Storytellers On Tour is a Blog/Instagram Tour organising service. It was born out of Justine’s (Whispers & Wonder) and my love and dedication toward SFF indie books and authors. Our goal is to give as much exposure to our clients as we can, while we also build a community among our Roadies. Find out more about us on www.storytellersontour.online!
This past week we celebrated the release of A. J. Vrana’s debut dark fantasy novel, The Hollow Gods. Our Roadies brought a wide selection of content to this show with reviews, interviews and excerpts. Now it’s time to bring the show to an end and it’s my pleasure to present you with the encore.
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.
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?
Click on the blog name to read their full review or other content!
JULY 26TH–THE WELCOMING
The Sword Smith – review
“The power of stories is an overarching theme of this book, A.J Vrana has faith in the power of stories, it is also what makes the characters so much fun and why this beautifully put together narrative builds from the absolutely ordinary to the nightmarish and this is where the fantasy in the book comes to the fore.”
Cosmic Lattes and Books – review
“Something I really liked about this is the folklore and myth surrounding the town and the Dreamwalker. I really liked the story behind it and finding out what exactly was going on in this town.”
Betwixt The Sheets – character interview
Marginally Magical – review + interview
“A story weaving folklore, dreams, the complicated histories contained within families, and the demons that communities carry with them. It is a speculative novel that defies classification in just one genre: it is magical realism, it is literary, it touches upon fantasy, it gives us a glimpse at real horror.”
“The atmosphere and characters were amazing. The focus on local folklore made for a deliciously unsettling mystery and for the most part the supernatural elements were gripping. Unfortunately, the plot fell a little short of what I was hoping for, but that definitely doesn’t seem to be the case for everyone. If an atmospheric, character-based, small town dark fantasy sounds up your alley, don’t hesitate to give this one a try!”
Fantasy Book Critic – interview
“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.”
Debjani’s Thoughts – review
“What was insta-love soon turned into an all-consuming affair when it was a love between two souls, not just two teenagers. Vrana’s writing shines when she is describing the folklore and talking about spirits and realms. Further, her vivid descriptions of the eerie forest and the small town of Black Hollow create an atmospheric setting.”
A Bronx Latina Reads – review
“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!”
@alasbooks – spotlight
Armed with A Book – review
“The Hollow Gods has its niche style of horror where the reader is interacting with spirits, supernatural elements and another realm. I like the commentary on time and the aspects of reality that have to be reconciled when one if both wold and human. There were a couple of spooky scenes that I found spooky, but nothing overtly terrifying (except maybe the superstitious beliefs of the villagers and the extent to which they would go to uphold a legend).”
Gemma’s Bookshelf – review
“Beneath all of the folklore, the reader discovers that it is not just a journey to find the history and change the future for the town but is also a story about finding one’s true self and the belief that not everything is just black and white but has a hidden depth.”
joybookish – review + interview
“This book completely blew me away! If you’re looking for a story that is fast paced, all consuming, and open to a little interpretation, this is the book for you! Definitely some gothic horror vibes going on, which is so fun.”
FanFiAddict – excerpt
dinipandareads – review
“While this definitely isn’t my most-read genre, sometimes it’s really refreshing to step out of your comfort zone even if it scares the crap out of you! I’m so glad that I took the chance to read this book because it was one hell of a twisty, terrifying ride.“
The Coycaterpillar Reads – review
“The learning curve and fighting in the characters corner gave everything a three-dimensional experience. Everything came full circle and I couldn’t help but smile at the direction and conclusion that the story took.
The Hollow Gods was just one of those books where I was entranced from beginning to end. It was intense, immersive and Vrana’s prose is utterly spellbinding.“
If you are interested in The Hollow Gods and would like to get in contact with A. J. Vrana, you can find her on social media:
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Grab a copy of The Hollow Gods at your local Amazon!