Continue below to read my interview with Kai, review of the book, and be sure to follow this link - [TOUR SCHEDULE] to check out the rest of the stops on 'THE ECHOED REALM' blog tour brought to you by STORYTELLERS ON TOUR, PARLIAMENT HOUSE PRESS, and AJ VRANA!
THE ECHOED REALM
(THE CHAOS CYCLE DUOLOGY #2)
by A.J. VRANA
Published: August 10, 2021
Publisher: The Parliament House
Genre: Dark Fantasy, Horror, Magical Realism
Age Group: New Adult / Adult
Those of you who know me, also know I love a dark visceral story with a suffering bad boy to pine over and a female character that manages to be both strong and non-annoying in the process. The Echoed Realm (The Chaos Cycle Duology #2) by AJ Vrana definitely has all that and much more.
I completely fell for Kai and Miya in book one, The Hollow Gods, and couldn't wait to get my hands on the follow-up. Let me tell you, Vrana does NOT disappoint. What I love about a series that trails specific characters.. is that you get to see them grow and evolve.. and everyone's doing that here. They've all come a long way, but the road ahead may be longer still.
The second part of their story finds them on the move. Black Hollow is far behind them geographically, if not far from their thoughts and dreams. Three years have passed and the Dreamwalker has become the hunter. Traveling from place to place in search of the types of entities that would see darkness swallow us all, she has one goal in mind.. ending them.
Kai has found companionship, but it comes with a cost. Bound to the Dreamwalker, his movements have never been more restrictive and though he would do anything to protect her, he longs for his freedom.
Mason discovers things are not at all as they seem, that his decisions and movements may merely be the result of strings being pulled outside his periphery.. leaving him to question his situation and himself.
While age old beings close in on them and their friends, Miya struggles with memories that don't completely make sense and a future she doesn't know how to control.
There's a gorgeously macabre new villain added to the mix of problems the group already has to deal with in this book. Positively appalling and sympathetic, sometimes simultaneously. Though my favorite aspect of this addition is Kai's way of dealing with them. I'm not sure there's a snarkier character out there that's actually funny. Often they're just overdone, but his reactions just rang so true at times that I laughed out loud.. then had to explain myself to those around me. He can be such a PITA in such a good way.
Likewise, Crowbar is a fantastic supplement to the cast of characters. She's pretty much everything I like in my favorite female characters. Who knew an author could hit that out of the park three times in one series? Between her, Ama, and Miya.. my expectations for strong female protagonists has been solidified. I used to think what I wanted just didn't happen in modern storytelling, but they're proof otherwise.
Certainly, the dreamworld sequences are fantastically moody. While the transitions are smooth, the weight of that shift becomes heavy.. which is so beautifully suited to the story being told there and I love, LOVE the new villain's backstory.
I can't recommend this book and this series enough. It's shadowy, Slavic folklore at its best in an adult fantasy setting, filled with both traditional and existential horrors.. and I still want more..
Be sure to keep reading for the interview with Kai and the poster giveaway below!
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Kai Donovan Pt. 2
Do you have a favorite injury to inflict?
Kai: Headbutt to the face. Nothing more satisfying than the sound of a crunching nose.
Do you prefer knifing or breaking bones?
Kai: Why not both? Knifing and bone-breaking are equally satisfying, and it’s not like
you have to choose, though I’d recommend bone-breaking before knifing. Sometimes
you get a gusher, and while it might look badass to get sprayed in someone else’s
blood, it’s pretty inconvenient.
Have you ever gotten blood in your eyes? Fucking sucks.
It’s sticky, and a bitch to get out of clothes if you wait too long.
What’s your favourite smell as a wolf and as a person?
Kai: Meat and meat. Also a fan of rubbing alcohol and gasoline.
What bar bet would you win?
Kai: All of them.
Best by far is getting trashed and throwing darts at someone standing next to the
dartboard. I like to call specific body parts, like a left thumb. I never miss.
Weirdest place you’ve had sex?
Kai: A cubbyhole in a haunted house attraction—you know, the one where the actors
What’s the number of people you’ve slept with?
Kai: Why? Are you contacting them for testimonials?
Most embarrassing moment?
Kai: I once found one of Mason’s jokes funny. I laughed after he left. If you tell him, I’ll
fucking end you.
Aside from that, got hammered on cheap wine, went to get snacks, mistook a feral cat
for a bag of Cheetos. Carried said cat around like a football for an hour before trying to
get an actual bag of Cheetos. Didn’t end up getting it because the store clerk wouldn’t
let me in with the cat, which my drunk ass didn’t want to put down. I liked that cat.
Least favorite memory?
Kai: Why the fuck would I remember that?
Kai: Gonna stick with my fever dream of being chased by a bus being driven by a
hamster. Yeah, that one fucked me up. Literally worse than demonic possession.
How do you feel about clowns?
Kai: Not really a fan. Too many sudden movements. Too much smiling. Too many teeth.
It’s like they’re asking to be punched.
Do you have any strange talents?
Kai: I can skin a rabbit one-handed. Also, I stayed conscious after getting shot with a
horse tranquilizer. Does that count as a talent?
Favorite sexual position ����
Kai: As long as it doesn’t involve body chocolate or nipple clamps, I’ve never started in
a position I couldn’t finish in. As for the body chocolate and nipple clamps, if you want
more details, you’ll have to pay the bar tab.
Finish this sentence: Revenge is a dish best served...
If you had to kick someone’s ass and you weren’t allowed to use steel-toed boots, what
would be your weapon of choice?
Kai: A raccoon. Throw a raccoon at a man’s face, and watch the little fucker get to work.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, raccoons know how to scrap, especially when
there’s bologna on the line.
What’s worse? Buses or Mason Evans?
Kai: Well, Mason is the public transit version of people, so… Wait, scratch that. Mason
is worse. At least a bus can kick my ass, and I respect that.
Miya: What if Mason’s driving the bus?
Kai: Then that bus probably couldn’t hit roadkill.
Ideal date with Miya?
Someone else’s credit card, fancy hotel, trash the place, leave a show for the black
Favourite deadly sin?
Since we’re not talking about the one I’m most afflicted by, I’d say my favourite is lust,
which I guess is just gluttony of the dick.
Hear Me Roar: A Memoir
June 18th, 2021 & July 20th, 2021
3 Decades, 12 Men, 3 Countries, and 1 Woman who refused to give up.
After 35 years of silence, Author Mindi Hood takes you on a journey into a past filled with unimaginable experiences, into a future filled with hope.
Hear Me Roar is the incredible true story of a woman who has been held captive, endured multiple sexual assaults and survived violent attacks. Despite her traumatic past, she continues on a path of self-discovery, faith, and love. Mindi has graciously allowed her story to be told in the hope that it may serve to inspire others to keep going and live out loud.
About the Author:
Mindi is a Transit Operator in Burlington, Ontario as well as a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist.
She is passionate about Architecture, the Social Sciences, and Humanitarian Causes. Hear Me Roar is her first book, and through it she aspires to spread messages of love, hope, and faith. She lives with her beautiful daughter, Mackenzie and their two adorable dogs, Ally and Maddie.