ARC REVIEW! - The Isle of Gold
The Isle of Gold
By Seven Jane
Publication Date: October 9, 2018
Genre: Adult, General Fiction, Historical Fiction
An orphan disguised as a pirate sets sail for a mystical island in hopes of unraveling the mysteries of her past.
The year is 1716—the Golden Age of Pirates. An orphan who sleeps in the dusty kitchens of a quayside brothel, Merrin Smith is desperate to unravel the secrets of her past and find the truth about the events that brought her to the Caribbean island of Isla Perla as a child. Disguised as a sailor, and with the help of her longtime friend Claudette, Merrin joins the crew of the pirate ship Riptide, helmed by the notorious Captain Erik Winters. Tenacious and rumored a madman, Winters is known as much for his ruthlessness as for his connection to the enigmatic and beautiful proprietress of the Goodnight Mermaid, Evangeline Dahl, who vanished from Isla Perla two summers before.
At sunset the Riptide sails for the mythical island of Bracile, a place hidden between air and sea and that exists only for a moment every two years, and which has never returned any man who has sailed for its shores. The journey will be perilous and long, and it will take Merrin far away from the only home she’s ever known. Because she can read, Merrin will serve as the Captain’s apprentice, deciphering old texts for clues to the island’s whereabouts as the ship sails through haunted, frozen waters and into the very heart of the ocean. As she struggles to navigate the rough, seafaring life aboard a pirate ship, Merrin must keep her identity hidden from the scrupulous gaze of not only Captain Winters, but also Mister Brandon Dunn, the ship’s surly, legend-spouting quartermaster, and Tom Birch, the charming boatswain Merrin can’t help but feel drawn to.
As the Riptide makes its way to Bracile, Merrin begins to suspect that the men she has worked so hard to deceive may in fact be more connected to her than she would have imagined, and that perhaps her own past might have more to do with the Dunn’s legends and myths than she ever could have guessed.
In The Isle of Gold [Black Spot Books, October 9, 2018] Merrin Smith must face perilous waters, cursed sea goddesses, and the embodiments of some of the ocean’s most terrifying legends as she not only struggles to survive her journey, but to find the answers to the mysteries of her past.
A story where history meets fantasy, The Isle of Gold is an epic, emotional adventure of two women—one desperate to save herself, and the other determined to be rescued—and the secret which binds them together.
Seven Jane is an author of dark fantasy and speculative fiction. She also regularly writes short stories and poetry that is published in various literary magazines. Seven is a member of The Author's Guild and Women's Fiction Writing Association. She lives in New England.
Review & Wrap-Up:
When I first was notified by NetGalley that Black Spot Books had granted me permission to read The Isle of Gold I was ecstatic! The cover and synopsis of this book pulled me in right away, and I couldn't wait to get my hands on it! I was also incredibly bummed because I had several other book review deadlines that I had already been given from other entities, that I had to put this one on hold for a while.
Finally, my reading schedule slowed down (however, only by a smidge!) enough that I finally could sit down with this high anticipated book! However, now that I've read it, I have mixed thoughts, feelings and reviews about it. Was it worth the hype I was giving it?
In short: yes, and here's why:
I have found that I really enjoy stories about pirates. I've never read a pirate story until I read the Rogue Elegance trilogy by KA Dowling (you can find my review for it here), but here I am, I've read yet another and I'm looking forward to getting to pick up my next! There is just something different about an epic adventure on the high seas that you don't get from one that takes place on land. Maybe that's because its such a different and alien world to me? I don't know, but I do thoroughly enjoy them!
The amount of imagery that Seven Jane puts into this novel is amazing. She really knows how to paint a picture for you! My most favorite examples of her imagery was not of the depictions of the way people or places looked, but of their behaviors:
"Their love, it was said, was ardent and dangerous, the sort that would compel one to hold a knife to their lover's neck while kissing with such passion that the edges of their blades cut at their own throats."
"He was waiting for something, what I couldn't tell, but I imagined it was for the moment that the ocean would swallow us whole and lead us to an island that was not charted on any map and could never be found in the same place twice, and had never returned any man that had sailed for its shores."
But more than the imagery and the fact that the story is about pirates, I enjoyed the story of Merrin Smith: an orphan who hides her identity to join the crew of the Riptide to sail the seas. She was a sensible and smart girl, although a bit naive, that really grows into a beautiful woman who stands up for her beliefs. A very enjoyable story.
My only complaints about the entire book, and hence the mixed thoughts, feelings and reviews:
- The story drug in several places. While I loved the imagery, it sometimes got in the way of the story. So much so at times I would find myself pages ahead and not know what had happened (if anything) because I would find my mind wondering while going through the motions of reading.
- Because of this drag, there was a very slow build. All of the action happens within that last few chapters (Part III).
- I still have a million unanswered questions. And I'm sure most readers will. While the book didn't end like there will be a sequel, I hope that there is one and that it answers most, if not all, of those questions. Many of them Merrin asks herself during the story, but never receives any answers. This was very frustrating.
I greatly enjoy The Isle of Gold. There are a few qualms, but overall, I found it to be an exciting new adventure, complete with some old friends (such as Davy Jones) and some new ones I hope to get to know better in the future.
From one bookaholic to another, I hope I’ve helped you find your next fix.
Dani's Score out of 5: 📚📚📚📚
Have a book you’d like to suggest or one you’d like me to review? Please feel free to leave your comments down below.