Title: Kingdom of Sea and Stone
Author: Mara Rutherford
Pub. Date: October 6, 2020
Ever since Nor was forced to go to a nearby kingdom in her sister’s place, she’s wanted nothing more than to return to the place and people she loves. But when her wish comes true, she soon finds herself cast out from both worlds, with a war on the horizon.
As an old enemy resurfaces more powerful than ever, Nor will have to keep the kingdom from falling apart with the help of Prince Talin and Nor’s twin sister, Zadie. There are forces within the world more mysterious than any of them ever guessed—and they’ll need to stay alive long enough to conquer them…
This will be a spoiler free review. Thank you to NetGalley and InkYard Press for the free copy in exchange for an honest review. I’m thrilled to be a part of the Blog Tour for Kingdom of Sea and Stone. Crown of Coral and Pearl was an instant favorite when I read it last year, and I’ve been anxiously awaiting this sequel!
It’s been quite a while since I read Crown of Coral and Pearl, so it took a minute to get back into the world. I liked how it starts off right where the first book ended, so we haven’t missed anything. I was instantly reminded of why I like Nor and I really enjoyed her internal struggles.
Yeah, maybe that sounds weird, but it’s super relatable! How many teenage/young adult girls struggle with the same thoughts? What we want in life? Should we want what’s deemed “proper” or what our heart calls for us to do?
If I hadn’t already liked Nor, I would have immediately found her as a kindred spirit. And as far as her and Zadie’s relationship – it’s still one of my favorite aspects of this duology. They’re there for each other, them against the world. There are moments where Zadie knows Nor better than Nor knows herself and it just further proves how strong the bond between them is.
As for Nor’s relationship with Talin – I was left a little disappointed. He’s loyal and compassionate towards her to a fault and I kind of wish that they’d had it out. I really just wanted them to be upfront early on, and Nor really wasn’t. The beginning of their relationship was anything but normal, so it makes sense that there are some bumps and hiccups along the way.
I’m in such a romance heavy mood that maybe I’m judging this a tad unfairly, but I just wanted more. I wanted more from the both of them. But overall, I enjoyed their cute moments together, and how willing Talin was to be patient.
His mommy issues on the other hand – eh. They were a tad annoying but watching him become a real leader – super satisfying. I just wish the romance had been more.
As for Ceren. The boy has some issues. He’s evil, he’s not good, but having more information as to why he is the way he is…I kind of felt for him. Just a little bit. I think that’s a brilliant sign of an amazing writer. When they can get you to care about even the worst of humanity, they’ve done their job perfectly.
I really enjoyed the fact that we get to see more of the world – an expansion of what we already know. I’m always a sucker for when worlds expand. As much as I thoroughly love the ocean magic vibe from book one, any fantasy book that has scenes of the character traveling through the woods on the run – I’m 100% trash for. That’s my shit and I love it and in that regard this book does not disappoint. I think Mara does a pretty good job at bringing it to life. I could easily picture everything and that’s always a wonderful thing.
The ending wrapped up a little too cleanly, but it was still satisfying. This is definitely going on my list of favorite duologies. I love what Mara did with these books and I highly recommend them. If you want to get swept away and fall in love with a story – then you need to check out Crown of Coral and Pear and then read this sequel. I kind of wish I’d reread COCAP before diving into this one – just as a refresher – but after a few pages it was as if I’d never left the world. I can easily see myself re-reading these books down the line. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I read Crown of Coral and Pearl and I’m so glad I took the chance, because otherwise, I would have missed out on Nor’s journey.
About the author
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 with her marine-turned-diplomat husband. A triplet born on Leap Day, Mara holds a master’s degree in cultural studies from the University of London. When she’s not writing or chasing after her two sons, she can usually be found pushing the boundaries of her comfort zone, whether at a traditional Russian banya or an Incan archaeological site. Mara is a former Pitch Wars mentee and three-time mentor
Author website: https://www.mararutherford.com/