#EnterTheFantastic as #JorieReads this #WyrdAndWonder | Book Review of “Sea of Lost Souls” by Emerald Dodge a story which echoes why I loved #Mythothon!

Posted Thursday, 23 May, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

#WyrdAndWonder Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: Earlier this Spring, I participated in an event uniting book bloggers and Indie Authors called #ReviewPit. One of the authors I discovered during this event was Emerald Dodge – her s/o about the novel on Twitter was most enticing (see also tweet) because I have a soft spot for Urban Fantasy! In fact it is one of my #mostread niches of Speculative Fiction! When I dug deeper into the plot for her story (via our private convos ahead of my acceptance to review the novel)

I was seeking stories during #ReviewPit which caught my eye for their uniqueness but also what was quite lovely is how most of the stories which intrigued me to read were actually within the realms of Fantasy! I found this wicked interesting and it is why I was thankful during #WyrdAndWonder Year 2 I could continue to celebrate my love of Indie Authors & Indie Publishers and Press!

I received a complimentary copy of “Sea of Lost Souls” direct from the author Emerald Dodge in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

I happily found #UrbanFanatsy & Mythos
uniting together during #ReviewPit:

When I first learnt of the #bookishTwitter event #ReviewPit, I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect – I keep a watchful eye on twitterverse events where writers are seeking betareaders or where authors are seeking publication (ie. #PitchWars, etc) as I generally find #newtomeauthors this way and I do like to champion the writers who are on their path towards becoming published as this is something I can personally relate to as I’m a writer whose currently moonlighting as a book blogger and joyful tweeter! It is lovely to reach out into the Indie community on Twitter and continue to seek out the stories I desire to be reading. Ever since I first started blogging here at Jorie Loves A Story, I’ve had an eye out for Indie Press, Publishers and the writers who are seeking alternative publication – either through the Indie side of publishing directly through established publishers and press; or through Small Trade publishers or taking the full-Indie route into Self-Publishing or Hybrid publishing options.

This is what made #ReviewPit such a keen event for me – I decided to just jump into it and see what I would find. It is run similar to other events where you get a pitch about a story and you are given a clue of a nod towards its genre of interest. I quite literally had such a wicked joy just scrolling through all the lovelies being offered, I wasn’t entirely sure how many would be available to receive as print editions for review but I decided to give myself the chance to just seek out the authors first and request which ones were available lateron.

Sea of Lost Souls was resplendent of my joy in participating in #Mythothon last November! I had a good feeling about this novel when I first learnt of it – something about its premise just felt like it was going to become a cherished reading of mine and wait til you see how right I was in that assessment as I share my ruminations with you!

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

Notation on Cover Art Design:

I love how the art on the cover feels dimensional! You really feel like you know the sensation of your hair underwater as your swimming with an orb to guide your way? I love swimming underwater due to the disconnection you have with the surface and how everything under the surface feels like its own unique world. Imagine of course if you quantitate that by what you’d find in the depths of the ocean itself?

#EnterTheFantastic as #JorieReads this #WyrdAndWonder | Book Review of “Sea of Lost Souls” by Emerald Dodge a story which echoes why I loved #Mythothon!Sea of Lost Souls
Subtitle: She Died... And Then Her Life Began | Oceanus Series, Book One
by Emerald Dodge
Source: #ReviewPit Author, Direct from Author

Freedom lies on the open sea. Danger lies within it.

Rachel Goldstein dreams of the vast oceans, and her job in the Navy seems to offer her everything she’d ever hoped for. Her heart seeks adventure, but her mind is still ashore, where the last time she saw her parents, they had a fight that left everyone in tears. She wants reconciliation… which becomes impossible when she dies in a tragic aviation accident aboard her aircraft carrier.

When she wakes up aboard a ghost ship, her new shipmates offer Rachel her only chance to seize adventure again, and she knows what she must do. Aboard this impressive and fearsome vessel is her opportunity to find new freedom — if she can survive it. The ghostly high seas are fraught with danger, from devious officers to murderous pirates. And lurking underneath it all is Scylla, the mythological monster set to destroy anyone who encroaches on her aquatic territory.

Normally ready for anything, Rachel will have to find out if she’s stronger than her enemies and the beasts that lie below the waves. And at the end of it all, can she pierce the veil of death and reach through to the world of the living, and to her parents?

Fans of K.F. Breene’s paranormal fantasy, Greek mythology, and Jessica Jones will love the action-packed nautical fantasy of Emerald Dodge’s Sea of Lost Souls! Pick up your copy and join the crew today!

Genres: Fantasy Fiction, Mythological Fantasy, Stories of the FAE, Urban Fantasy, Military Fiction, Nautical Fiction, War Drama

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781732283039

Published by Self Published

on 1st March, 2019

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 254

This is a self-published novel.

The stories of the Oceanus series:

Sea of Lost Souls (book one)

House of the Setting Sun (book two) ← forthcoming!

Valley of the Shadow (book three) ← forthcoming!

Crown of Sorrows (prequel novelette) ← forthcoming!

Formats Available: Trade Paperback and Ebook

About Emerald Dodge

Emerald Dodge

Emerald is a Navy wife, mother of two boys, and proud bibliophile. She grew up in Northern Virginia and moved to Virginia Beach, Virginia in her teens. It was there that she met her husband, Mr. Dodge, a naval nuclear electrician. They hit it off right away, and now they're experiencing the trials and adventures of parenting together.

In her spare time she likes to cook, go on walks, watch television (especially anything about the Tudors or British monarchy), and study esthetics. She'd love to become a certified esthetician one day.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

ahead of accepting my #reviewpit selections I enquired about the stories:

Whenever I am about to read a #newtomeauthor, I like to get a feel for their writing style and how they are approaching their genre of interest. It is part of my due diligence as a reader and as a book blogger – however, I do not always have the pleasure nor luxury of interacting with an author directly ahead of accepting a novel for review consideration. This is why the event #ReviewPit is such a wicked lovely idea – as it encourages direct communication between the novelist and the book blogger and/or reviewer.

I have the same general questions about all the STORIES I am keenly interested in reading – this was the series of questions I asked on behalf of Emerald Dodge who happily gave me a lovely response in return:

When I read part of the chapter sampler I found a quote from the Bible — is this considered a work of INSPY Spectulative Fiction? Meaning Inspirational Fiction’s subgenre? OR is it referring to the fact this is a clean read even if outside that bracket? By clean, I mean free of explicit vulgarity, graphic violence and overtly sensual scenes?

IF so, I know going in I won’t have any triggers to worry about and can simply read the story without an potential alarm bells.

It’s nice to meet another reader who feels as I do about vulgar language and adult content. Both series of mine deal with extraordinarily mature themes and subjects (the Battlecry series is about cults, and all the abuse therein), but I always try to tread lightly when deciding what to show on the page. I allow some swearing in moments of high emotion, but never b*tch, c**t, or f*ck. Those three words are my hard limits. Everything else is used sparingly. I’m even stricter about sexuality: all sex scenes must happen off-page, and they are never described beyond beige phrases like, “We had sex.”

I chose the epigraph for two reasons: my main character, Rachel, is a practicing Jew who would’ve known it, and the scripture itself makes reference to Leviathan, which is a nickname of the US Navy. It seemed an appropriate choice. Sea of Lost Souls is rated PG-13 for non-graphic violence and light profanity (no f-bombs in my writing, ever). I would say it’s akin to a Marvel superhero movie.

I love to delve deep into mythology and fantasy, and this entire series will be an adventure in that broad playground.

To which I also replied:

And, I love why you chose the scripture — that really makes sense to me. I wasn’t sure if it was used in that way or was the reason I asked. Either way, I’m golden because I like the thoughtfulness of the choice and how it anchours into your story.

The main reason your novel stood out to me is because I participated in #Mythothon in November where I was seeking out stories re-told from Classic Mythos, Legend and Lore — now, I find myself branching out even more into new realms of fiction and yours just felt wicked unique on its own.

I wanted to share with you my dear heart readers the information I was given per book during my #ReviewPit queries in case one of the lovelies I’ve been reading this #WyrdAndWonder is catching your own eye of curiosity! This way, you’ll see the process I went through to accept the stories and what I was most concerned about prior to reading them. As you can see – the author’s response on behalf of Sea of Lost Souls fell within my personal preferences and layers of acceptance.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

my review of sea of lost souls:

Rachel Goldstein is serving on a carrier rollicking in stormy seas and questioning why someone would a) want to confuse a real emergency with a fake one; b) negate their duties to muster and c) find it humourous to mimic the antics of a ghost! Dodge starts Sea of Lost Souls by placing us front to centre into Rachel’s life aboard ship – including giving us a proper sense of the breadth of how large a carrier actually is and what living on one would entail. From the passageways which are a proper labyrinth to navigate to the heaviness of the doors and the uncertainty of why your fellow crew might be absent from a check-in. It brought back fond memories of reading a heap of military fiction in my teenage years – whilst I also have walked on a carrier and know first-hand how winding the corridors become and how steep the stairs are to climb or descend. Let’s not forget how I nearly went lost finding the JAG door but missed the turn for the galley!

This is a special carrier wherein all of Goldstein’s crew are equally qualified to handle the cargo they carry with the added responsibility of ensuing the flight deck brings home everyone who took to the skies. As conversations go – the tone was light and despite the exhaustion round the edges of their beings, her crew mates knew their duties well. The medical crisis for one of Goldstein’s mates early-on in the story proved how arduously dangerous life on a carrier can be for the crew who work on them. There are a lot of factors which point towards how serious it is to take your training – from minding your head to understanding how your balance can shift in a storm. Dodge brings real-life in the Navy to brilliant life whilst giving you a bit of an introduction to the characters who kick-off the Oceanus series.

Dodge quickly shifts gears – shifting us away from where we began this tale and re-inserted us into a new layer of what is plausible when you break the veil between the living and the dead. It is here where you have to suspend what you might feel is possible because Dodge has a convicting plot to soak your mind round! There are three of them who still remember what life was like for them when they were all crew on the same carrier – Goldstein, Torres and Bickley. For them, the transition to this new carrier the Saint Catherine is more insulting than it is comforting. They can’t remember much and the few scant memories they have are not aligning with what they’ve been told now. You can’t blame them really as it is all too fantastical to be real – at least from their perspective on the events and since Dodge has cleverly hidden from our readerly sight exactly what happened to them – as we took the journey with them rather than seen the event unfold before they shifted to a different ship, it is a mystery even to us as readers.

The visuals in this world are quite incredible – there is a moment where Rachel isn’t entirely sure how she feels about her new state of awareness – where she is having trouble processing the changes she has undergone – where a person she once knew comes to her aide. It was here where Dodge took a seemingly ordinary scene and transformed it because you could honestly see how realistic it would be to lose sight of yourself at point of death. To no longer understand how to perceive your own identity and how sometimes it takes a nudge from someone else to re-clarify what you’ve suddenly lost. This is the next sequence to understand this newfound world – of where Dodge gives us a purposeful nudge of her own to give us a reason to suspend ourselves into her world-building.

You feel pulled and torn alongside Goldstein – you partially want to re-assess what has happened, what has transformed and altered this state of life her and her crew experienced but there isn’t time for that kind of introspective analysis. No, Dodge ups the ante quite a bit (similar to how Jack Sparrow never had a chance to sit on his laurels either!) by turning this quaking emotional drama into a war drama where even the dead need a few courageous heroes to help them sort through a war they cannot win without them.

Yet before this can become explored Dodge gave us a fitting look-back at what took their lives on the Taft through a sequence of scenes which both showed their scene of death and the after effects their losses caused on their crewmates. It was a fitting final good-bye for them – to decide if they wanted to recognise where they were now or if they couldn’t make the leap of faith needed (such as how Rollins has anchoured himself to the Taft) in order to ‘move forward’; towards a future they might not fully understand but it was there for the taking. It is here we peer into how despite appearances even in a new state of life each of them bring their own individualistic impressions on the same events they are now experiencing. It is a credit to Dodge – how she has given a depth of place and setting but also how Dodge wanted you to feel as her characters felt – lost, detached and questioning.

Laughs with mirth! When Rachel sorts out what really is going on in Oceanus I couldn’t help but chuckle out a hearty laugh because I agreed it did sound really fantastical but then again, sometimes the biggest questions have the most simplistic answers! What was more incredible was how expansive this world really is and what it actually incorporates! This is what I love about reading Fantasy – how you can have the script flipped on you, digging deeper into a world you’ve just entered and finding that there is a lot of wonderment to be observed!

It struck me funny, too, that after a mismatched sense of righting a wrong they had no clue how to fix immediately they ended up being placed in the brig! Counter to this realisation – Rachel is still contemplating the loss of her life against the anguish of what she personally lost in being severed in connection from her parents. Although her crewmates were equally distraught for Rachel it felt like a chapter to her past she couldn’t shake because sometimes when things are left undone they fester in your thoughts and take root.

The longer Rachel staid on the Saint Catherine the more complicated her choices were becoming – I personally enjoyed seeing her meet a merman but it was the context of her life on this new ship which was the most soul-revealling as part of her journey was also a reflection of where her soul’s journey hadn’t progressed towards enlightenment whilst she was alive. It is hard to pin down without spoilers but in many regards, Dodge is creating an introspective narrative about re-looking at yourself from a close examination of yourself inside of a mirror – where each truth and attribute needs to be re-seen through the eyes of others to see if there is potential self-growth to extract yourself from a repetitively negative habit.

Meanwhile, this Oceanus world has the potential for a lot of seafaring escapades but I don’t believe they will end there! It seems like there are as many creatures in this world as their are portals of entry into different portions of where this world intersects with other worlds (including our own). The offshoots of which could be an interesting treaty of interest to see how those factions of species and/or creatures could have an effect on the crew of the Saint Catherine. They are a vagabond crew tethered together by an omnipresence which is still becoming understood. In many ways, this presence reminded me of the ship in the series Farscape.

I was truly caught in the action of this war drama set at sea!! You have your ancient Gods intermixing with the fey and then, there are merpeople and pirates all swirling together to create a backdrop of increasing danger! All the while, what encouraged me the most is how Dodge was creating this organic style of narrative – it started with the sailors and it held within its framework the heart of the Navy. These men and woman might have become transformed through death but its their courage that carried them through these new adventures in a world like Oceanus where if your imagination can dream of something – the reality is an equal match to your wildest dreams!

You feel so connected to the ship – it has a lifeblood of its own and the choices made here have after effects which ripple through the world itself. Nothing is out of bounds and if you choose to trust your shipmates you’ve made one critical choice in your favour! Dodge knows how to entertain you but also how to root you in her vision for Oceanus. Even when the dangers start to entrench themselves in the foreground, you’ve come to appreciate her sense of duty and justice; to where even at the worst of what is happening there is a threading of hope running behind it.

Reading Sea of Lost Souls truly eclipsed the joy I had in November discovering #Mythothon as the event gave me a full layer of interest for seeking out literature which re-envisions the Mythos of the past with a textured layering of story-telling from modern voices of Speculative Literature.

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I truly loved the whole concept of Oceanus – finding out there are more stories already planned to become released was a wicked sweet ending to this installment because I quite literally cannot WAIT for “House of the Setting Sun” – though I’m hoping the prequel “Crown of Sorrows” will be released in print – hate to miss it!

I literally ploughed through the text – it was beyond #unputdownable because it combined what I *love!* in a war drama with what I love about Urban Fantasy with a dash of Gothic Lit & Ghost stories too boot!

And, yes happily there is an *easter!* egg in reference to the sequel in “Sea of Lost Souls”!!

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on the fantastical musings of speculative novelist emerald dodge:

One of the reasons I was keenly invested in the film series Pirates of the Caribbean is how the world within the series was constructed and how it evolved through the installments to become more dimensional with each new story-line we had the chance to explore alongside our beloved characters and the villains who occupied that space as their home. I have had a soft spot for nautical stories for a long while – there is something wicked compelling about stories on the high seas but also, how there is a veiled truth between what we understand whilst we’re alive and the intuitive reckoning we undertake in the next chapter of our lives past this journey we’re experiencing now.

A lot of niches within Speculative Fiction explore this hidden world between where the living and the dead cross each others path. Where you can go from one existence into the other and either continue to cross back and forth; or simply occupy one space or the other after a particular transition which took you away from the life you had been living prior to a change in circumstance. I wasn’t entirely sure how Dodge would handle this transition in her story which is setting the tone for a new series but I was wholly intrigued as would it feel organic and intrinsic to the context of what came before that segue?

I felt Dodge handled this segue well – mostly as her knowledge of the military and the goings on with crew is quite brilliantly executed. She nailed the aestheticism of ship life and of how what persons serving on carriers in different eras would look like to one another. She also gave a gravity of purpose to their work – showcasing how each person was just as dedicated to do a good job as they had been in their regular lives – in this new altered state of living. It felt real because it was real – everything to these characters was as real as the breath that they once breathed and that came through solidly in how Dodge approached writing the story.

One of the best choices I felt Dodge made with Rachel Goldstein is she rooted her faith in Judaism which added more layers of insight not only into Rachel as a person but the concept of the afterlife from a non-Christian perspective which fit in well with the Mythos of the world. The more you read between the layers of this novel, the more beauty you find by what Dodge left behind for you to find, cherish and treasure.

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Fantastical Elements:

→ The concept of ghost ships and a life past death

→ Mythological creatures of the deep (ie. ocean)

→ Heightened intuition

→ Mythological origins (ie. Okeanos)

→ Lighted orbs

The ghosts in this story are multi-layered as they are the kind of ghosts who were given a bit more information about their state of condition than the ones you might be familiar with in series like Ghost Whisperer. Rollins for example knew full-well what was expected of him in both life and death but he chose to take a different route than Goldstein and her ragtag crew members. They were selected for the positions they had held on the Taft which coincidentally was now needed on the Saint Catherine!

You can’t be a ghost without a place to haunt – this is where Dodge elevates the genre, because rather than relinquishing her characters to become predictable in what their doing once they realise their dead, she tackles the question of ‘what comes next’ through a curious theory about how sometimes your life really does renew itself after your life concludes on Earth.

There is a heightened intuition and self-awareness threading throughout the story-line as well – where once you transform from the living to the dead (at least in this world) you become hyper-aware of things. Even the things you might not realise you understand – your sensations and the ways in which you process information is at a heightened state as compared to when you were alive.

I won’t spoilt the joy of finding out what those orbs are and what they can do – mostly though, brace yourself – this world doesn’t play by the rules so to speak!

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This book review is courtesy of: Emerald Dodge

Emerald Dodge

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reading this novel counted towards

my 2019 reading challenges:

2019 New Release Challenge created by mylimabeandesigns.com for unconventionalbookworms.com and is used with permission.

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whilst being read during my participation of:

Wyrd And Wonder banner created by Imyril. Image Credit: Magical book by Jakub Gojda from 123RF.com.
Wyrd And Wonder banner created by @Imyril. Image Credit: Magical book by Jakub Gojda from 123RF.com.

→ I should mention I was listening to a playlist of Indie singer-songwriters and bands via #Spotify whilst I was reading Sea of Lost Souls. Most of whom I have previously listened to and favourited as my favourite discoveries throughout my wanderings on Spotify. They all had a gentleness about their tone and their musicality to where it became a lovely back-light of joy to listen to as I read this story.

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To continue reading my #wyrdandwonder posts:

Be sure to visit my TBR for Wyrd & Wonder as I’m updating the post frequently throughout the last week & a half of the event with new links to the posts & reviews I am sharing with everyone following my showcases!

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{SOURCES: Cover art of  “Sea of Lost Souls”, the author biography, the author photograph of Emerald Dodge and the book synopsis were all provided by the author Emerald Dodge and are used with permission of the author Emerald Dodge. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. 2019 New Release Challenge created by mylimabeandesigns.com for unconventionalbookworms.com and is used with permission. Wyrd And Wonder banner created by @Imyril. Image Credit: Magical book by Jakub Gojda from 123RF.com. Beat the Backlist banner provided by Novel Knight. Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission. Tumblr post was embedded due to the codes provided by Tumblr. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Wyrd And Wonder Book Review badge and the comment box banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2019.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Thursday, 23 May, 2019 by jorielov in #Mythothon, #WyrdAndWonder, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Blogosphere Events & Happenings, Book Review (non-blog tour), Equality In Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Folklore and Mythology, Genre-bender, Ghost Story, Gothic Literature, Gothic Mystery, Haunting & Ethereal, Indie Author, Judiasm, Mediums & Clairvoyants, Military Fiction, Parapsychological Gifts, Parapsychological Suspense, Self-Published Author, Speculative Fiction, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Supernatural Fiction, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event, Urban Fantasy, Urban Life, War Drama, World Religions

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