Review: Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Rutherford

Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Rutherford

Crown of Coral and Pearl
Mara Rutherford
Inkyard Press
Publishes August 27, 2019

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About 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 on Goodreads

My Review

I liked Nor’s character straight from the beginning. Her protectiveness toward her family and her closeness with her sister make her an admirable character. Her spirit and thirst for adventure keep her at the center of her story as a heroine rather than the trade goods her people hope to make of her.

Besides Nor, other characters are pretty straightforward. The good guys are very good. The bad guys are very bad. I kept hoping for some hidden complexities, but that wasn’t really the direction the story took. I’m not sure I understood the plot. It felt out of focus to me. I felt like Nor’s goal gets overshadowed by other events, and fizzled a little bit as the story ended.

I found the clash of the two cultures– Nor’s oceanic people and Ceren’s mountain-dwelling people– really creative and interesting. Nor’s life at sea gave her a lot of freedom and vitality. Her new life in the mountain felt oppressive, dark, and creepy, even before all of the politics and people added complications. I thought the way CROWN OF CORAL AND PEARL clashed those two cultures added a lot of feeling to the story and was cleverly done.

On the whole, I felt like the story world was cleverly created and Nor is a fantastic character. I’m glad I read the book, even if I wanted more complexity in its other characters. Fans of SEA WITCH RISING will like CROWN OF CORAL AND PEARL for its cross-culture story and its emphasis on the unbreakable bond of sisterhood.

Crown of Coral and Pearl on Amazon

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 12 up.

Nor and her sister have bronze skin and dark curly hair. The Ilarans are pale with blond hair.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Mild profanity used infrequently.

Romance/Sexual Content
Brief kissing between boy and girl.

Spiritual Content
Nor’s people worship the god of the sea, Thalos, who is said to have punished those who don’t submit to his will.

Violent Content
Assassins attack a small group. Nor battles a monster and faces torture. A woman jumps from a cliff. A woman hits a soldier over the head and stabs someone.

Drug Content
Nor is encouraged to drink alcohol to help her sleep.

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

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