Cover Image: Kingdom of Sea and Stone

Kingdom of Sea and Stone

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Member Reviews

This book is the conclusion to the duology, and it picks up pretty much immediately after Crown of Coral and Pearl ends, which I can appreciate.

Things have not approved for the Varenians at all. In fact they may have gotten worse. What hasn’t changed is the friendship and love between Nor and Zadie. They are both so dedicated to each other, and will fight for one another. Then there’s Zadie’s relationship with Sami and Nor’s relationship with Talin.

Legitimately the relationships of these books is the biggest selling point and the strongest aspect of this duology. I have gotten so deeply invested in the character relationships and dynamics, and because I care about the characters, I was willing to pick up this book in any free moment where I could pick up my phone and open my reading app.

This was an intense ride from pretty much the beginning. With the ending of the first book, and some of the plans that were set in motion, it just makes everything feel so much more dangerous, and there are so many hazards in place.

Obviously it is a little difficult to review this because I’m really trying not to spoil either book, so I don’t want to get into specifics or anything. But I loved all the sea-faring and diving aspects of this duology, and the lifestyle differences between the land peoples and the Varenians who live on the water.

Overall this was an interestingly built world, with fascinating characters, that all wove together into a story that I’m glad I read. That’s all I really need to say for this.
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So, we start off the sequel of CROWN OF CORAL AND PEARL right where we left off—Nor heading back home to salvage what was lost and destroyed. Trekking through the land filled with political moves and magic. Also, the bond between Nor and Zadie was way more developed. I thoroughly enjoyed their interactions. 

“I can see that mind of yours racing. I’m sorry I said anything. Being with you right here, right now, is enough.”

The character development was written well, allowing me to fulling dive into the minds of the characters. There were some times when I became confused by their actions or why they said certain things, but overall, I was happy with it. 

The novel was an easy read, most likely because I enjoyed the previous installment. Any story will magic in it makes me happy. It held my attention the entire time. I read this novel in a day, so if that doesn’t tell you how much I liked it then I don’t know what will. 

I’d have to say my least favorite part of the novel was the political schemes. I’m starting to believe that YA Fantasy has too much of the political trope. I just wish that someone would do something else with it. Change it up. How many times can we see kings, queens, or their court betray them? HOWEVER, I still enjoyed the story. 

I gave KOSAS a solid 4/5 rating. I do recommend this novel to anyone who loves YA Fantasy.
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Opening line:
"On the day Zadie and I turned thirteen, Father surprised us with a trip to the floating market--our first glimpse of the world beyond Varenia."

I'm so happy this was a duology! I don't know what I would've done if I couldn't finish Nor's story right away. That being said, another book with the same characters as secondary characters would be fantastic. 
Nor has to rescue her her hometown, people who turned their back on her. She has to stop Ceren, who is almost immortal thanks to Nor's blood, before he turns everyone, including Nor's parents, into zombie soldiers so he can protect the throne that his four year old stepsister should have. And Nor does it with her intuition, smarts, a witch and Talin. 
Nor is determined to rescue everyone on her own because she doesn't want to lose anyone else who she loves. Of course, she can't do it on her own, and by the way, does she really love Talin? Of course she does, but she has to figure it all out on her own. 

Thanks for netgalley for the early read!
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Read my full post at RhondaWithABook.com!

This sequel to Crown of Coral and Pearl has all the fairytale feeling of its predecessor, but dives even deeper into this world and explores new territory, both geographically and thematically. Nor is as fierce as ever, and her journey is full of excitement and emotional growth. I loved this! Four and a half stars.
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The first book was to die for.  Love, drama, worldbuilding, the works!  This sequel, Kingdom of Sea and Stone, did NOT disappoint!  I must read for YA and Fantasy fans!
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Kingdom of Sea and Stone is a solid follow up to Crown of Coral and Pearl, delivering an expansion of the world, good character & relationship development, interesting twists and turns, and political intrigue. As the second book of a duology, it runs the risk of being all setup and filler in preparation for the ending, but it manages to partially avoid that. I'm not sure I would say this stands on its own as a complete story, but there are enough interesting plot points and full relationship development arcs that it kept my attention.

I think my biggest problem was that even though I do love these characters I couldn't connect with them on a personal level like I did in the first book. I was super invested in the character then but this time around, I just wasn't. .To be brutally honest I really didn't care for the quest they had to go on. If I can't connect with characters I am going to have a hard time reading the book. I felt like I spent a majority of this I was dragging myself through the pages.

Like I said before, a solid end in the grand scheme of things.
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This was a satisfying conclusion to this duology. I realized what I liked so much about the first one was the concept and world building so this one didn’t hold my interest quite as much. But still enjoyed it.
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As far as sequels go, Kingdom of Sea and Stone knocks it out of the park! The character development is exquisite, and we get to finally get a sneak of the elusive people of Galeth. The mystique of these equestrian descendants of a group of Valenians who left the sea was enough to leave me wanting side stories of the Galethians. I have never loved, yet hated, a character more than Ceren. His evil, twisted reality was befitting of the tortured soul he is. I mourned right along with Nor, even though I wasn’t sure why either. I’m still 100% team Talin, but Roan was a fun tasty morsel in this book. I do have to say that I loved the tasteful addition of slight witchcraft to the plot line, and felt that it leaves so much potential for a third book or even some novella or a spin off series. The Kingdom of Ilara is truly one of the most magical, fantasy lands I have ever read. Crown of Coral and Pearl series will forever be one of my favorite Young Adult Fantasy series of all time. I highly recommend this series to anyone who loves strong female characters, twin sisters, and oceanic influences.
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4.5/5

Kingdom of Sea and Stone is a lovely sequel and ending to this wonderful series. I enjoyed the writing style, the pacing and the characters’ depths. Nor is a great character. Not preachy or perfect like some YA heroine’s can be, but a good mix of curiosity, bravery, and generosity. 

I’m not going to lie though... Ceren is and forever will be my favourite character of this series. I might have an underlying problem that I should probably get therapized for or something, but there’s just something about well-written villains that get my heartstrings going. 

The expanse of the universe was great, I’m glad that we got to see into more of the world. The lore is very interesting and I’d be excited to read a novella of future findings of Nor. 

Mara Rutherford is a marvellous writer and I cannot wait to read more of her amazing work in the future.
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I honestly was in love with the first book of this duology. The whole story grabbed my attention and would not let go. When I received and ARC for the sequel, I was thrilled. The plot was good, the characters were fleshed out enough in most cases, but other characters felt like they could have used more story line to fully get to know them. At times, the story seemed to be rushed, and other parts dragged out. The ending was also rather rushed. I believe that if the author had had the opportunity to  make this into a trilogy, this series would have been one of my top favorite YA ones out there. As it is, I do not think the author had enough space and time to make this story everything it could have been. 
Now, do not get me wrong. It was a very well written story. I enjoyed the growth of the main character and her companions and family. I just wish that we were able to get to know the new characters better. They could have main this an epic adventure... or perhaps the author will some day visit the new characters with their customs and those amazing horses and give them an adventure of their own? That could be a thrilling tale! Overall, I enjoyed this sequel, but the first one will remain my favorite.
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Kingdom of Sea and stone picks up where it left off, Nor making her way home with her twin sister Zadie. Without spoiling much, Nor’s return to her island Varenia wasn’t what she expected; she is hit with questions from her Mother. The plot comes fairly quickly when Talin comes with news on the Kingdom of Ilara, which is amazing because I don’t like books where the plot takes time to build. Nor, Zadie and Talin have to travel back in order to face what’s going on back in Ilara, There they are faced with an old enemy and have to fight for the kingdom. I absolutely loved Rutherford’s first book in this Duology “A crown made of coral and pearl”. It was my favorite read last year, and I’m glad that a Kingdom of Sea and Stone answered all the questions that Coral and Pearl left us with and it wrapped up with a nice conclusion.

A link to my blog has been added to read more .
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I've been really excited about this sequel, especially since I had many questions at the end of Crown of Coral and Pearl.  This book took me a second to get into and to re-immerse myself in this world and these characters, but once I did it was a gripping adventure.  The storyline was dramatic and the stakes were high with war on the horizon.  It had really nice pacing with a great build throughout the story.  I loved getting to see more of the world and the different cultures spread across the kingdom of Ilara.  We got a few new characters, who ended up being my favorites, and they added another level to Nor's journey.  My feelings toward Nor and Talin's romance were lukewarm after book one, and I still feel the same way after finishing this book as well.  They just didn't seem to fit together, and I found myself rooting for her to move on to someone new.  I did really enjoy the complicated relationship and bond between Nor and King Ceren, who is a great villain, and the whole plot surrounding them was creative and well crafted.  I flew through the second half of the book and was mostly satisfied with the way it ended.  This sequel did a good job of expanding on the brilliance of the first book's concept, and I think fans of Crown of Coral and Pearl will be pleased.
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This follow up to Crown of Coral and Pearl was pretty perfect! I loved how everything turned out and just how much we got to know about this world that I have fallen in love with.  I loved all the characters and how the story ended and wrapped up.  It was ended up also left open in a way that the author could totally come back and do another story.  This one had hints of humor along with the darkness of the story which made it so well rounded.  I can not wait to read something else by this author!!
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Their mom redeemed herself in this installment and I’m just so happy!

Ceren thinks that love is weakness, but what he doesn’t know, what he couldn’t understand, is that love gives you strength to fight for others without regard for yourself. Love can transcend even fear sometimes.

Because this is a sequel, my perdicament is how much can I reveal without giving away any big secrets or spoilers… Well, we still follow Nor, only this one introduces so many more characters and more of this incredible world Mara has created! Honestly, I would love to be a Galethian!

The group now goes on a journey, learning more about themselves and each other on the way. Mara has left so many new characters open for their own stories. I’d even love to read more about Nor’s next big adventure, as I’m sure there will be one, or whatever trouble she gets herself into.

“My girl, take heart. No journey worth taking was ever easy.”

What I can say is that I loved this sequel, they world felt real and I wished I had a sister like Nor. This reminds me of fantastical worlds, with magic and diversity, as well as relateability! Mara will go on my auto-buy author list after this duology…
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I had a lot of problems with this book.  While I didn't love the first, I did find the story both original and enjoyable.  However, my lack of enthusiasm ultimately meant that I had a hard time remembering much of what happened in the first and almost immediately felt lost in the story  Regardless, issues I had with the first, immediately became evident (and more pronounced) in this book.  First of all, the world building (the actual part of the first book that was interesting-at least in the first half) was pretty nondescript, to the point where the story itself was affected.  Without understanding the world that I was reading, it became hard to stay interested in the characters.  The love story, which I felt was way too obvious, convenient and boring in the first, continued in the same vein and as a central theme throughout, I found myself really tuning it, and anything to do with it, out.  In addition,  I felt like the author's decision to make the MC struggle with her feelings was her way of creating excitement, but it seemed more contrived than anything.   In fact, the way in which the MC handles the love story piece in both of these books really turned me off because she came off as pretty cold. The ending was less than satisfying, although it certainly wrapped everything up.  While I did not have huge expectations for this sequel, I was ultimately still disappointed.
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Nor has returned to her ocean village after trading places with her twin sister to go marry the future king, Ceren. Her return is short lived when the king’s brother, and her boyfriend, Talin arrives. Prince Ceren survived the knife wound that Nor thought killed him. He not only survived, but he’s now more powerful than ever. Nor, Talin, and her twin sister Zadie have to travel to find allies to fight against Ceren.

This was one of my most highly anticipated books of the year. I loved the first novel. This one moved away from the first story, since most of that tension in that book was from Nor going to the city to marry the prince. That book ended with a bang, with Nor attacking Ceren to escape, but that turned out not to be what it seemed since he survived the fatal blow.

This story had steady pacing all the way through. There weren’t many heart pounding moments until the end. I think this steady pacing was because most of the characters got what they wanted, or what they expected. There weren’t many twists like there were in the first novel.

I really enjoyed this story. I’m excited to see what Mara Rutherford writes next!

Thank you Inkyard Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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this was another great book from Ms. Rutherford, I had enjoyed the first book and this had what I was looking for in this sequel. I look forward to more from the author.
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Crown of Coral and Pearl was one of my favorite books that I read last year, I was super excited to get a chance to read an ARC of this before getting a physical copy in my hands.

**minor spoilers ahead**
At the beginning of this book, we follow Nor directly after the events in the last book, just a recap- Nor tried to kill Prince Ceren after he was holding her captive, bleeding her and drinking her blood for the healing properties caused by the blood coral. When Nor reaches safety, and the shore, she runs into her twin sister Zadie who informs her that Sami, their childhood friend, had been banished in the middle of the ocean after the villagers were angry with him for supposedly conspiring with Nor, whom the villagers think tried to kill Zadie and take her place at the palace. And as a result of Nor being at the palace and a prisoner, the village has been rationing food and water after it had been cut off by the kingdom.

With Nor home, her mission is to set things right until the Woman-King is on the throne. Her mission is to find Sami, but before she can even set out, things become complicated when Talin, the prince's half-brother and her almost-boyfriend, visit her village to warn her of some troubling news.

Any more than that and I will spoil the rest of the book. 
If you were disappointed in the lack of magic in the first book then say no more, in the sequel we have a witch that helps Nor to practice blood magic. There are lots of travel and adventure scenes, politics, new characters, difficult struggles, a war ready to spill over, and a formidable foe to defeat. 

And through this all Nor is amazing. She is easily one of my favorite YA characters. Her strength and bravery make me envious, but she just a super relatable character even though our circumstances are incredibly different. Oh, and the romance between her and Talin is very much simmering away, I really enjoyed it, although at times it was a little frustrating. 

I actually liked the villain in this novel, Prince Ceren, I think he was incredibly well done and such an interesting character, especially with the addition of the myths and blood magic.

Although this was a really great novel, it was well-paced with tender moments and really fast-paced and heart-pounding moments, I didn’t love it as much as the first novel. I still got all the same feels and vibes as I did from the first and still really love this series as a whole, I just think the ending was a little weak and much slower paced than I would’ve liked. I think the author may have struggled to find a way to end the series after such a huge battle scene.

4-4.5 stars. 

I still highly recommend the series as a whole, especially if you are looking for a book with a strong female lead and a great sister relationship.

**ARC provided by Inkyard Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Initial Thoughts

I really enjoyed Crown of Coral and Pearl when I read it last year. It was one of the first books I was approved for in NetGalley and I actually met Mara Rutherford at BookCon last year. When I read Crown of Coral and Pearl, the sequel had not been announced so one of the things I wanted to see was a sequel. I’m so glad I got it!

Some Things I Liked

New setting. While I loved the watery setting of Crown of Coral and Pearl, I welcomed the change in Kingdom of Sea and Stone. I really enjoyed exploring more of the world described in the first book.
New side characters. Again, another welcome addition. I loved Roan and was really hoping for more of him. But, that being said, I think there are several characters in this series that could merit their own spin-off stories.
Character growth and unsureness. I loved Nor’s development throughout the story. Particularly, I loved seeing how she was unsure of what she wanted. I loved that this story promoted the message that it’s totally ok to be unsure of the future and what you want.

One Thing I Wasn’t Crazy About

While I welcomed the introduction of new characters and the new settings, they felt a bit rushed. I wanted to get to know these additions to the story more and I felt that this could have been a better trilogy than duology. It would have given the author more time to flesh out the story.

Series Value

I was so bummed after reading Crown of Coral and Pearl and not knowing if there would be a sequel. I’m so glad there ended up being one. Furthermore, I really loved the side characters in this series and would love to see more of their adventures.

Lastly, I love Mara Rutherford’s writing. I would definitely keep reading her books in the future.

Final Thoughts

I really enjoyed this book. I think it was an excellent follow up to a debut novel with a unique setting and dynamic characters.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Recommendations for Further Reading

The Princess in the Opal Mask by Jenny Lundquist – if you enjoyed the idea of a duology, twins, and a fight for the throne, try this series.
Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian – if you enjoyed the idea of a tyrant king and a main character who would stop at nothing to stop him, try this finished trilogy.
The Kinder Poison by Natalie Mae – if you liked the idea of a troubled villain who you can almost feel sorry for (and dare I say it, but, almost root for), try this new release.
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This book was almost a solid follow-up to Crown of Coral and Pearl (I rated book one 4 stars and this one 3). It was nice to be immersed in this world again. I have to say, though, I’m a little disappointed, but we’ll get to that in a minute. First:

Some good things

- Fast-paced read
- Interesting world-building (though not as good as book one)
- Roan – honestly he was more exciting than Talin
- Titania the horse – love a good animal companion
- Nor’s struggle with what she wants (vs what Talin wants)

This book was pretty quick and easy to get through and held my attention most of the time.

Some not so great things

The plot felt pretty weak. There’s a lot going on, but not enough time give everything what it deserves. None of the BIG THINGS feel very big. There aren’t a whole lot of twists happening and the war in general falls flat. Slowing down and really delving into the politics of what’s going on (plus the people. There was a focus on politics here, but not really in reference to real people) and how it affects Nor would make this a lot more interesting to read.

One of two things would have made this series stronger as a whole. First, a stronger, more satisfying ending to book one and leave it at that. A lot of what was happening here just wasn’t very solid. However, honestly, as strange as it sounds, I really think this duology could have benefited from slowing things down and making it a trilogy. The relationship between Nor, Talin, and Ceren feels veeeery Red Queen. And even though I didn’t love the Red Queen series past book one, I can admit that Mare’s complicated relationship with Maven specifically was really well done and left a lot of people loving it. I feel like there wasn’t time—or even if there was, Rutherford didn’t utilize that time well—to really connect with all of the characters and their relationships. There was just the barest hint at humanity from Ceren between the two books and I think with a bit more depth, Nor and Ceren’s relationship could have been even better. By the end of this book (which, I will say, I am not a fan of Ceren’s ending), we’re supposed to believe (I think) that Ceren actually has some semblance of feelings for Nor? And I am just not seeing it. OH. And their weird Darkling-esque connection just did not make sense to me.

Which brings me to another point: the magic was not well thought out and executed. I’m find with just being told magic exists and that being that, but here it just did not work. I loved the more subtle version of magic in book one, with the coral and pearls, but in this one, with the addition of the bloodstones and especially the blood magic, it was just too much and I have a hard time believing it.

Overall, the first book was enjoyable. This book held my attention, but just was not well executed. I would read Mara Rutherford again, but I wouldn’t rank this among my favorites.
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