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Sunday, November 5, 2017

#allthebookreviews: Sea of Doubt by Jeremy D. Holden @smithpublicity @jeremydholden

Sea of Doubt
by Jeremy D. Holden
Smith Publicity


Thank you to Smith Publicity for these copies in return for our honest reviews! 
And a special thank you to the author for my signed copy. 💖

After leaving behind a brilliant, but emotionally exhausting career in advertising, Mal Thomas wants nothing more than to enjoy the peace and serenity of the home he and his wife share in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. That serenity is interrupted when, seemingly out of nowhere, Mal gets a call that pulls him back into his old world, and on a path to undertaking an extraordinary assignment: Alfredo Baptiste, the world's most powerful and mysterious industrialist wants Mal to promote the alleged second coming of the Messiah. As Mal and his team of cynical "Mad" men and women confront their own doubts about the validity of Baptiste's seemingly ridiculous claim that his adopted son Sebastian is this new Messiah, they can't resist the challenge, and find themselves thrust into a world of greed and revenge. In a fast moving and often sardonic narrative that crisscrosses New York, North Carolina, Miami, and Buenos Aires, Sea of Doubt has its roots in our endless obsession with fame and pop-culture. As Mal's team develops an unstoppable global campaign, a worldwide media feeding frenzy ensues, causing people to set aside all logic and reason, leading to tragic consequences. Baptiste's motivation is ultimately revealed in a twisted and unexpected ending as parallel worlds and a seismic conspiracy explode in an ending that will make you wonder how you didn't see it coming earlier. Sea of Doubt provides a window into human nature and media driven mass persuasion, forcing us to look at consequences of the choices we make. Ultimately Holden shows us how belief in ourselves is what really matters. You will laugh out loud at the absurdity of the challenges that Mal and his team find themselves confronted with, while at the same time being forced to examine the role we all play in enabling the media to shape our thinking, and dictate our lives.

My Thoughts:

I admit I walked into this book a bit doubtful as I'm not big on anything that has to deal with religion as I feel there are few novels that have held my interest in this category - Book of Judas, The DaVinci Code... but these are typically more in the mystery and thriller category with religion sprinkled in that held my interest.  I was definitely interested in how this team would find a way using today's social media to promote the second coming of the Messiah. I mean, whaaaaaaaaaaaat?!  Intriguing!  Social Media is so huge in this day and age for advertising, politics, religion, bullying, self worth... I could go on and on at how much this resonates in our every day life.  

The author spends a lot of the time character building.  I felt most of the book was spent on building each character than it really was on the plot itself.  Which isn't a bad thing for the first book in a series.  He didn't over do it either.  Time went by quickly in these characterizations as we get a full feel for backgrounds and why they are where they are now and how they came to the decision to take on this challenge.  I, like Mal, am a highly skeptical person but the author does a good job in showing how this could be possible and as Mal starts to question himself, so do I start to question myself.  

I'm SO torn in how I feel about this book.  The premise is unique and interesting and I was with the author for the majority of the book and then that ending.  Definitely did NOT expect THAT.  It did feel a bit rushed and out of left field and I had to reread certain parts to make sure I was reading it correctly.  I'm half happy that it went in that direction but half frustrated that if he was going to go in that direction, he had to take it that far with a twist that didn't make a whole lot of sense.... but yet that I still appreciated. AHHHH!  With that, I have to take the middle ground here for my rating.  I am definitely curious though where he goes with Mal in the next book, Valley of Time... and so I'm going in now!

3 Stars.

Jessica's Thoughts:

I did a partner read on this one, and I went into it skeptical like Chandra did. The religious overtones usually aren't my favorite, but there have been some exceptions to that rule. SEA OF DOUBT by Jeremy Holden incorporates social media and advertising into the second coming of the Messiah. Personally, when authors incorporate the use of social media into their stories I'll always be interested. It's so prevalent today and I love seeing how authors will weave a story with it. 

Mal Thomas has left his successful and exhausting career in advertising so that he can enjoy his home with his wife in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. One day, all of this peace is ruined when he's called back into the advertising world to help with an extraordinary assignment. Alfredo Baptiste, a powerful industrialist, wants Mal to advertise the second coming of the Messiah. Despite their doubts, his team can't resist taking on this challenge. Little did they know they were soon going to cause a media frenzy that causes everyone to throw aside logic and reasoning - something that will soon end in tragic consequences. 

I will say that Holden does a great job building the characters. I felt like Mal was the easiest to connect with - I'd be just as skeptical. Knowing that this is book one in a series I did appreciate the amount of character development. Don't think this is only focused on the characters and not the plot, but the focus tends to stay there.

This was a fast read. I was enjoying it and then ending hits you. Like my partner-in-reading, I'm incredibly torn about it. The end came out of nowhere! There was one hell of a twist and I'm not sure if I'm frustrated with it or happy with it. I feel like I can't say much more about it without giving away the bulk of the story, but I am ready to see where book two, VALLEY OF TIME, takes us!

I give this one 3/5 stars!

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