Title: The Hollow Gods
Author: A. J. Vrana
Publisher: The Parliament House
Release Date: July 26th, 2020
Rating: 5/5 Stars
*Thank you Storytellers on Tour, the author and publisher for providing a review copy and opportunity to be on this book tour*
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 Dream walker’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?
First, I want to say that this book managed to get me out of a very long book slump and keep me up at night because I didn’t want it to end. It was absolutely amazing. This dark fantasy gave me compelling characters, a plot full of dark, dark mystery and an overall great story line. It was a book I needed at the right time.
The story starts off with Miya, a university student struggling to keep afloat finding a young missing woman in the eery woods. Many believe this young girl was lured in by the Dreamwalker, a demonic force turned folklore who entices woman into the forest and possess them. The beginning hooked me in and I couldn’t turn back. The story was written masterfully. The author managed to use real emotions and add that fantasy twist to give it a second meaning which allowed the reader to further explore those emotions throughout the book. A.J. Vrana managed to do this so effortlessly that it took me well into the book to figure it out and I normally can pick up a twist or unique style pretty quickly.
We also meet characters Kai and Mason, who each respectively have alternating POV alongside Miya. Kai is awoken, confused and next to a dead girl. His character arc is exploring his confusion and clearing his conscious. Kai was a wild brooding man and I was here for it! Kai is also very different form your average guy, but you will have to read to find that out. I really enjoyed the chemistry between Miya and Kai. They complimented each other in every way possible. Our third main character Mason, is a doctor on a mission to rid of the town’s suspicion and put a face to the crimes. Mason main goal of the story was separating legend for fact and the author wrote his character so well into that. All three characters were believable, but overall Miya’s Vibrant, passionate personality really had me turning the pages because I was happy to see a female character be so vital to the story line.
This debut novel was a breath of fresh air. It was dark, mythical, magical and just so good. It is a page turner I would recommend everyday. If you like dark fantasy with a mystical backdrop, horrifying secrets, folklore and a great set of characters, this is the book for you!
About the Author
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 judg-mental stares at nearby pigeons. Her doctoral research examines the supernatural in modern Japa-nese and former-Yugoslavian literature and its relationship to violence. When not toiling away at caf-feine-fueled, scholarly pursuits, she enjoys jewelry-making, cupcakes, and concocting dark tales to unleash upon the world.
Follow The Tour!
We’ll be hosting a tour-wide giveaway via Rafflecopter, and invite you to take part by adding the widget or link to your posts. The giveaway will be for a poster of choice depicting art inspired by The Hollow Gods. There will be one winner, and will be open internationally. The giveaway will run from Sunday, June 26th at 12:00am EDT until Sunday August 2nd at 11:59pm EDT.