ARC Review of Coral by Sara Ella

I received an e-ARC of Coral by Sara Ella!

“I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.”

So for those who haven’t heard of Coral, coming out in December ’19, here is a quick blurb:

Taking a new twist on Hans Christian Andersen’s beloved—yet tragic—tale, “The Little Mermaid,” Coral explores mental health from multiple perspectives, questioning what it means to be human in a world where humanity often seems lost.

There is more than one way to drown.

Coral has always been different, standing out from her mermaid sisters in a society where blending in is key. Worse yet, she fears she has been afflicted with the dreaded Disease, said to be carried by humans—emotions. Can she face the darkness long enough to surface in the light?

Above the sea, Brooke has nothing left to give. Depression and anxiety have left her feeling isolated. Forgotten. The only thing she can rely on is the numbness she finds within the cool and comforting ocean waves. If only she weren’t stuck at Fathoms—a new group therapy home that promises a second chance at life. But what’s the point of living if her soul is destined to bleed?

Merrick may be San Francisco’s golden boy, but he wants nothing more than to escape his controlling father. When his younger sister’s suicide attempt sends Merrick to his breaking point, escape becomes the only option. If he can find their mom, everything will be made right again—right?

When their worlds collide, all three will do whatever it takes to survive, and Coral might even catch a prince in the process. But what—and who—must they leave behind for life to finally begin?

 

My Review:

☆☆☆☆☆ / 5 Stars

 

Coral interested me for two reasons:

  1. I wanted to see how well it handled the topics of depression and suicide.
  2. Mermaids are cool. (Have you not seen my Instagram?)

Clearly, one reason is more adult than the other. Did I feel like I got what I came for? Yes, because hello, MERMAIDS.

Okay, slightly more serious talk now.

I’d call Coral a hard-hitting contemporary with an essence of magical realism. In real life I’m close to people who struggle with these sorts of problems and so I felt the topics were handled well in the story and it was insightful.

The story has three points of view it jumps between, Merrick, Brooke and Coral (the mermaid). All three POVs seem unrelated at first and so the book does require some patience, it’s not massively fast-paced but a story that lets you get to know the characters and makes you root for them to solve their problems.

Coral is our fantasy element, a mermaid who is worried to feel because that’s not what mermaids do.

Merrick is struggling to mend his broken family, or at least the pieces he cares about and tries to do the best he can.

Brooke is struggling with depression and perhaps the hardest point of view to read but the people she meets throughout makes it so much more rewarding to read about as we see how they affect her as a character.

Overall the story comes together like a puzzle, which makes it a fulfilling read at the end. I loved it by the end, it’s one of those novels that’s a journey. Sara Ella handled the topics brought up well. I seriously loved the book quotes Hope and Brooke share, they’re from modern stories like Divergent and it made the characters feel more modern and rooted in the real world.

 

 


On another note, why is this blog a little quiet?

I’m mainly active on Instagram as Ensworldofwords. I talk about bookish things nearly daily and take loads of pics, so go take a look! I’m updating my blog when I read mostly ARCs and updates about my own novels.

Love the mermaid featured? It’s a custom by UndertheSeaCrochet on Etsy. You can also find more examples of her work on Instagram. Use ENSWORLD15 to save on a mer of your own! 🙂

The Gilded Wolves Review – is it too early to say this is my favourite book of 2019?

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RATING: a roller coaster ride that ripped my heart out and then devoured my soul. Would read again and the rest. It’s a trilogy and I can’t believe I have wait an undetermined amount of time for the next book!

I’m on the hunt for new series that will destroy me since Throne of Glass and The Dark Artifices ended (because isn’t that what normal people do?). I think I’ve found it in this series! It’s like Six of Crows but with less ruthless deeds and more Glamour and magical wonder. And riddles. There are also little diagrams in the book of them, which is a nice touch.

It’s also got that ragtag misfit crew going on – another similarity to Six of Crows.

Severin is our dark and brooding leader who wants what is rightfully his.

Laila the beautiful girl, who loves baking, taking care of the group, but is also a clairvoyant and has a mysterious past.

Zofia the logician, who also likes fire a little too much. She’s also autistic and I thought Roshani portrayed that very well.

Enrique our historian, who I sympathise with so much because while he isn’t magical he studies palimpsest, records and objects. (Things to do with archives and manuscripts warm the cockles of my heart.)

Tristan the cute little nugget who loves tending his garden and a rather large tarantula.

And Hypnos, who is fabulous and maybe helping and maybe not.

I usually dislike books with multiple POVs but it switched between all the characters and I loved them all. I’ve never read any other of Roshani’s books but I loved The Gilded Wolves from the descriptions of 19th century Paris to the banter between the characters. This is definitely a must-read if you’re a fan of YA fantasy.

The Wicked King Book Review

I succumbed to the hype around The Wicked King by Holly Black last week and picked up a copy. It’s getting 5 stars left right and centre, but also some threes and harsh comments. Why?

It’s mostly down to Cardan and Jude’s relationship. A lot of people are in love with their crude relationship and I too, found it interesting and drew me in to reading further. But most of the people docking stars from the book is because of Jude and Cardan’s relationship and the message that they worry it could bring across to younger readers. YA is after all aimed at roughly fourteen to eighteen year olds and those on the younger scale could think the toxic relationship depicted is okay – their reasoning not so much mine.

But The Wicked King doesn’t really say hey, this is alright. The ending to the story (which I won’t go in to further detail) does not in anyway make the reader think the choices made lead to good consequences. So, I wouldn’t say the Folk of the Air series idolises toxic relationships, if that’s a worry. It’s definitely not a good relationship, but it’s interesting.

I gave it 4 stars. Mostly, because I found Jude irritating. I loved the ride this book took me on but I didn’t love Jude’s stupid decision making. I get she was in over her head and could I have done any better? Probably not. But I wanted her to rely on someone anyone. In hindsight I feel a little harsh giving it this rating as it’s definitely a book I’d reread.

I also can’t wait for the next instalment of the series! What were your thoughts? What did you think of The Wicked King?


 

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Also I know this blog has been a little bit quiet as of late and that may have been because I’ve enjoyed starting my less eloquent Bookstagram, a little too much.  I’m @ensworldofwords. DM I’d love to hear your thoughts on anything bookish 🙂

 

Renegade by Mallory McCartney ~ Review

I got free copy on NetGalley in exchange for a review.

This book is a prequel to Black Dawn that came out earlier this year. I’ve never enjoyed reading prequels as they were meant to be read and always found myself loving the prequels when I hadn’t read the main series first. I think the Assassin’s Blade is the only exception to this for me. Renegade followed that rule as I loved the novel as story of itself and plan to read Black Dawn soon. I would rate this novel….

★★★★

Renegade by Mallory McCartney

Image result for renegade mallory mccartney

Six years before the Black Dawn Rebellion, Adair Stratton and Emory Fae are following in their parent’s footsteps and living at The Academy, a home for those who are gifted. The pressure to uphold the future of their parent’s dream falls on them. An outcast and feared by most, Adair longs to break away from the expectations dictating his future. Even if Emory tries to make him see differently. An unexpected group of friends keep him there, but as whispers of unexplained disappearances start reaching from the capital, Adair starts to doubt The Academy is all it seems.

An unexpected visit ignites new tensions as the roguish king from across the Black Sea, Tadeas Maher of the Shattered Isles, and his heir, Marquis Maher sail to Kiero. Notorious for their pirating and wrath- for the first time in years, they demand the Fae’s listen to their proposition for a new treaty, holding the news of Nei’s father’s abrupt death over them. Caught in the middle of politics- Adair and Emory, with the help of their best friends Brokk and Memphis search for the one thing that matters most- finding out the truth.

 

Why I loved this book:

  • The world was rich and full of magic, which left me wanting to know how it worked and how everything was linked. I liked the idea of the teens searching for answers on their own, it had this Harry Potter like charm. And I especially liked Emory’s cunning, which also showed it was something they all did often.
  • There was mystery to this magic filled world that the characters were unaware. I liked the fact we got to discover it (and its evil sides) with the characters.
  • It had a cute magic school vibe, but teamed with the fact the characters were so in tune with their surroundings so it was also a little ‘break out of their surroundings’, which I loved.
  • If you have heard anything about Black Dawn then you’ll probably know Renegade is about how a villain becomes one, I kinda found this out after researching hesitantly. I didn’t let myself know who would be the villain and this made it an even more interesting read as I spent a while guessing. The three guys; Memphis, Adair and Brokk all could have swung that way at different times and really hammered in the idea their choices defined them. I loved this.

Image result for the internet is dark and full of spoilers

The doom and gloom – Negative Points:

  • I think there were maybe two scenes that had Emory’s point of view and I fell in love with her voice instantly. So this makes me really want to read Black Dawn but also made me wish I would hear more from her in the prequel.
  • I didn’t like Brokk, in the beginning I really dreaded hitting his point of view. He struck me as a bit too whiny, but I found I grew to stand him later as he matured and had to face things.
  • Lastly, I struggled to keep up with a few of the fight scenes. I re-read certain parts to see if I missed something but I still couldn’t seem to work out how some characters or their magic moved from one place to another. I get it that battle is hectic and all that but it took me out of the story as I struggled to work this out.

 

Overall it definitely makes me want to pick up Black Dawn!