Thank you so much to Storytellers on Tour and A.J. Vrana for having me on the tour for The Echoed Realm! I really enjoyed the first book in the duology (my review for The Hollow Gods is up on the blog too) and A.J. did a phenomenal job bringing this series to conclusion! Just in time for fall reading comes this darkly atmospheric, spooky, haunted and hallowed book where we get the real history of the wolf under the willow tree.
Bookish Quick Facts:
- Title: The Echoed Realm
- Series: The Chaos Cycle Duology #2
- Author: A.J. Vrana
- Publisher & Release: Parliament House Press, 08/10/21
- Length: 444 pgs
- Rate & Recommend: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 Yes for fans of book one, folklore, and unapologetic dark fantasy!
Here is the bookblurb:
Miya’s world ended in Black Hollow.
It’s been three years since the Dreamwalker upended her life and left her with a heavy burden. A fledgling to the ethereal realm, Miya stumbles into the nightmares of those haunted by spectres. Little does she know, one of them is coming for her, clutching a dark secret abreast.
Kai has found a new purpose with his companion, but the price is his freedom. Bound and beholden to Miya, he struggles to adjust to his new role as her vanguard.
Meanwhile, Mason discovers he may be a pawn trapped in a web of schemes. Was his time in Black Hollow an accident, or was it only the beginning of some greater machination?
As Black Hollow’s bloody stain spreads beyond its wooded borders, Miya fights to evade a past she barely understands. The Dreamwalker’s legacy is a vise grip, and it isn’t letting go. Primordial horrors draw near, fables come alive, and long-buried histories rise from the grave, ready to hunt.
Sharpen your claws and bloody your teeth. There’s fear to be sown.
Three years after the events of The Hollow Gods, we see Miya and Kai settled into their new “normal”. If you can call traversing the dreamscape after demons normal. Kai has become tethered to the dreamwalker and he really isn’t a fan of this new bond. There is old evil on the loose and the only way to free themselves and the town of Orme’s Rest is to confront age old trauma and make the choice to move forward.
I think that while reading The Hollow Gods, I missed the kernel of the story. There was a certain level of ambiguity in the folklore that didn’t make 100% sense at the time, but reading book two answers all the big questions. I think Vrana did this on purpose, gave us enough to appreciate the legends, and then told us the backstory and revealed the true meaning of The Chaos Cycle at the conclusion.
The folklore aka legend aka bedtime story is amazing. We learn the origin of the black wolf, the creator, and the dreamwalker, and it’s as dark and bloody and violent as I could have possibly wanted and expected.
My only question was – Where did Ama fit into it all? Where did she come into the legend? We even got Gavran’s back story so not including Ama felt like a big omission.
One of my favorite themes was how Miya and Kai both had to realize and appreciate their own worth in order to beat their literal and figurative demons. Yes they were tethered together but individually they are both worth their weight in existence.
I also looooved the theme that love is a choice, not a need or a calling or a hex or an ages old tether.
Tie those themes into an utterly dark and atmospheric read that never once loses it’s character, and I think A.J. Vrana wrote the ultimately perfect fall read.
The dreamscape and the roots, trees, swamp, were practically their own characters in this book. I love when the setting and atmosphere are so alive. Fear is practically a living character as well,
The one thing I want to add is that if you tend to avoid horror novels because they are too scary – this really does not fit into that realm for me. It’s definitely a dark fantasy but I don’t want anyone to see “horror” and run! I absolutely recommend these as a quintessential fall spooky season read though!
Like the artwork that you see? Enter the giveaway by clicking here to win your choice of a poster!
Meet the Author! You can click the tour link below to find all of her social media links!
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.
Please do check out the rest of the tour schedule for more info and to see what the others have to say about The Echoed Realm!
Lastly here are some preorder links and goodreads!
- Amazon: https://amzn.to/386Vafc
- Signed Paperbacks: https://bit.ly/2Gn6KY7
- Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55059396-the-echoed-realm