This was a book that had a lot of potential, and could have been a really, really good story. It had a unique plot, a main protagonist that I could actually get behind, and all the makings of my Next Favorite Book. There were just too many words that got in the way, unfortunately.
Merrin Smith, an orphan, has never felt like she belonged anywhere. However, she has always felt a strange connection to Evangeline Dahl, the proprietress of the Goodnight Mermaid. So when Evangeline goes missing, Merrin decides that she will be part of the group that finds her... even if it means pretending to be a man and joining the crew of the mysterious Captain Winters. Throughout her journey, Merrin will discover the truth about herself, her family, and the world around her--because nothing is as it seems.
I really did like the direction that this book was going in, especially because there were several moments when I went "hey, that was actually pretty cool/unique/awesome." Merrin, the protagonist, is actually quite independent and resourceful, and doesn't need a man to help her survive (there is a man but... see paragraph below). She can hold her own, defend herself, and do all of the things without having her hand held. So that made me happy. And the plot of the book was actually quite original despite some of the quibbles I had about it, and I genuinely wanted to know what was going to happen next, who was going to survive, etc.
I had 3 main issues with this book: the wordiness, the romance, and Pirates of the Caribbean. This book could have been amazing, but there were just too many description chunks that distracted from the story, and I could feel my attention drifting. This was honestly what made it hard for me to finish the book, since I couldn't quite focus on the story. The romance also bothered me because I feel like this story would have flowed perfectly without one, and the introduction and development of the romance seemed forced and awkward. As for the Pirates of the Caribbean... this may be unfair to this particular book, as my entire knowledge of Davy Jones and all that come from those (amazing) movies, but there were several plot points or descriptions that seemed a little too similar to the Pirates franchise for my liking. Maybe they aren't connected at all, but it detracted from the otherwise unique setting and story.
Overall this book had a ton of potential, it just fell a tad short mostly because of the excessive descriptions provided in the text. The plot itself was interesting, the characters were interesting, and there definitely were some points where I felt drawn into the story. It was the words that got in the way.
The Isle of Gold is slated for release on October 9th, 2018.
Disclaimer: I received an eARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way affected my feelings towards, review of, or opinions on the book.