Reviews for The Hollow Gods, by A.J. Vrana
The Hollow Gods is an interesting Urban fantasy set in a small town. It has feels of Stranger Things and a cast of characters that offer different aspects to a supernatural phenomenon and folklore ingrained in the town's memory. I haven't read many books set in British Columbia, Canada, nor do a I read Urban fantasy, and that is why I enjoyed the setting in this book. It was dark, mysterious and old. I found it easier to connect with Miya and Mason. Kai's perspective added another dimension to the narrative though I was a bit confused about what he was a little longer than I wanted to be. The horror elements were engaging. Some parts of the plot could have been stronger, but overall, the writing and world building makes up for the weak points. The story picked up in pace about 25% in and it had a conclusion that makes me look forward to book two of the duology.
Many thanks to the author for a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This book was made available as part of blog tour organized by Storytellers on Tour. Stay tuned for reading experience and my post on the tour on July 30th which will cover 5 reasons to pick up this book!
The Hollow Gods is an original story that has an engaging start and a strong foundation. My favorite aspect was the writing and how realistic it made the story feel. I love when writing style and world building mesh so well that I feel like I'm a character in the story.
Parts were too rushed however, creating an unsteady pace. It would have been nice to sense a deeper connection between Miya and Kai as there was a touch of instalove there, but I do understand that it was necessary for the plot. I'm not a fan of alternating POVs and would have liked the book more if it had stuck with Miya's perspective.
Overall 3.5 stars. I'll keep an eye out for new work by this author.
Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC to review.
*I received an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. *
The Hollow Gods is the story of a small town who has been haunted by the folklore/myth of the Dreamwalker. A suspicious entity who lures women into the woods. We follow 3 perspectives in the story; Miya, a young college student trying to stay afloat while dealing with feelings of being a disappointment, Kai, a cursed alpha male and Mason a doctor who is dealing with his first loss of a patient.
I really enjoyed the folklore that surrounded Black Hollow. It was very atmospheric and gave off a spooky, fairytale vibe. However, it felt more like a paranormal YA book than an adult horror (Which isn’t a bad thing!) I was, however, expecting scarier, anxiety-inducing scenarios and whilst the book had a lot of atmosphere it felt more like an ‘old-world’ fairy tale told in a modern setting. I really enjoyed the writing and look forward to A. J. Vrana future books. Overall, I enjoyed the story and the folklore/storytelling that went into the world-building. I did find at times that the story dragged and the pacing fell of course. I think the representation of grief, guilt, and anxiety were all handled with care and accuracy. I am looking forward to where the story will go in the next book.
Set in a place where the line between magic and reality blurs, The Hollow Gods is a story about the past and how it impacts the present. Shrouded in mysteries, it will leave readers craving for revelations.
Told from multiple points of view, it gives readers access to different characters. Starting with Miya, a girl who finds comfort in solitary. Especially at a park near the secretive forest that started it all. Her thirst for the legend surrounding the town, Black Hollow, is unquenchable. I find her talent with fortune-telling to be fascinating. At some point, I could see myself in her since we both hunger for the supernatural, dreaming that we will experience something beyond our world one day. Except, I want mine to be a good experience and never traumatic, please.
Next is Kai, a mysterious boy who harbors secrets of his own. Orphaned twice, he had to grow up faster than everyone else in his age bracket. As a result, he has an aggressive personality and does not risk giving his trust easily. Due to a dark entity affiliated with Black Hollow that haunts him, he sometimes finds himself in situations that might expose his true identity.
Lastly is Mason, a tourist who simply wants to move on from a trauma he experienced in the city. Coming to Black Hollow, he expected a breath of fresh air and the healing of his soul. As a doctor, facts are his diet until he got tangled up with the town’s legendary figure – the Dreamwalker. Among the three of them, Mason’s point of view is my favorite. Since he is not a local, he has to investigate and familiarize himself with the town and its fable. Accompanying him through all of it is very much rewarding. Plus, he has to accept that the supernatural is real, which I imagine is hard for a fact-based person like him.
I find the horror vibes the author shrouded the book with to be perfect. Although the plot is frustratingly slow, it is well-crafted. The tension the author built until the bomb dropped is both breathtaking and heart-pounding. How the three narrators met in the middle was flawlessly executed. I love that the mystery remained a mystery until the truth revealed itself, which I am saying since sometimes I figure things out way before the grand reveal. The romance between two of the characters is cute, although I have to admit the nicknames really made me cringe.
If you are an avid horror fan and adores multiple narrators in a book, I highly recommend The Hollow Gods. It devours the readers in mystery and offers quite the ride, leaving them wanting more. Well, you cannot help but to want more because of that ending.
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So this was definitely an interesting read for me.. I am a big reader of fantasy, particularly YA, and this book was definitely a little different as it merged horror and fantasy together.
Starting with the positives, I really enjoyed reading from these three multiple perspectives. They all had their own unique voices despite the book being written in the third person. Each character's chapter often ended on a cliffhanger that made me keep reading and reading! Having Mason's perspective was nice as we got to read from the perspective of a medical professional trying to rationalise and make sense of this situation and understand it from a psychological perspective.
The whole book had this eerie vibe running through it which was creepy but I loved it! As someone who has suffered from sleep paralysis in the past I found those scenes especially chilling...!
I love reading books immersed with mythology and folklore, and the author did a great job of creating this myth/legend in a small town setting that felt reminiscent of a thriller movie.
SPOILERS - the identity of the dreamwalker became obvious to us once we heard Annabelle tell the story of a girl finding a wolf in the woods and feeding/nursing him back to health, but it was still fun to go along this journey of mystery and discovery with our characters!
However, one of the aspects of this book I did not so much enjoy was the insta-love romance. I loved Kai's character and the banter between him and Miya, I also understand why their romance was portrayed in this way but I just wish there had been more build-up/slow burn.
The ending also felt a bit rushed to me and I was left slightly confused as to what had actually happened and the time period we were in.
Overall though I enjoyed this read and look forward to seeing whats next for this series! Thanks to Book Sirens for allowing me the opportunity to read and review a free ARC!
This was really more or less a cover buy, and boy was I not disappointed! I really liked this one. I found Miya, and Kai to be really intriguing characters. I think I like Mason. I initially didn't really understand the point of having him around, but he ended up helping propel the mystery aspect of the story. The setting was perfect for this. Spooky little small town, surrounded by a looming dark forest. The paranoia of the townspeople was very intense at times. Miya is bound and determined to discover the secrets of the forest, and while she seems very centered and practical at times, she longs to be a part of the forest. I really liked the chemistry between her and Kai. It was ALMOST insta-love but thankfully, didn't really hit that for me. They had a good banter, and a hesitancy around each other, that made the development more real. While the end felt really solid, I feel like there is more to these characters, and gods, and I am very excited for the next book.
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
A dark tale with a folklore flavor and a modern setting, The Hollow Gods carries you along through dark woods and dreamscapes as young women disappear throughout the years, lured away by the mysterious Dreamwalker.
Caught up in a cycle that repeats itself, seemingly driven by an ancient evil, Miya and Kai fight to put a stop to the disappearances, and break the curse that lays over the town of Black Hollow. Skeptic Mason, running from his own tragedy, finds himself drawn into the struggle even as he tries to debunk the myth of the Dreamwalker and prove it to be nothing more than superstition.
This was a very enjoyable read. The main characters were interesting and well developed for the story. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoy’s dark fantasy, especially one with a bit of a shifter element to it. I’m eagerly looking forward to the next book.
Thank you Booksirens and The Parliament House Press for giving me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!!
Black Hollow is a rural town in British Columbia where girls have been going missing and ending up dead. This leads to the whole town believing in an ancient lore about a creature named the "Dreamwalker" who kills the girls using wolves.
This book shows the story through 3 POV:
Miya is a struggling girl living in Black Hollow. She is having a hard time in school, paying rent, and feeding herself. She finds solace in hanging out by the abandoned park next to the infamous woods in town.
Mason is an oncologist from Vancouver who comes to Black Hollow to get away from the stresses of life. While trying to get away, he fixates on Black Hollow's lore instead.
Kai is a wolf that can turn into a human and lives in a run down shack in the woods.
Is the Dreamwalker real? If not, what is happening to these girls?
I picked up this book excited to read about the lore and the background of the story. In this area, this book did not disappoint. The author illustrates the setting beautifully with her words and the lore is original and interesting.
I also enjoyed the multiple POVs and seeing how they ended up all coming together in the end.
What I think this book could have improved on was the relationship development between the characters - especially with Kai and Miya. It just felt like Miya fed him, they hung out once, and then they are already moving on and infatuated with each other? It just seemed farfetched and it did not flow well. I really did love the banter between Kai and Miya though - it was very amusing.
All in all, a great story with an interesting plot line. This story has a little bit of everything - from fantasy, to thriller, mystery, and romance.
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
The Hollow Gods was a very atmospheric and dark book. I ended up getting sucked into the story and reading it rather quickly. I really wanted to know what was going on.
The folklore of this story was my favourite aspect of the book, that and the atmosphere. In case you didn’t know, I tend to love atmospheric books. The author managed to create such a chilling atmosphere in the story and there were quite a few moments that creeped me out. What I did have a problem with was the actual story. By that I mean that I was confused for a big part of the book, I didn’t get the mystery and I felt kinda stupid for that. There just wasn’t a moment that everything clicked for me, I just didn’t get what was going on.
The characters I liked, for the most part. Miya, Kai and Mason were all well formed characters that I enjoyed reading about. I could differentiate all their different POVs easily, which is always great when it comes to stories with multiple POVs. It was interesting seeing the way that all of them came together in the story. There is some character development, but that felt very rushed. There seemed to be no build-up, rather they changed from one scene to the next
(or so it felt to me at least). There was also some insta-love elements that I didn’t enjoy, as you would expect since that is one of my least favourite tropes.
Overall, The Hollow Gods was an interesting horror book. I would definitely recommend this book, if you can handle horror and the synopsis sounds interesting.
Originally posted on my blog, starlightkosmos