ARC Review: Crown of Coral and Pearl

crown of coral and pearlTitle: Crown of Coral and Pearl
 Mara Rutherford
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy
Version: ARC – ebook
Page Count: 432
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Synopsis: GoodReads
Notable Notables: Solid world-building and original ideas
Recommended Readers: Those wanting to give a new author and a new fantasy a chance
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Thank you, NetGalley and the publisher, for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review—and sorry it’s a tad bit late.

Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Rutherford is definitely a book I’m conflicted by. I certainly didn’t dislike reading it, but I didn’t fall in love with it, either. It’s got a great plot setup that mostly needs more character polish. I was in sync with the book’s pacing as I read, but after looking back at the full summary it boasts, I would not be surprised if other people have a dissimilar experience. The summary reveals a lot of the plot, and if you read it thoroughly beforehand, you may start to get impatient for new things to happen and actual surprises to be revealed. Speaking of, here’s a bit of that summary, so perhaps read with caution.

The daughters of Varenia, a small village constructed on the ocean, are prized for their beauty above all. The only thing that rivals their beauty is the value of the blood pearls, which the Varenians harvest and sell to the kingdom of Ilara in exchange for food, water, and other living necessities. However, the blood pearls are becoming scarce, the waters are over-fished, and it’s almost time for Ilara to choose a Varenian daughter to marry the Crown Prince. Because of the scar on her face, Nor knows that her twin sister Zadie will be chosen, but after harm befalls her, Nor is sent in her stead. Forced to live as her sister, Nor believes she will still find the freedom in Ilara that she never knew in Varenia along with a way to intercede for her home. Yet her betrothed, Prince Ceren, is as cold as his underground mountain palace, and Nor finds herself caught in a web of politics involving the royal family and her people—while harboring feelings for Ceren’s brother, Prince Talin, she should not have.

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August 2019 Book Releases

Hey, everybody! I hope your summer’s been amazing so far! (Unless you’re in a part of the world where it isn’t summer, in which case… What’s that like? I would love to stop sweating when I walk outside.)

A new month is here, so you know what that means: new book releases. What does August have in store for us?

Some incredibly promising reads, if my top pick is any indication:

the dragon republic
Release Date: August 6 | Goodreads

In the aftermath of the Third Poppy War, shaman and warrior Rin is on the run: haunted by the atrocity she committed to end the war, addicted to opium, and hiding from the murderous commands of her vengeful god, the fiery Phoenix. Her only reason for living is to get revenge on the traitorous Empress who sold out Nikan to their enemies.

With no other options, Rin joins forces with the powerful Dragon Warlord, who has a plan to conquer Nikan, unseat the Empress, and create a new Republic. Rin throws herself into his war. After all, making war is all she knows how to do.

But the Empress is a more powerful foe than she appears, and the Dragon Warlord’s motivations are not as democratic as they seem. The more Rin learns, the more she fears her love for Nikan will drive her away from every ally and lead her to rely more and more on the Phoenix’s deadly power. Because there is nothing she won’t sacrifice for her country and her vengeance.

The sequel to R.F. Kuang’s acclaimed debut THE POPPY WAR, THE DRAGON REPUBLIC combines the history of 20th-century China with a gripping world of gods and monsters, to devastating effect.

Why I Want to Read This: I read The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang last year, and it literally socked me in the face with how striking and visceral it was. I think about Rin all the time; she’s such a raw protagonist on the edge of villainy (or really, maybe no longer on the edge given how the last book ended), and I am so eager to continue her journey. Especially since I have no idea where we’re going.

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