Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Rutherford
Releases: August 27, 2019
Beware the lionfish, my dear, Beware the fish that's made of stone. Beware sweet nothing's in your ear, And the heart as hollow as a bone. For Varenian's, beauty is everything when it comes to the young ladies of the island, because the prince of Ilara will only take the most beautiful girl as his bride. Becoming the princess of Ilara is the only way off the island, and for Nor, that's really all that matters. But, when an accident as a child mars her once beautiful face, it's obvious that the chance to leave the island will go to her twin sister, Zadie.
The first half takes place on the island of Varenia, a land that depends entirely on the mainland kingdom of Ilara for the entirety of their goods, including fresh water. The Varenian's only have their rare pink pearls that can only be found around their island home to trade, and the value of their precious commodity is barely enough to keep food on the table even though demand grows higher than ever. Nor knows that things on her precious island will never change unless someone stands up to the king of Ilara. After the actions of her twin end up sending Nor in her place to be princess, Nor decides it is she who will change the way her people are treated, even if it's the last thing she does. What Nor doesn't except is a dying king, a young prince with a heart of a stone, and a handsome young man that takes her breath away. Life in Ilara is not what she expected, and neither is her betrothed. Old mysteries unravel as Nor pretends to be Zadie, leaving her wondering if beauty is the only thing that defines her. Crown of Coral and Pearl is an amazing read and, with the announcement of a second book, I can't wait to see what comes next for Nor (and Talin. I love Talin. That is all.) I was enraptured by the world that Rutherford created and I loved watching the characters grow and develop.
The lives that Zadie and Nor live in the first half of the book sets the second half up so well, it kept me turning the page until I knew what was going to happen. If you're a fan of a villain with layers, someone that is more than they appear at first glance, then you're going to really appreciate the villain Rutherford creates. The mythology surrounding her world, the culture, is so rich and interesting.
Also, if you like a good love story that makes your heart race, a nice rainy romantic scene, and sisterly love that can overcome any obstacle--once again, this is the book for you!
Seriously, go buy this. Preorder it. Join me in talking about it until the next one comes out!