Today I’m excited to participate in the Creative Blog Tour for The Hollow Gods by A.J. Vrana! The Hollow Gods is book 1 in The Chaos Cycle Duology, where a maelstrom of ancient grudges, forgotten traumas, and deadly secrets loom in the foggy forests of Black Hollow. Published July 28th, 2020 by The Parliament House Press.
I want to thank MTMC Tours and The Parliament House for having me in this Tour!
A perfect story for contemporary fantasy readers who love their narratives razor-sharp and their secrets dark and deadly.
Black Hollow is a town with a dark secret.
For centuries, residents have foretold the return of the Dreamwalker—an ominous figure from local folklore said to lure young women into the woods and possess them. Yet the boundary between fact and fable is blurred by a troubling statistic: occasionally, women do go missing. And after they return, they almost always end up dead.
When Kai wakes up next to the lifeless body of a recently missing girl, his memory blank, he struggles to clear his already threadbare conscience.
Miya, a floundering university student, experiences signs that she may be the Dreamwalker’s next victim. Can she trust Kai as their paths collide, or does he herald her demise?
And after losing a young patient, crestfallen oncologist, Mason, embarks on a quest to debunk the town’s superstitions, only to find his sanity tested.
A maelstrom of ancient grudges, forgotten traumas, and deadly secrets loom in the foggy forests of Black Hollow. Can three unlikely heroes put aside their fears and unite to confront a centuries-old evil? Will they uncover the truth behind the fable, or will the cycle repeat?
“Once upon a time, when the earth was formless and empty, and darkness stretched over the surface of the deep, we plunged one another into the abyss, and the world has trembled ever since.”
The story is situated in Black Hollow, a small town full of old legends, superstition and mystery. For centuries, the people of Back Hallow has been haunted by the myth of the ”Dreamwalker”, who lures young women into the dark woods and when they return, they are never the same. Is such the dread that the town folk feel about this legend, that they are driven to take extreme mensures, to even murder. The story shows how folklore and myths affects a society, and the consequences that strong and twisted beliefs can have, specially when they are tangled with fear. But, if they truly believe something, then what’s real and what’s only myth?
”Stories aren’t concerned with what’s real and what isn’t real.”
Through the story we have three narrators Miya, Kai and Mason. Miya is a struggling collage student, not sure with what to do with her life as well as who she is as a person. She feel like she is failing and lost. But everything changes when she is chosen by the ”Dreamwalker”. Now, she is walking between reality and fantasy, lured toward the dark and unsure if she wants to run or follow it inside the woods. Mason is a young doctor, hunted by his decisions and mistakes, he escapes to Black Hallow, trying to find some peace of mind, but he is quickly drawn to the folklore and mysteries of the small town. He is a ”logic” type of character, always trying to find a reasonable explanations but in his search for answers, his believes and reality are being tasted. And last, but not least, Kai is an angry werewolf. Half human and half wolf, with more animal instincts that human. He is not only living inside the myths and legends of Black Hallow, but also hunted by his own personal demon. All the characters were amazing. interesting and unique in their own way, but the one I related the most was Miya. There were moments in the story that just feel so real to me and I could see myself in her place.
I really enjoyed how different were all the characters narrations and that you could actually noticed it while reading. It just made it so much refreshing and interesting. I mean, in one side you have Mason, a smart polite doctor, and in the next page you have Kai, who is the completely opposite, he just doesn’t give damn.(Also, Kai doesn’t speak english, he speaks sarcasm). And of course, there is also Miya, who balances the other two characters.
”Miya lamented that the reality wasn’t a fairy tale she could rewrite with the power of her imagination. Reality wasn’t timeless or enchanting; it was finite and perilous.”
And now, let’s talk about the spooky/dark/creepy atmosphere of this book, because WOW! A. J. Vran writing was on point. She really managed to immerse me inside the pages, I could feel myself walking though the dark woods of Black Hollow or feeling hunted by mystery shadows. Her way of describing not only the atmosphere but the background and objects around the characters, focusing on certain details, helped to picture and imagine this spooky and mysterious story perfectly. Also, she plays a lot with dreams during the book and Gosh! if I didn’t feel myself living through those nightmares!
In general, this was an amazing read. I started reading without knowing a lot about the story and it just took the first chapter for me to get completely hooked. I just couldn’t stop reading. I needed to figure out the mystery of Black Hollow. There were moments where I was a little lost, but at the end everything makes sense, I swear. And honestly, there is nothing like the sensation of figuring out mysteries or connecting dots while reading a book.
I hight recommend this book, specially if you enjoy scary woods, dark atmospheres, folklore and sarcastic characters!
“Creation…destruction…we think of them as opposites and yet they are like brothers…two sides of the same coin.”
The Hollow Gods aesthetic:
About A.J. Vrana:
A. J. Vrana is a Serbian-Canadian academic and writer from Toronto, Canada. She lives with her two rescue cats, Moonstone and Peanut Butter, who nest in her window-side bookshelf and cast judgmental stares at nearby pigeons. Her doctoral research examines the supernatural in modern Japanese and former-Yugoslavian literature and its relationship to violence. When not toiling away at caffeine-fueled, scholarly pursuits, she enjoys jewelry-making, cupcakes, and concocting dark tales to unleash upon the world. Her published works include The Chaos Cycle Duology: The Hollow Gods (2020) and The Echoed Realm (2021) from The Parliament House Press, and a short supernatural horror story, These Silent Walls (2020), printed in Three Crows Magazine.
The Hollow Gods will be discounted to $1.99 via Bookbub on November 10! Make sure to snag a copy: https://www.bookbub.com/books/the-hollow-gods-the-chaos-cycle-book-1-by-a-j-vrana
INTL Tour-wide Giveaway!
Enter the rafflecopter below for a chance to win a The Hollow Gods character poster!
Link to Rafflecopter: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2aeeb25b78/?
November 2 – Paperfury
November 3 – The Bookwyrm’s Den
November 4 – Bookishfairytail
November 5 – The Reader and the Chef
November 6 – Melancholic Blithe
November 7 – Mirkwoodbooks
November 8 – A Court of Books and Love
November 9 – Leosthetics
November 10 – L.M. Durand’s Little Book Corner
November 11 – Woven from Words
Hope you enjoy it! Let me know all your thoughts in the comments.