book reviews

BOOK TOUR: The Hollow Gods by AJ Vrana

Today is my stop for The Hollow Gods Book Tour. This amazing dark fantasy by A.J. Vrana is out TODAY! This is the first ARC I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing and it has set the bar so high! I’m honored to be a part of this tour with Storytellers on Tour.

Book Information

  • Published: July 28, 2020 by The Parliament House
  • Genre: Dark Fantasy, Horror, Magical Realism
  • Age Group: New Adult / Adult
  • Pages: 409


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?

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The Bookish Fae’s Thoughts

The Hollow Gods by AJ Vrana is my first ARC read. What drew me to this book is the promise of something dark and sinister lurking between the pages. Since this is the author’s debut novel and I didn’t read others’ reviews before starting this book, I was perfectly prepared to not like it that much. I have no idea what I expected but I definitely did not expect it to be this good!

The story was told through the eyes of three narrators: Miya, Kai, and Mason. I am usually wary of multiple POVs because I tend to pick a favorite and lose the connection with the other characters along the way. Fortunately, AJ Vrana was able to establish and maintain a unique voice for each character. Miya, Kai, and Mason noticed and cared about completely different things and it’s those little things that sold the switching POVs to me.

Nestled in a rural area, just at the edge of the forest, Black Hollow serves as the border between reality and fantasy, madness and sanity. I loved the idea of centuries-old lore holding the town and its people captive in its razor-sharp talons; and how the townspeople, subsequently, become the very thing they most fear.

One of the themes tackled in this story is facing and accepting mortality. I have never lost a loved one but this book made me feel the grief that Mason and Anabelle felt. It also made me wonder if the people who had lost loved ones would resent the existence of immortality if they discovered it was real.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Hollow Gods. However, there are a lot of questions left unanswered, or maybe it’s just me not realizing the answers were already given. I can’t wait to read the next installment and get the answers I desperately need!


4.5 stars


Enter to win a poster of your choice featuring the new wolf of your dreams, Kai Donovan of The Hollow Gods.

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 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.

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