Thanks to Netgalley, Booksirens and the publisher for providing me with an e-arc for this book in exchange for an honest review.
Title: The Hollow Gods
Author: A.J. Vrana
Expected publication: July 28th, 2020
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Description: 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?
Rating: 5 / 5 stars
This book blew my mind. With it’s amazing storyline, legends and magical feel to it it was just what I needed (and I want more!).
To be honest the reason why I picked this up was because the author is Serbian and I believe she moved to Canada and I always like to support my fellow compatriots and I’m glad I did because now I won’t stop talking about it! The cover doesn’t do this book the justice because the story behind it is just something different truly.
The book tells a story of Black Hollow, the town where every now and then girls go missing in the woods, and when they come back their family members are driven to madness and kill them. Everyone thinks it’s the doing of Dreamwalker, a girl who was outcasted a long time ago and by killing the girls she seeks her revenge. It follows three perspectives: Miya – a young girl who has always been drawn to the woods until she realizes she may be the next Dreamwalker’s victim, Kai – a shapeshifting wolf who is fighting literal demons inside his head and Mason – an oncologist who has just moved to the town and wants to uncover it’s scary legends. I loved the three-perspective narration and how every character was totally different from the other in terms of language, feelings and story-telling.
As soon as I got into the story a bit more I realized I had the same feelings I had while reading The Raven boys by Maggie Stiefvater (my favorite book, by the way). The similarity comes from the legends and quite peculiar but captivating and a sometimes a bit scary plotline that it totally blew my mind.
The legend of wolves, woods and the Dreamwalker were the most interesting part because it felt like a real-life legend. The author presents us with so many details that all we want to do is Google it and see if it’s real (I had to do it just to be sure).
The characters are all so different but I loved all of them. I loved how raw and unfiltered Kai was and how he talks about his primal instincts although it might seem brutish, but because he is a werewolf those are normal feelings. Miya is a very likeable character because she’s brave but loving and I loved that the romance wasn’t the main part of the story, although I liked it and it gave it an interesting twist. Although the history keeps repeating itself it must come to an end at once, and Miya is determined to end it.
The fantasy was also very interesting, and I loved reading about dreamwalking as well as the power of mind in all of this. The fate plays the biggest role in this as it brings all of our characters together in the end.
All in all this was so interesting and it makes me want to read a lot more paranormal stuff. The mixture of paranormal and legends was something I’ve never read before but I truly loved it. This is a masterpiece and I’m hoping it will be a series because I want more of it and that ending just didn’t cut it for me.
I’m hoping this will get the praise it deserves once it’s out because it truly is a gem. If you like The Raven Boys I’m pretty sure you’ll love this book and if you love magical realism and legends this is a perfect book for you.
Let me know in the comments what is your first impression and if you’ve already read it, tell me what you thought of it.