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Like The Thirteenth Tale, this book gave an honest but mystical depiction of twins raised by narcissistic mothers and ineffectual fathers. As a twin myself, from a family where all the children come in pairs - pairs where one is loathed as much as the othr is loved- this book resonated with me. The story has none of Setterfield's intricate weaving of plots onto the lush fabric of Vida Winter's fantasy library. But it had the ocean, my own first love, and described the unrises and salt coarse skin so well I could taste the sea breeze on my lips. I am very much looking forward to the next book...but can it not be sooner released? Please?
Apesar de ser um ótimo livro, a sua aparência EXTERNA não é das melhores, não sei se ele veio assim pq comprei na pré-venda, por 20 reais,mas pela estética do livro eu nunca pagaria mais de 40 reais, por melhor que fosse a história.
Nor and Zadie are twins from the ocean village of Varenia, renowned for its lustrous pink pearls (said to have healing properties) and the beauty of its maidens. The sisters are identical except for a small scar on Nor’s cheek from the deadly blood coral that gives the pearls their color. While Nor dreams of leaving Varenia to explore the world, Zadie wants nothing more than to stay and marry her sweetheart.
Both their plans are destroyed when Zadie is chosen to marry Ceren, the cruel crown prince of the ruling kingdom of Ilara and must leave home forever. But when Zadie is injured, Nor is sent in her place to the far-away Ilaran castle, carved deep into a dark mountain. Posing as her sister, she must navigate palace intrigue, uncover the truth about Ceren’s plans for Verenia and struggle against her growing feelings for Ceren’s dashing half-brother Talin.
“Crown of Coral and Pearl” is a beautifully-written fantasy story centered around the bond between two twin sisters. The plot is a well-paced mix of intrigue, action, romance and drama and the world-building is lush and detailed. Both Varenia and Ilara are so well described they feel like they actually exist.
Nor is a heroine easy to root for as she fights for her sister, her homeland and her life. Her romance with Talin has just enough swoon-worthy elements but doesn’t overwhelm the rest of the plot. The magical elements, too, are quite subtle as it really is a story about the characters and their motivations. Ceren is an effective villain and more layered than he first appears, fighting for his kingdom and his own life even if his methods are pretty horrifying.
But this book at its heart is the story of two sisters and the lengths one will go to protect the other, which makes the story really stand out from others in the genre. The writing is rich and lyrical, and the book also contains a fairly pointed critique of beauty standards and the trope of ‘the most beautiful girl in the village’ which I really appreciated.
If you like books with great world-building, complex characters and a mix of intrigue and romance, I highly recommend reading “Crown of Coral and Pearl.” Now I just have to wait for the sequel!
Joliment écrit, l'histoire ne m'a malheureusement pas accrochée car un peu trop linéaire. Pas vraiment de surprises les personnages sont campés et constants... j'aurais aimé un peu plus de surprises et de piquant.
I was so excited for this book...until I actually started reading it past the sample. It took until 39% of the book before it actually picked up pace, before then it was a whole lot of sitting around in Nor's head, or talking about how pretty everyone and everything is...just very redundant, and then the instalove. Oh god, the instalove was just awful in this one. The author also could've done some great stuff subverting our expectations with Ceren, who I found myself liking way more than the heroines Insta love interest. And the last 8% was just bad. Especially for all of Nor's actions prior to. That's just my thoughts on the plot, and story. If you're a fan of Sarah J Maas, and you're hoping for something similiar to Feyre, and Rhys, or Aelin and Rowan, you're going to be disappointed. Unless she switches it up later in the series, but that seems really unlikely. The writing itself wasn't bad, but the imagery was lacking in areas. She also told the readers a lot rather than showed us, and that is a pet peeve of mine as it pulls from the story. Two stars because I'll probably read the other books just to see if she does end up switching it around, but I'm not going to be holding my breath for that, or eagerly counting down the days until the books are released.
**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.
Crown of Coral and Pearl is a beautiful and captivating story of sisterly love and what a sister will do to protect the people she loves. The world building is enthralling and unique, a truly well-developed fantasy world with many fantastical elements.
Over everything, what really grabbed my attention with this story were the characters. All the characters are uniquely their own and felt so real. The characters were the main reason I loved this story. Nor and her journey is what made this story possible and wholly original.
“You have the power to do anything and everything you dream of, more than any person I’ve ever known.”
The plot build up is perfect and each chapter provides just enough to keep your attention. Hints and secrets are dropped continuously throughout the book until you flip to the last page and read the last line, and until you start to piece everything together. Mara Rutherford did an excellent job orchestrating the plot and making sure too much detail was not released at one time.
“Your mother taught you to believe your scar made you ugly, but it has made your brave.”
Nor is brave and unconditionally human, which is what makes her character so believable. Her love for her sister and her capacity to sacrifice her life and dreams to protect her sister and village is remarkable and, in my opinion, is what made this story what it is. Even though more than half of the story is spent away from her sister, Nor never forgets what she is fighting for. She’s selfless and when she finally wants something, she still puts her sister and her village first. Throughout Crown of Coral and Pearl, Nor learns what it’s like to finally live and be her true self, and that growth is one of the reasons that made her character so unique.
Not only is the relationship between Nor and Zadie wonderful to read, but so is Nor’s blooming relationship with Talin. Nor’s engaged to Talin’s brother, Prince Ceren, who is cruel and cold and everything Talin is not. The chemistry between Nor and Prince Talin is undeniable and leaps off the page. The chapters where both characters interacted were some of my favorite – I love romance in fantasy books, especially the type of romance that feels alive and is genuinely realistic.
Actually, if I’m being honest, all of the people that interacted with Nor were believable and flowed well with the story. She’s unsure of what moving to Ilara will be like, so she spends most of her time navigating her surroundings and trying to figure out the secrets that people are hiding behind lies.
“You’re not afraid of anything, Nor. You never have been.”
Overall, Crown of Coral and Pearl is a story built on heart and sisterly love and one that is easily a favorite of mine for 2019. I was left in anticipation for the sequel, and I cannot wait to read the continuation of Nor’s story next year.
Nor and Zadie: coral and pearl. Both precious to our people, both beautiful enough to adorn the necks of queens. But whereas a pearl is prized for its luster, its shape, its lack of imperfections, coral is different. It grows twisted. In its natural form, it can hardly be considered beautiful at all." In the village of Varenia, girls are raised on the belief that beauty is power. For every so often, a Varenian girl will be chosen to be sent off to marry the Prince of Ilara and become the next Queen, the highest honor to receive in their small village. When Nor and Zadie are born, there is no doubt in anyones mind who will be chosen when the time comes. But a terrible accident leaves Nor with a scar on her cheek when she is young. No longer having a chance to be picked as the most beautiful girl in Varenia, Nor accepts her fate and watches as Zadie is groomed by their mother for the future that undoubtedly awaits her. So it comes as no surprise when the elders pick Zadie to go ashore. But Zadie does not want to go and when she suffers a grievious injury before she is set to sail to Ilara, Nor is sent in her place instead.
And so, Nor heads to Ilara to be wed to a man she has never met and rule a land she has never been to before. What starts out as excitement very quickly turns to dismay as Ilara proves to be nothing like what she expected. Growing up on the ocean, Nor is used to sunshine and openness and when she learns she will be living inside a mountain, she can't help but long to go home. "There is no hope for any of us, child. We are all trapped in this mountain like lobsters in a cage, waiting for our turn to die."
On top of that, she quickly finds out that the man she is to be wed to, is a horrid, cold man with many secrets and a beyond alarming obsession with the pearls her village harvests. Nor soon learns that there is much more going on than what her people have been lead to believe and that they are in danger.
Wow! There was just so much amazing-ness in this!😍 Nor and Zadies relationship was so beautiful! I'd say almost the first half of this book focuses on the relationship between the two and what it was like growing up in a place that values beauty above all else and I absolutely loved reading of their sisterly bond. The world building was excellent. I felt like I was right there with Nor the whole time as she navigated new lands and new people. There's tension! Twists and turns! Some romance(but not an overpowering romance)! Wonderful growth with our leading lady. A villian whom you want to like but then he goes and does awful things, and no why did he do that I almost thought I liked him! A shocking ending! Literally, I gasped when I read it. This was a beautifully written YA Fantasy and please give me the sequel now!😅
￼ *I received this book for free from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*
I really liked the introduction to this world, there was character building, dynamic relationships, etc. However, when the setting changed it lost a lot of its detail and believability and felt rushed. The supposedly fiery leading lady become increasingly wishy-washy and spineless, feeling pity for the villian, and then being shocked, AGAIN, when he does something evil. The hero is likewise pretty useless, and the villian is one dimensional. There's a lot of wringing hands and declaring someone should do something, but no one ever DOES. By the end I was bored and uninvested. Its far from a bad book, infact a pretty typical YA read, but disappointing in the end.