• Alex Lopez

Crown of Coral and Pearl

Hello everyone!

Have you ever wanted to be the ruler of a kingdom?

Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Rutherford follows a young woman who is thrown headfirst to the imperial court to save her village.

“You have the power to do anything and everything you dream of, more than any person I’ve ever known.”

~Crown of Coral and Pearl

In her debut work, Rutherford conveyed an intriguing plot that delved into the often dangerous balance between love of country and duty for country. Rutherford's vivid imagery transported readers directly to the Varenian's floated village on the sea where the great expanse of water is all encompassing and the sounds of the ocean crash through the pages. As a reader, I love when authors create an original landscape and this particular element completely immersed me in the protagonist's, Nor's, world.

“Nor and Zadie. Coral and Pearl. Powerful and beautiful because of each other, not in spite of each other.”

~Crown of Coral and Pearl

The theme of duty for the greater good at the cost of the self prevailed throughout Crown of Coral and Pearl. Because of the decline in the village's harvesting of pearls that the Varenian's subsist on, Nor's twin sister, Zadie, is chosen to wed a prince and become the next queen. However, Zadie holds a love for a fellow villager that drives her to harm herself in order to create a large scar to dissuade the decision of the elders. Since Zadie's picture was sent off to the imperial court, Nor is sent in her sister's place.

"What lies beneath the surface of shallow waters? Nothing. It's only when you go deeper that the ocean comes alive. The deeper you go, the more mysteries and surprises await."

~Crown of Coral and Pearl

At New Castle, the author's outstanding world building capabilities continue to expand along with her established environment. It is a place of cold and cruel exchanges that comprise of the court's cat-and-mouse games. This was such a juxtaposition to the sun kissed pages from the beginning of Nor's tale that demonstrated Rutherford's creative flexibility. From the moment she steps forth on this unfamiliar land, Nor beings realizing that above her kingdom, she must save herself. The process of Nor's self discovery as she tries to save the people she holds dear will appeal to readers of the Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard and Amber & Dusk by Lyra Selene.

”I’m the perfect seashell you pick up from the ocean floor, only to turn it over in your hand and see the crack.”

~Crown of Coral and Pearl

I thoroughly enjoyed traversing through Rutherford's imagination and I am greatly anticipating the continuation of this duology!


Crown of Coral and Pearl

by Mara Rutherford Publisher: Inkyard Press Release Date: August 27th 2019

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy


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.


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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, from Russia to Peru, along with her Marine-turned-diplomat husband and two sons. A triplet born on Leap Day, Mara holds a Master's degree in Cultural Studies from the University of London and would rather study the folklore of her next post than the language (which she has found is a lot more fun but not nearly as useful). She is a former Pitch Wars mentee and three-time mentor. Her debut YA fantasy, Crown of Coral and Pearl, will release from Harlequin Teen in Fall 2019.


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