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The Hollow Gods

(The Chaos Cycle Duology #1)

4.40  ·  Rating details ·  40 ratings  ·  35 reviews
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 Dreamwalkeran ominous figure from local folklore said to lure young women into the woods and possess them. Yet the boundary between fact and fable is
Kindle Edition, 384 pages
Expected publication: July 28th 2020 by The Parliament House Press
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Average rating 4.40  · 
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 ·  40 ratings  ·  35 reviews

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Start your review of The Hollow Gods (The Chaos Cycle Duology, #1)
"The Hollow Gods" is a genre-busting fantasy that blends fables, fairy tales, dark nightmares, and boundaries. You have the age-old motifs of the angry mob of villagers, the disappearing girls, the maiden on the creaky swing in the forbidden glade, the shapeshifting werewolf, the raven and the willow, and the haunted wood.

It takes place in a remote British Columbia village hours north of Vancouver. Yet, Dark Hollow could well be in some fell mountain region in Western Romania. The woods
"This town's legends, its mysteries, and its secrets - they make you feel alive, don't they?"

The Hollow Gods is different than all the books I've read lately.
It's rich with folklore and veiled character's analysis that make you think you're reading a story about a demonic woman terrorizing an entire town, when in reality you're learning your way into the side effects of grief, loss, anxiety, identity crisis, mass hysteria and whatever it is that tingle in your stomach you feel when dealing
A.J. Vrana
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I am obviously super biased because I wrote this thing, but I really love my book and hope you, dear reader, do as well! This is a story for all those who love mystery, fantasy, lore, and a touch of horror. If you're a fan of The Raven Cycle and The Bear and the Nightingale, then The Hollow Gods is for you!

Some important themes this book touches on include mental health (grief, depression, anxiety); trans-generational trauma and haunting; collective guilt; the blurry line between truth and
The Hollow Gods (The Chaos Cycle Duology #1) by A.J. Vrana

ARC provided by A.J.Vrana, NetGalley, BooksGoSocial, and Parliament House. All opinions are mine and freely given.

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"F*ck this shit."

"F*ck everything."

"And f*ck that squirrel in particular."

03-09: Normally I don't include much cussing in my reviews (edited for GR), it just isn't necessary.. but the above pretty much sums up my favorite character in 'The Hollow Gods (The Chaos Cycle Duology #1)' by A.J. Vrana. Kai Donovan's so surly it's hilarious, but he's
Katya de Becerra
Hi, hello. I'm returning briefly from my self-imposed Goodreads exile so I can tell you all (*raises her voice... shouts*) that I've just finished reading an advanced copy of A.J. Vrana's dark contemporary fantasy debut THE HOLLOW GODS and that I loved it with all my heart.

(In non-shouting but still excited voice): I mean, what's not to love? For starters, there's a smart, insightful young woman who doesn't tolerate BS and fights for what she loves. Then, there's a certain tormented character
Jul 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Lately, I cant stop looking for the unknown in storytelling. The unknown as twofold: as it relates to the plot (the spiritual, the mysterious, the concealed within a cloak of secrets, the supernatural) and as it relates to how a story is told (unreliable narrators, dreams, liminal space, deviating from the expected form). It is invigorating exploring that which lit a fire of passion for reading within me, a love that caused me to study literature and to focus on Postmodern lit specifically. But ...more
Celia McMahon
Feb 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
February was a bad month for me with books. Usually, I'm all 4-5 star reads but I got mostly 3 stars and maybe one 4. THEEEEEEN, I started an arc of HOLLOW GODS and I knew I finally had my five star read.

THE HOLLOW GODS is a book I think should be given out into the book community and praised. Granted, I did have high expectations because I've been drooling over the synopsis forever. I enjoy anything comped to The Raven Boys, but I was excited to see where the author would take me.

Mar 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The most appealing thing about the Hollow Gods is the degree to which it trusts the reader; recounting surface details doesn't do it justice because so many of them serve as jump off points to explore more complex ideas and whilst the author's voice is clear in the text, AJ Vrana has the good sense to not spell things out and give the reader room to process the books' arguments for themself. The overarching plot may stand on fairly firm ground of the conventions of its genre, but these tropes ...more
Mar 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was AMAZING!!!
The violently delicious paranormal novel sank its teeth and claws deep into my soul and did not let go till the last page. What a thrilling ride of fable and lore with a dash of zesty humor and spicy romance! Fantastic world building, wonderfully portrayed characters, and fabulous writing style! It felt like a Stephen Kings novel with a unique and modern touch.
I loved how bold, seductive and raw the story was. I also appreciated the zero censorship which only added to
Feb 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
5 stars

I was lucky enough to receive an E-arc for review.

I have no idea how I am supposed to articulate how much I loved this book but I will try!!
Also, to A.J Vrana, her support system, and writing team, Congratulations on creating an amazing world that is done in this debut book. It was phenomenal!!!

I am calling this now as my 2 favorite book of this year only one book has the potential to surpass it and that is Sarah J Maas's new adult fantasy. Very high praise from me if you do not know me.
Rowena Andrews
Mar 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
     I was searching for something a little different when I found The Hollow Gods, and I certainly got what I was looking for. I fell in love with the cover at first sight, and the title intrigued me as did the summary. I have a soft spot for folklore at the best of time, and this seemed like an interesting twist on that idea, and it was. It took me a few chapters to get into the book, but once I did, I was hooked. While folklore and the role it plays within a community is central to the story, ...more
Randi Maguire
Mar 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just want to start this review by thanking Alex for sending me a copy of her book to read and review! I also want to praise how amazing Alex is as a person. Ive had dealings with other authors in the past, and she is my favourite one to talk to so far! So seriously, koodos to her for that. And she will be an auto-buy author for me because shes so awesome! But also because this book was AMAZE BALLS.
This book is written in 3 different perspectives: Kai Donovan (a werewolf (perhaps)), Miya (a
Wren Handman
Mar 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Vrana's debut novel is such a treat! The writing is lush and vivid, and the story is a really unique fantasy that doesn't feel quite like anything else. There are some goosebumps-raising spooky moments, some dreamy fantasy, and some really captivating characters to draw it all together. I liked that no one was black and white, and that the complicated nature of their interactions felt solid and earned.

Looking forward to reading the next one.
Mar 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fresh way of looking at fantasy and all the twists and turns that are possible. Incredibly believable characters that make you cheer, cry and even sometimes yell at the pages! Worth a read for anyone who wants to read something out of the ordinary and who want to make the extraordinary an everyday occurrence.
Amy GB
Mar 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jessica Kavanagh
A middling 2.5 stars for this one, leaning lower than it does higher.

Hollow Gods is a dark, modern fantasy with some really fun concepts. A rural. sleepy town is full of superstition, normal in all respects until a young woman goes missing. When she is found safe and alive on the outskirts of the forest, the town meets her with suspicion rather than the expected excitement.

And then her father murders her; the sleepy town of Black Hollow reacts with sympathy rather than outrage. Hollow Gods
Mar 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There is something truly haunting about dark, creepy woods surrounding a small town. They are drawn in mystery, curiosity, and twisted tales of what lurks in the shadows. Only the brave venture into the dark, and if theyre lucky enough to find their way out, they are never the same.

For the people of Black Hollow, this is their reality. To those just passing through, it would appear to be a normal, small Canadian town. They would not hear the whispers about the young girls found dead or know the
Mar 04, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
ARC provided by NetGalley

About as clunky and generic as its name, The Hollow Gods was unremarkable. Just an OK book that Ill forget about in a week, but is technically fine. At its core theres this very personal human element that felt so grounded and real, and it was absolutely the strength of the book. Honestly it felt like there were two people writing this book -the segments about grief, anxiety, depression these were so tangible and thoughtful. They gave the characters credibility and
Sam Rosen
Mar 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book and allow me to tell you why (trying not to give away spoilers):

1) Pacing - The pacing of the book is amazing. From beginning to end, I was drawn into the story. I did not think the story was rushed or too drawn out, but just right. If one thinks of the pacing like a stairway, you are climbing and on edge to see what is at the top. The steps were not too narrow, nor steep. And I was not disappointed when I got to the top at the climax of the plot.

2) Character
D.M. Siciliano
Mar 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Hollow Gods is an eerie blend of folklore, fantasy, fable and horror twisted into one dazzling novel.
From wolves to ravens to humans that are themselves like wounded animals in their own ways, the book follows 3 main characters with intrigue, drama, mystery and humanity.
Each of the main characters, despite the supernatural elements that hang over their heads, are incredibly human. Each full of fear, doubt, anxiety, all of them imperfect and searching for something. Vrana succeeds at making
Ivy Bookdragon
The Hollow Gods sounded promising as the story has folklore elements, wolves, murder mystery, a mysterious wood and characters dancing on the edge for different reasons.

Sadly, it just wasn't for me.
While I loved the folklore parts and the way the characters were written, the way of the writing didn't really click with me. It was fascinating in the mystery and great in the characterization, but often the story was rather lengthy in descriptions which weren't necessary because it did not add to
Mar 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Grounded in secrets, myth, fantasy, and alternate reality, Vranas debut installment in The Chaos Cycle series is a fast-paced, deeply intriguing urban fantasy.

Its been a while since the young women went missing in Black Hollow, a small town in British Columbia, but as the cycle begins once again, three unlikely forces find their paths colliding and set on to confront the centuries-old evil.

Memorable, noticeably individual characters are at the forefront: Miya, who has never felt at home in
Sandy Schleich
Feb 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I read the description of this book I was not sure if it was something that I would like, but I wanted to give it a try. I thought this book started out rather slow and boring, but after several chapters in I was hooked. I wanted to know what type of secrets Black
Hollow was hiding, why girls that went missing turned up dead, who was killing them, and why. I wanted to know why the Dreamwalker, a figure of local folklore, would want to lure young women into the woods and possess them, and why
Mar 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Following the story of three different characters. A man escaping from his past to a superstitious town, where a girl fights her future with the superstition and a boy belonging to it.
This book had all the elements I needed to keep the pages turning. There was of cause spiritual superstition, people finding themselves, a wolf man with a little bit of love too.
I loved the setting of the story which had a real eerie feeling to it but made me want to be in it and explore. I also felt empathy for
Stephen Baird
Mar 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received The Hollow Gods from Netgalley for an honest review.

Based in current day North America, it follows Kai, Miya, and Mason as they uncover and unravel the mythology of the Dreamwalker and the cycle of missing girls.

The main characters are introduced early on and motivations are made clear from the start though as the weaving of the characters and story progresses these motivations become more unclear and tangled.

A lot of good world building to support the mythology that is being
Feb 25, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to like this book, I really did, but for some reason I was not invested in it. I don't know what it was. I think I was not in the right reading space at the right time.

There are some good ideas in this book and on the whole it is well written. However, one small criticism (and please do not judge, but this is just my opinion and certainly does not match others who have read this book) but at times I did find the language impeded my enjoyment. Whenever I have to find a dictionary to
Mar 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a really good read. It has a little bit of everything, some light horror, dark themes along with a really pissed off wolf. Kai has to be one of my all-time favorite characters and the thing that I loved most about this entire book was that he was never treated as though the wolf was "part" of him. The wolf actually was him. That was a refreshing turn from the standard "he could feel the beast inside him raging to get out" that is normally found in other books.

The story has a lot of
Emily Richards
I was excited about reading this book but it just did not click with me at all. I liked the overall premise but the flow of the book was distorting . I found it didnt adequately transition from one explanation to another so I was left guessing what and who the author was referring to most the time. I also felt that the language was overly wordy yet the sentence structures were simple which didn't work or make sense and was difficult to get past possibly due to my dyslexia.

The ideas are there
Gregg Buford
I thought this had a great cover and decided to give this a try. I think the writing was decent but the story lacked something and didn't quite satisfy. Is this a sort of American Gods meets Red Riding Hood? Didn't think there would be any sort of romance but there was but that really seem to be the focus for most of the book. I think there are people that would like this book though. I was looking for magic and stuff like that though.
I love.

That is all.


Ok but seriouslY? This was so good! It was an amazing read. I was drawn in by the summary alone, but I am totally on board to find out what happens in the next book! It was serious, funny, spooky, and yet also knew when to be lighthearted. I'm so glad this book held up to my expectations!
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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 ...more

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