ceren, a mercurial and oddly cruel young man. She also meets his half-brother Prince Talin, much more handsome and kind, whom she feels drawn to immediately. Nor quickly realises that things are rotten in the state of Ilara. The Ilaran nobles are weak and aged, compared to the healthy youthfulness of Varenians. Ceren believes it's because of the blood pearls: rare pink pearls harvested only in Varenia, they're its main export. But the pearls are running thin and Nor's people are starving. She will have to balance the needs of her people with appeasing her spoiled, maniacal husband-to-be. Right, let me start with the negatives. Problem #1: The Romance This was, quite frankly, nothing more than insta-love. Talin is an extraordinarily handsome man. Nor is an extraordinarily beautiful girl. Naturally, they fall in love with each other! I had no idea WHY she was attracted to him beyond stupidly superficial stuff like his 'sea-blue eyes', or whatever. This is a book which is supposed to be about celebrating all kinds of beauty, not just the physical. It's trying to show us how wrong Varenia is to be obsessed with beauty. And yet? All we see of Talin is his good looks. It was very ironic but also totally destroyed any page where he appeared.It also destroyed my respect for Nor. She's clearly a clever girl, avoiding many of the TSTL traps which can ensnare a fantasy heroine who's not careful. Yet she actively annoyed her actual fiancé by flirting with his brother right in front of him. What the hell? Why would you deliberately annoy Ceren, whom you know has got a bad temper, like that? And why are you attracted to him AT ALL? Problem #2: The Villain Ah, Ceren. Where do I begin with him? The author definitely tried to humanise him, but it's reached such a peak that I feel more for him than I do for Nor, or the 2D-cardboard-cut-out that is Talin. His mother died when he was young, and his father immediately remarried to a gorgeous new bride who gave birth to a gorgeous young son. Who WOULDN'T feel threatened in that sort of situation? Especially because it's made obvious that Talin's mother disliked her husband's heir, was jealous her own son wouldn't get the throne, and did her best to exclude Ceren from family activities.When they matured, Ceren was uglier and less social than Talin, who easily won hearts wherever he went. And THEN Ceren's own fiancée Nor appeared and made it obvious from the beginning that she preferred his brother to him - like everyone else on the planet. You really have to feel for Ceren here.Nor and Talin don't come off well here at all. Nor just latched onto handsome Talin and never let go; Talin is far too quick to hate an elder brother who has never actually hurt him. Yes, Ceren is definitely no saint, but he was an extremely interesting character and I don't think he was done justice by the author or any of the characters. Problem #3: The Ending I obviously can't say too much here, because spoilers. But it was rushed, implausible, and badly-thought-out. It also relied heavily on Nor's character making a U-turn from what it was previously written as. What I liked: ✔️ Wonderful exploration of the difficult, but always close, relationship between twins.✔️ Quite good world-building. ✔️ Good pacing; I wasn't bored for lack of action. ✔️ When Talin wasn't around, I did respect Nor and her lack of stupid actions. Overall This seems to be a standalone, which is a good thing since I'm not sure I would have read a sequel. It was an okay read but once I saw the direction it was heading in (at the 70% mark) I struggled a bit to finish. ARC received in exchange for an honest review - thank you! [Blog] - [Bookstagram]
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  • Tucker
    January 1, 1970
    911: 911, what's your emergency?Me: Yes! I would like to report a robbery.911: And what has been stolen?Me: My soul. My soul has been taken by a book cover.911: ...
  • Elly
    January 1, 1970
    I love this book! I was fortunate enough to read an early copy, and was immediately entranced by the rich, atmospheric world. Nor and Zadie have one of the most touchingly authentic sister relationships I've ever encountered, and Nor's journey has all the tension, twists, and romance I crave in YA fantasy. Couldn't put this one down!
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  • Carol (StarAngel's Reviews) Allen
    January 1, 1970
    Book – Crown of Coral and PearlAuthor – Mara RutherfordSeries – None Cliffhanger? - No Publication Date – August 27, 2019Genre – FantasyRating – 4.5 out of 5 StarsComplimentary copy generously provided by the author through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.My Thoughts - Story Hmmm…I think the number 1 thing that irked me the most about this book was how much I despised Zadie and the crap that she put Nor through. Which, don’t get me wrong, isn’t a bad thing…it shows how talented an aut Book – Crown of Coral and PearlAuthor – Mara RutherfordSeries – None Cliffhanger? - No Publication Date – August 27, 2019Genre – FantasyRating – 4.5 out of 5 StarsComplimentary copy generously provided by the author through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.My Thoughts - Story Hmmm…I think the number 1 thing that irked me the most about this book was how much I despised Zadie and the crap that she put Nor through. Which, don’t get me wrong, isn’t a bad thing…it shows how talented an author is to get the reader experience feelings whether negative or positive. It made me think back to when I was young and watching “Little House on the Prairie” and how much I hated that character “Nell” and my mother would tell me that just shows the writers knew what they were doing that you hate the character as much as you do!Sorry, I went off on a tangent there but back to the story. I thought this was so imaginative and I absolutely LOVED this world on the sea. I ached for Nor – all the tough breaks that she had and how no one saw her inner beauty, which to me radiated the most out of all the characters. It broke my heart the relationship she had with her mother and how terrible her mother treated her.The other downside I felt to this book is the romance between Talin and Nor ---- I just didn’t feel it until further in the book – I’m not a big fan of insta-love and felt that there were times that Talin didn’t really deserve the affection of Nor.Now to the good stuff! I ate this book up – another fantasy I couldn’t put down from beginning to end. I connected with Nor – I really felt her in my heart and in my soul. I loved the undercurrent theme of the beauty underneath and how vain some people can be. What is most important in life? Outer or Inner Beauty?I LOVED the world building and after reading, I wanted to go live on the ocean like Varenia!I would like to see more of this book and have it developed into a series because I just need more of Nor!Reason for Reading – NetGalley ReviewStory – 5 out of 5 StarsSteam – 4 out of 5 StarsAngst – 5 out of 5 StarsWriting – 4.5 out of 5 StarsContent Flow – 4.5 out of 5 StarsWould Read More from Author? DefinitelyRecommend To – Readers who love a strong female protagonist
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  • Sarah Glenn Marsh
    January 1, 1970
    Official comments: "A tale of intrigue, love, and sisterhood as dazzling as a sunny day at sea, you're sure to be swept away by A CROWN OF CORAL AND PEARL."Unofficial comments: WOW. Talk about a clever heroine who shows some real grit. I loved every page!
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  • Ashlee » Library In The Country
    January 1, 1970
    This cover is beautiful. 🙈
  • Luna
    January 1, 1970
    I feel like the author googled basic template for fantasy novel and filled them in with details. If you changed some of the character names, and setting this book is so unemarkable it falls into the category of any fantasy novel.The writing of this book was very basic, it seemed like a 8th grader wrote it. The plot was so basic and bland with most of the actual action happening through DIALOGUE explaining it happening instead of the reader experiencing it themselves. The writing of this book was I feel like the author googled basic template for fantasy novel and filled them in with details. If you changed some of the character names, and setting this book is so unemarkable it falls into the category of any fantasy novel.The writing of this book was very basic, it seemed like a 8th grader wrote it. The plot was so basic and bland with most of the actual action happening through DIALOGUE explaining it happening instead of the reader experiencing it themselves. The writing of this book was very difficult to get through and it brought the overall book down.The characters were also extremely one-dimensional and existed to further the plot nothing more. There was no character development for the hollow shells of humans that were supposed to be characters. The protagonist was EXTREMELY annoying and made me want to pull my hair out. She was a regular shmegular girl but the author attempted to draw her out to be the savior of the people, but she didn’t really do anything? Everyone else did stuff and she would interject here and there but nothing too much. The relationship in this book made me choke. The protagonist and her love interest spoke FOUR TIMES, I repeat FOUR TIMES in vary brief conversations, and all of a sudden they were in love? Are you kidding me? The author didn’t even try to make it seem like there was anything besides physical attraction and brooding looks behind their oh so amazing love.Reading the synopsis I knew the book would be a bit basic, but I had no idea it would be as badly written and as basic as it was. I received this book on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Cindy ✩☽ Savage Queen ♔
    January 1, 1970
    The title is meh, but the description has me convinced I need this book in my life!
  • Amber (The Book Bratz)
    January 1, 1970
    The full review + more can be found at The Book Bratz *Thank you so much Inkyard Press and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review Crown of Coral and Pearl!* I've been working with Mara on an interview for the blog for the past few weeks, so I was super excited when I was approved on NetGalley for Crown of Coral and Pearl. I blew through this book in two sittings, it was a quick read with an intriguing story line that captured me from page one.I really loved the bond between Nor and Z The full review + more can be found at The Book Bratz *Thank you so much Inkyard Press and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review Crown of Coral and Pearl!* I've been working with Mara on an interview for the blog for the past few weeks, so I was super excited when I was approved on NetGalley for Crown of Coral and Pearl. I blew through this book in two sittings, it was a quick read with an intriguing story line that captured me from page one.I really loved the bond between Nor and Zadie. Being twins and being groomed to become the next princess of Varenia. Especially how after Nor's accident and how the attention that was split among the both of them was now mostly focused on Zadie. Something that was devastating and that had lasting consequences for Nor made the bond between the twins even stronger. The story shows how far you will go for the people you love and the sacrifices are willing to make for their happiness. I know for me I would go to the ends of the earth for my sister and though we are not twins everything that Nor did for Zadie in this novel, I would do for my sister. Hands down. No questions asked. I really enjoyed the two different settings the story takes place in. The first half Crown of Coral and Bone take place in the sun on the ocean and Nor feels free. She has the water, her sister and Sami and that is all she ever needed. The people of Varenia get a long, they have a fair governor and though it isn't easy to find pearls, they manage. The second half takes place on land in the darkness of the mountain castle that has little sunlight and keeps Nor caged and in the dark unlike her previous life. The only issue I had with Crown of Coral and Bone is that I felt that the romance was a bit rushed. I get that Nor's situation was dire. But there was very little development in it before she was "in love" with this character. Don't get me wrong, the romance still managed to make me swoon and I loved it. I just wish it wasn't as rushed and there was more development. Overall I really enjoyed Crown of Coral and Pearl and I am crossing my fingers for a sequel. I would love to see where these character's are going to go next and the fall out of the events of the end of the novel. If this does happen to be a stand alone, I've created a happily ever after for all of them. But fingers crossed!!!
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  • Laurie
    January 1, 1970
    I was swept up into the tide of CROWN OF CORAL AND PEARL from the very first page. This fantasy tale of sea-dwelling Nor's arranged marriage to a cruel, mountain-dwelling prince is brimming with palace intrigue, forbidden romance, fantastical creatures and the power of sisterly love. I've a fondness for rich fantasy details, and Nor's ocean home was the perfect antidote to the long Vermont winter and cold spring we're having (the entire village is set completely on the ocean, not connected to la I was swept up into the tide of CROWN OF CORAL AND PEARL from the very first page. This fantasy tale of sea-dwelling Nor's arranged marriage to a cruel, mountain-dwelling prince is brimming with palace intrigue, forbidden romance, fantastical creatures and the power of sisterly love. I've a fondness for rich fantasy details, and Nor's ocean home was the perfect antidote to the long Vermont winter and cold spring we're having (the entire village is set completely on the ocean, not connected to land). I also enjoyed the forbidding castle set into a mountain in the kingdom on land, as well as the sizzling chemistry between Nor and Talin. But my absolute favorite scene involves the giant Salandrin creature (I adore fantasy monsters - especially unique ones). Author Rutherford also did a beautiful job infusing her story with language and metaphors evocative of the sea and sea-life as we adjust to life on land along with Nor. And the bond between Nor and her twin Zadie is both touching and heartfelt. CROWN OF CORAL AND PEARL is a lovely addition to any fantasy library - a most enjoyable read.
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  • ♔ Dark Lordette Jennymort ♔
    January 1, 1970
    this sounds hella awesome and i need it right the fuck now.
  • K.A.
    January 1, 1970
    I was lucky enough to read an early draft of this beautiful book, and I fell right in love with it's characters, story, and world. You are all in for a huge treat. :) I cannot wait for this book to be in the wild!!!!!
  • Nikki Miller
    January 1, 1970
    I read an early version of this book and hands down it is one of the most masterful novels I've ever read. The world building = epic. The sister relationship = super authentic. The plot had me on the edge of my seat. I've never read anything quite like this, and I can't wait for the world to fall in love with this extraordinary book!
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  • Alyson Stone
    January 1, 1970
    Book: Crown of Coral and Pearl Author: Mara RutherfordRating: 4 Out of 5 StarsI would like to thank Netgalley and the publisher, Inkyard Press, for providing me with this ARC. I must say that I was very impressed with this book. This is another one that I was only basing on the summary. I mean, the summary sounded good, but sometimes that can be a real let down. The writing is beautiful and the world is amazing. I love the idea of one group living in the ocean and another on land-in the same kin Book: Crown of Coral and Pearl Author: Mara RutherfordRating: 4 Out of 5 StarsI would like to thank Netgalley and the publisher, Inkyard Press, for providing me with this ARC. I must say that I was very impressed with this book. This is another one that I was only basing on the summary. I mean, the summary sounded good, but sometimes that can be a real let down. The writing is beautiful and the world is amazing. I love the idea of one group living in the ocean and another on land-in the same kingdom. There was just something about this that made it really magical. What I really loved about this book was the relationship between sisters. Zadie and Nor live in a world in which the most beautiful girl in the village is chosen to marry the prince. Their whole lives have been centred about this and they have been taught to see beauty as being on the outside, not on the inside. The two sisters share a bond. Both are in the running, but they really don’t want it. Both of them have their hearts set on something else. When something happens, they are forced to live a life that neither one of them of them thought. I loved how Mara made their bond one of the main focuses of the story. I know romance is a major factor in this book, but I love the family relationships even more. Mara’s writing is beautiful and stunning. I love how she put in little details throughout the story that really added to the world. Inside of us being told about the world in one setting, like it is with most fantasy, we get world building throughout the story. It just makes everything that much more wonderful and engaging. The pacing was okay. To me, the pacing is what made me knock a star off. The ending felt rushed. Don’t get me wrong, it was good, but it seemed like Mara was aiming for a longer book and that didn’t happen. It felt like so much time was taken on other things and the final battle was just cut short. Hopefully, there will be a second book to pick up where this one left off-I really have no idea what’s being planned. Overall, not a bad book. This one comes out on August 27, 2019.
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  • Nicole (FearYourEx)
    January 1, 1970
    5/5 StarsThank you to the publisher for the early copy via netgalley.Nor and her twin sister, Zadie live in Varenia. A small village that has a pact with Ilara a kingdom that rules Varenia. This involves the most beautiful girl being sent to Ilara to marry the heir. Nor and Zadie are twin sisters, but Nor has a scar on her face so she knows her sister will be chosen. Everything changes when Zadie is injured and Nor has to go in her place.This book was so hard for me to put down, there were so ma 5/5 StarsThank you to the publisher for the early copy via netgalley.Nor and her twin sister, Zadie live in Varenia. A small village that has a pact with Ilara a kingdom that rules Varenia. This involves the most beautiful girl being sent to Ilara to marry the heir. Nor and Zadie are twin sisters, but Nor has a scar on her face so she knows her sister will be chosen. Everything changes when Zadie is injured and Nor has to go in her place.This book was so hard for me to put down, there were so many factors: number one was that I absolutely LOVE the author's writing and I will DEFINITELY be looking out closely for her future books. Number two: the mystery behind it, the people of Varenia are struggling to get by but the King keeps pushing them for more! Number three: Nor discovers so much about herself and her story of self discovery and learning to live herself and her flaws was beautifully done.Highly recommend this book!
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  • Lea
    January 1, 1970
    Firstly, the cover is lovely as is the title. I was intrigued right away and then even more so when I read the description. And I am truly glad I read this one! I was hooked immediately by the characters and the setting. The dynamic between the sisters was wonderfully done and you could really feel their love for each other. The setting was beautifully described, the sun, the heat, the saltiness of the ocean. It was all perfect. It doesn't take long for the story to really pick up, either, and o Firstly, the cover is lovely as is the title. I was intrigued right away and then even more so when I read the description. And I am truly glad I read this one! I was hooked immediately by the characters and the setting. The dynamic between the sisters was wonderfully done and you could really feel their love for each other. The setting was beautifully described, the sun, the heat, the saltiness of the ocean. It was all perfect. It doesn't take long for the story to really pick up, either, and once it did it was impossible to put down. The story takes a darker turn, but it is well worth the read. Nor is an amazing and strong main character and I liked her a lot. The only thing about this book was that I found the ending to be rather abrupt and felt it could have been fleshed out a bit more, but otherwise this was just a great read! Highly recommend.This book was provided to me by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    If I were doling out points for this book, I'd give it high marks for keeping me engaged and pulling me through the twists and turns Nor has to manage. I'd also give it a ton of points for its stellar and surprising conclusion (thank the book gods for great standalone fantasies).But, I'd have to take away points for a instalove romance that I so wanted more from and for a premise that I've read many, many times before (view spoiler)[girl gets sent to the palace to marry someone she doesn't know/ If I were doling out points for this book, I'd give it high marks for keeping me engaged and pulling me through the twists and turns Nor has to manage. I'd also give it a ton of points for its stellar and surprising conclusion (thank the book gods for great standalone fantasies).But, I'd have to take away points for a instalove romance that I so wanted more from and for a premise that I've read many, many times before (view spoiler)[girl gets sent to the palace to marry someone she doesn't know/like (hide spoiler)] (see: The Stolen Songbird, Reign the Earth, The Girl of Fire and Thorns, etc). While I don't tire of that premise too much, the story doesn't deviate enough from its predecessors to make it stand out from the rest. Definitely an entertaining but with discernible flaws.
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  • Marguerite (M)
    January 1, 1970
    Rating: 3 starsCrown of Coral and Pearl was a good book that fell short on being a great one.From the first page, I was pulled in the story of Nor, of Zadie, of their lives on the ocean. The writing was lovely, the world building well shaped, the characters well fleshed and the bond between the two sisters was beautiful. But most of it, I really appreciated Nor and how she was growing up page after page and how her view of beauty was evolving.But for a book that started with a deep meaning and a Rating: 3 starsCrown of Coral and Pearl was a good book that fell short on being a great one.From the first page, I was pulled in the story of Nor, of Zadie, of their lives on the ocean. The writing was lovely, the world building well shaped, the characters well fleshed and the bond between the two sisters was beautiful. But most of it, I really appreciated Nor and how she was growing up page after page and how her view of beauty was evolving.But for a book that started with a deep meaning and a beautiful message, it took a completely different turn when it came to the romance, a romance so unlike Nor and what we were reading about her. A romance superficial and shallow, all about looks, far too rushed next to everything else.Fuller review to come maybeThank you Netgalley for this ARC.
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  • Shorouk Abd Elhamed
    January 1, 1970
    Pre-reading: Twins ,falling in love with the prince's brother and royalty secrets . I am here !
  • RuthAnne Snow
    January 1, 1970
    I read an early draft and trust me friends, you're going to want this one.
  • Nia •ShadesOfPaper•
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you Harlequin Teen and Inkyard Press for the ARC
  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    Themes of sisterhood, loyalty and longing all play beautifully in Rutherford's Crown of Coral and Pearl. Lovely, intense character relationships set the tone of the novel, with stark reality and intrigue adding another layer to both the plot and character dynamics. Rutherford's writing is smooth and comforting, effortlessly transporting the reader into Ilara and Varenia. Otherwise a fluent read, Crown suffers slightly at the end -- it is obvious that a sequel was planned, but the novel seems to Themes of sisterhood, loyalty and longing all play beautifully in Rutherford's Crown of Coral and Pearl. Lovely, intense character relationships set the tone of the novel, with stark reality and intrigue adding another layer to both the plot and character dynamics. Rutherford's writing is smooth and comforting, effortlessly transporting the reader into Ilara and Varenia. Otherwise a fluent read, Crown suffers slightly at the end -- it is obvious that a sequel was planned, but the novel seems to be written as a stand alone. Let's hope for a second novel! Zadie and Nor, twins, live on Varenia -- an atoll that provides the Kingdom of Ilara with two exports, pink pearls and a bride for the Ilarian prince. Raised to be the future queen, the most beautiful sister will be separated from her family and sent to live in Ilara. Nor lives her life care-free, the small scar on her cheek guaranteeing her a life stuck in Varenia, even if she wants more. When Zadie's life is at stake, Nor makes a decision that will alter both her life, and an entire kingdom.
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  • Rosalyn Eves
    January 1, 1970
    I read an early version of this and thought it was lovely, particularly the twin sister relationship. Can't wait to see the finished version!
  • Nicole Pinto
    January 1, 1970
    Wow!!!! I loved this book so much that I sacrificed some much needed sleep for it!! First of all the world building was top notch and the storyline fresh. Nor was a kick butt heroine. I loved everything about it. I hope she continues to series! Thank you to netgalley for the ARC.
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  • Jess Means
    January 1, 1970
    Crown of Coral and Pearl is certainly a stunning cover in it’s simplicity. I’m not usually a sucker for pretty covers… though of late, with Bookstagram accounts (like http://pythiareads.net/ ) and reviewers that include the covers in gorgeous backdrops, I have started to draw my eyes more to the aesthetic choices in a cover. The image of the crown itself, after reading the book, is a perfect representation of the story.ANYWAY… no one comes to my reviews to listen to me blather on about cover art Crown of Coral and Pearl is certainly a stunning cover in it’s simplicity. I’m not usually a sucker for pretty covers… though of late, with Bookstagram accounts (like http://pythiareads.net/ ) and reviewers that include the covers in gorgeous backdrops, I have started to draw my eyes more to the aesthetic choices in a cover. The image of the crown itself, after reading the book, is a perfect representation of the story.ANYWAY… no one comes to my reviews to listen to me blather on about cover art.I’ve been a fan of YA books (as an adult, ahem, cough) since the trend of dystopian fiction. You know the ones I’m talking about, right? Hunger Games, Divergent, Harry Potter and all the other pop-culture references books-turned-epic-movie-franchises. I have enjoyed all of them. I finished Crown and Pearl and I instantly wanted it to be turned into a movie. To see the visuals that Mara has so carefully crafted in her writing brought to life would be a breathtaking movie. Are you listening, studios? Give me this movie.Varenia is a floating village. In the middle of the ocean. It’s people are born and raised and die there. They are long lived (Nor references an elder who is nearly 150 years old at one point), and beautiful. They covet beauty to the extreme that a scar of any size could ruin a girl’s future as a bride. For only the most beautiful, unblemished, girl is chosen to be sent to land to become the princess of Ilara.Gross, right? It’s a good thing this book isn’t focused on the obsession of beauty. It’s in there, sure, but it’s not the point of the book at all.Romance is in the book too. I was glad that the romance wasn’t a love triangle. Those are trendy in YA and are boring and annoying story devices. Nor’s twin sister is in love with someone who isn’t a future prince. Nor meets a man and feels sparks-and-fizzles in her tummy that continues with her to New Castle and land. The right amount of sparkle is there for those who love a good romance but it isn’t so steamy-and-all-consuming. I liked that about the romance in this book.Ultimately, this is a book about sisters and family. About having another half that is your twin. I found out at the end of the book that the author is a twin herself. It really made perfect sense that she was writing about twins the way she did. When Nor saw herself in the mirror and instantly realized that would be the only way she would know how her sister would age – since they were never to see each other again – that struck me.“I realized that my world had never been small. It had been as boundless as my love for Zadie, stretching out before me as far as the eye could see and beyond.”The villain in this book, Ceren, was never the sort to be redeemable. He wasn’t the villain you love to hate. He was awful. Truly awful. And you never really rooted for him at all. There were flashes of his humanity that Nor saw through and it gave you pause to consider his motives. To consider what drove him to be evil, like Nor does. In these flashes of humanity, I thought the author showcased herself as a brilliant writer. I kept wondering if Ceren was going to have a redemption arc of some kind because of those flashes. Would he be able to overcome his obsessions? Could he see past his anger and hurt? These are the questions that had me flipping pages to find out.Prince Talin is the good brother – the one you root for. He isn’t Nor’s savior though. Sure, he helps her out sometimes, but he isn’t the source of her strength. The journey Nor takes us on is one of self-realization. Of having inner strength. Of having convictions and following them even when the choices are hard to make. It’s great that there is the spark-fizz of touches and kisses.I know a lot of people like romance to drive a story and when it’s done well I enjoy it too. Nor clearly feels something for Talin and he for her. It simply isn’t the focus of the story and I was glad for it. I liked that Nor was her own hero, that she drove herself, that she survived because of her own will and strength.Nor clearly feels something for Talin and he for her. It simply isn’t the focus of the story and I was glad for it. I liked that Nor was her own hero, that she drove herself, that she survived because of her own will and strength.Sorrow is good for the soul, Father had said after the incident, when I had recovered from the pain and sickness but had still not grown used to the feel of torn flesh on my otherwise flawless skin. Those who have never known pain or adversity are as shallow as the waves lapping on the shore.I usually check my progress in a book as I’m reading, to anticipate when it’s ending, or to check and see if the plot is following the typical trends I expect. I didn’t check the progress on this book once. I was enjoying the journey and was invested in the characters.I was absolutely bummed when it ended. I’m pretty sure there will be a second book and I’m super stoked for it. The ending of this book setup another easily and even if it doesn’t set one up, it leaves you satisfied.I’m adding this to my —Must Read in 2019 shout out.I’d rate this book a 4 out of 5 stars. The world building was amazing and the characters were richly written and engaging. The pace of the beginning of the book got on my nerves. I already knew where the plot was taking us (to Ilara) and the waiting for Nor to be The Chosen One made me too impatient to enjoy the story. I’m hopeful that the next book in the series won’t take so long to build-up.Also, I loved finding out that the author was a fellow Murderino. I was really surprised by her acknowledgement of Karen and Georgia. It really hit me that the community around My Favorite Murder is large and amazing. Stay sexy, and don’t get murdered!
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  • Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    **I received a free ARC from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a honest review**With Crown of Coral and Pearl Mara Rutherford has created a world filled with intrigue and adventure. I was drawn into this story from page one and was a little disappointed when it ended because it meant I had to leave these characters for a while (at least until book 2 comes out). There is so much going on in this novel, but it never feels like the author is trying to do too much. I found learning abo **I received a free ARC from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a honest review**With Crown of Coral and Pearl Mara Rutherford has created a world filled with intrigue and adventure. I was drawn into this story from page one and was a little disappointed when it ended because it meant I had to leave these characters for a while (at least until book 2 comes out). There is so much going on in this novel, but it never feels like the author is trying to do too much. I found learning about the history and traditions of Varenia was as interesting as the court intrigue in Ilara. Nor and Zadie's sisterhood is beautifully written and I appreciated that Nor is never painted as a martyr - she makes sacrifices, but never acts like a victim. Although getting all of the benefits of life, Zadie does not become full of herself and never forgets everything that Nor has done for her. It would have been easy to write Zadie as selfish, but really she's just a teenage girl who wants some control over her destiny. Nor is a great heroine because of both her strengths and her weaknesses. She always does what she thinks is right and recognizes when she makes mistakes. I really enjoyed seeing her grow from a young girl looking to escape her small community into a young woman seeking to protect her family and her home. She makes mistakes and doesn't avoid dealing with the consequences of those mistakes. I think Ceren had it right when he pointed out that she is more interested in protecting others than herself - the best part of this is that she doesn't even stop to think about the harm that could come to her and only thinks of others (even though many of the people she protects are strangers to her). In the end she has to do something that goes against everything she's been taught and I appreciated that she didn't just complete this action without emotion.Ceren is a well crafted villain in that you are repulsed by many of his actions and his selfishness but are also given little glimpses into what has made him that way and left feeling sorry for him at times (although those moments are very very very brief). He is given enough of a backstory to understand why he is the way he is rather than just having him be a stock villain. He is one of those characters that you wonder how he would have turned out had his childhood played out a little differently or if he hadn't grown up in a mountain.I think my liking of Talin had to do as much with him being a genuinely good guy as with the way he accepts Nor and sees her beauty when so many others in her life have not. He and Nor do not always think before they act which ends up getting them in trouble, but also helps them save one another. I saw that this is currently a standalone, but I really really really hope the publisher picks up the sequel. There is definitely more story to be told and I look forward to seeing what happens next.Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I know some reviewers have felt there was nothing original with this story, but even though some of the elements are familiar they are pieced together in a way that makes for an interesting and engaging story. There were a few twists that I did not see coming and kept it from getting too predictable. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy novels and is looking for new characters and worlds in which to get invested!
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  • Brie Anderson
    January 1, 1970
    **I received an Arc through Netgalley and all opinions are my own***WOW. I had such mixed feelings about this book. Mainly because this is a standalone novel (for now, hoping for a sequel!!). It was such a fun world with absolutely adoring characters. I fell in love with all of them, and was sad to see the story end. I want MORE. This book had a good ending of course, but I want to see the outcome after the end of the book takes place. I believe so much more can be done with this story and the w **I received an Arc through Netgalley and all opinions are my own***WOW. I had such mixed feelings about this book. Mainly because this is a standalone novel (for now, hoping for a sequel!!). It was such a fun world with absolutely adoring characters. I fell in love with all of them, and was sad to see the story end. I want MORE. This book had a good ending of course, but I want to see the outcome after the end of the book takes place. I believe so much more can be done with this story and the world it would be sad to see it go.I loved the characters. Nor was a strong female lead, who never complained. She was dealt a hard hand her whole life being compared to her sister and having a tiny scar that ruined her chances of becoming the princes betrothed. I felt so much for her character and how she was treated in the novel. I also understood her struggle, and was amazed at the lack of her resentment towards her twin, Zadie. Nor is constantly being outshone by Zadie's beauty and frowned upon because of her scar. She goes to great lengths for her sister, and would do anything for her. Zadie was a great character too, but she was a lot more impulsive. I liked this about her character because it shows how she isn't perfect, and hates being told so. Talin was also a great character, a little rebel himself. A lot of his character is shown in minimal ways, but when you get a glimpse, you fall in love. Ceren was a great antagonist. He reminds me of the Darkling in a way, where you almost admire him, but love him as the villain more. Sammi was also a great side character, as well as Ebb. ALL OF THEM WERE GREAT, WHAT CAN I SAY??This story was fresh and unique and I really liked it. Some people could compare it to a lot of books and that's okay. It is unique in its own way and I think that comparing this book to others would do it a disgrace. The world was so different (hello, people LITERALLY live on the sea in boats) and the tales of the royal lines always intrigued me. There is a lot of spying, conspiring, and heated romance in this book. None too overwhelming, but the beast fighting scene is by far my favorite. I think the ending had an almost twist that I had not seen coming. I came up with a few theories, but never really guessed the ending. I really wish she would continue on, I would buy it in a heartbeat.
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