Crown of Coral and Pearl is the first book in the series by Mara Rutherford.
For generations, the crown princes of Ilara have married the most beautiful maidens from the ocean village of Varenia. Nor once dreamed of seeing the mysterious mountain kingdom for herself, but after a childhood accident left her with a scar, she knew her twin sister, Zadie, would likely be chosen to marry the crown prince.
Then Zadie is injured, and Nor is sent to Ilara in her place. She soon discovers her future husband, Prince Ceren, is as forbidding and cold as his home. And as she grows closer to Ceren’s brother, Prince Talin, Nor learns of a failing royal bloodline, a murdered queen…and a plot to destroy her village.
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 cost her everything she loves.
Rutherford creates a rich community who live off the water. The main characters are twin sisters Zadie and Nor who are preparing for the selection of will be sent to marry the crown prince. Rutherford builds a community that is rich in tradition and respect to the water as they live off what it provides. The tradition of the village highlights the importance of beauty and Nor seems to realise that beauty isn’t everything.
Nor’s relationship with her sister Zadie is beautiful and I want to read more with their story and adventures they get up to.
The character development of Nor throughout the story kept me hooked as well as her journey in adapting to a new location with new people. Her relationship with Talin and Ceren was interesting as well as the brothers dynamic.
There were events in the book that I wasn’t expecting and I’m looking forward to seeing how the story progresses in the next book.
There was strong themes of family and youth and beauty that was seen in the book. For the sisters their family could be seen as a blessing and a curse as they are from a struggling village and sacrifice their happiness for their family. For the brothers, Talin sees his brother as a curse as he does evil things to others in the castle. I’m truely intrigued to see how the story continues in the second book.
I would recommend this book.