The Echoed Realm
The Chaos Cycle Book 2
by A. J. Vrana
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 10 Aug 2021 | Archive Date 28 Aug 2021
BooksGoSocial, The Parliament House
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.
“Vrana’s lyrical writing is a mix of poetry, chaos, violence, and energy. An epic, macabre folktale for a new generation.”
– Kim Smejkal, author of INK IN THE BLOOD
“Good vs. evil is cleverly turned on its head as Vrana pulls readers down the rabbit hole into her strange, folkloric world.”
– Publisher’s Weekly
“Everything about this book has a dark and spellbinding edge…an emerging threat in your peripheral vision, a creeping dread. Horror, supernatural, and fantasy push the threads of realism to its very edges.”
– The Coy Caterpillar Reads Book Reviews
“Darker, more impactful, more complex, with rich and interesting character development and the delightful writing of Miss Vrana, THE ECHOED REALM is the perfect conclusion to one of the best duologies I've had the pleasure to read.”
– Verified Reviewer
“THE ECHOED REALM may have closed off The Chaos Cycle, but it's still going to be playing back in my mind for a long time to come.”
– Verified Reviewer
The Chaos Cycle Duology is best enjoyed in this order:
Book 1: The Hollow Gods
Book 2: The Echoed Realm
“I’ve been obsessed with A. J. Vrana’s dark, lyrical fantasy ever since The Hollow Gods, and this sequel didn’t disappoint. The Echoed Realm cleverly expands Vrana’s wholly original Dreamwalker mythology beyond the town of Black Hollow, with blood-chilling consequences. Gods are more powerful, possibilities are endless, and threats are more sinister than ever. Miya and Kai are haunted by the past, literally, while the lines between dreams and reality, lore and fact, and obsession and possession are paper thin. I can’t wait for you to experience this dangerous, glittering world for yourself!”
– Katya de Becerra, author of OASIS and WHAT THE WOODS KEEP
Average rating from 25 members
*****NOTE TO ALL READERS: THIS IS BOOK 2 IN THE SERIES ****** Well, damn. If that wasn't a great closing to a series, I don't know what is. I don't 100% agree that this is just a duology, but what am I going to do? Fly to Canada and force the author to write me another book MISERY style? Why, yes, I have considered it and with great detail. Buuuuuut, I'll review this instead, and then I'll check airline prices and go from there. THE ECHOED REALM takes place three after the events of THE HOLLOW GODS and things are not as OK as they should be. We have a more subdued Kai (except that one part and you know what I'm talking about), and a more focused, albeit Dreamwalker newbie Miya who is only doing her best not to kill poor Kai and figure wtf she's supposed to do about her newfound power. We've got Mason, who is still my favorite, although he takes a backseat, he shines in this book. We have a bit of backstory in this book, which will please a lot of fans. It definitely explains a lot that may have confused readers in book one and gives us a bit of closure. In THG I was instantly drawn in by Vrana's writing style. Being very King-ish, I knew I was in for it from the very first chapter. I don't compare writers to King often, but I'm doing it here because it's true, and because I see the author rising in the publishing world with more unique and fascinating ideas. If this is the case, I cannot wait to see what else the author cooks up next. THE ECHOED REALM may have closed off The Chaos Cycle, but it's still going to be playing back in my mind for a long time to come.
Sadly the end of The Chaos Duology has arrived. I got very attached to Myia and Kai and it's so hard to let go of them 😭😭😭 The second book in the duology is a little darker than the first. After 3 years from the events in the first book, Myia and Kai make the perfect team in finding and eliminating evil beings. But their last case puts them face to face with a special one. This last case helps them remember their dark past, discover new friends, strengthed old relationships, conquer old demons and most of all helps them evole to their true selves. Loose ends were tied in this book. We found where the gruesome story of the Dreamwalker came from and who initiated it. The reason why Mason was chosen to go to Black Hollow and what was his real role is also revealed. And yes, it's not some mind bending reason but the decision to involve him was a rather calculated one. Also, we get to see how strong is the connection between Myia and Kai and what he is prepared to do for her. Kai is the same funny, direct, no filtered, brutal self who loves Myia more than his own life. Loved the steamy scene at the end between the wolf and his lambchop 💜 Also, go check authors Patreon account for more spicy scenes 😍😋
“The Echoed Realm” is the second and final book of Vrana’s Chaos duology (which is a two-book trilogy). Reading book one first (The Hollow Gods) is highly recommended or, at least, reading it closely in time to Echoed Realm. It is part urban fantasy, part myth, part lyrical prose, and can be confusing at times to those who have not delved into the background set forth in the first book. The key to understanding and enjoying these two books are that they tell a story partly grounded in today, partly grounded in a long-ago yesterday, and partly placed in an entirely different realm of dreams and nightmares. It is now three years after the events in the first book and Miya has firmly accepted that she is the Dream Walker. No longer in fear of being burned at the stake (at least not afraid for the most part), she is hunting for fissures between the realms where demons have spit out into our reality. She is connected both literally and figuratively to the Black Wolf, Kai, in a torrid love affair, but tethered as she crosses between realms. On this side of the divide, Miya visits West Virginia and Louisiana, and finds the powers on the other side because she is not bound by reality, but transcends it. A large part of the novel, like the first one in this two-book series, is the magical prose which never fails to let the reader know that Miya is in the dreamscape where all is timeless and death does not exist. Back in the real world, though, it is as “humid as Satan’s balls” and “[e]verything stank like pickle juice and wet clay.” And, it is spooky as the townspeople seem to hide when the sun dips beneath the skyline. When she fights demons, she releases “a torrent of shimmering smoke” and “[d]ark vapour woven from amethyst and obsidian.” It is not a classic expository story, but dips here and there and takes a long detour into the myths and fables of small villages and howling wolves and beings that hover between Gods and Devils. The best way to clamber through this one is to enjoy the lyrical poetry and let the story take you where it needs to take you.
This was the second book in this series. I hope there is more to come. Keep me interested and love the storyline. This author is now on my radar.
This book was a whirlwind! Loved it! I really enjoyed it just as much as I did the first one. The entire backstory written into this one plays out well with the entire story. If anything, the second book made me adore Maya and Kai even more. Just like the first book, I loved the descriptions of the scenery that made me feel like I was actually in the story. I highly recommend this series. It was stunning. Gave me that perfect dark fantasy feel!
I enjoyed this book as much as I did the first one. It was well written; the character development was great and I felt like I knew the characters even better after the second book. The descriptions of the world were vivid and rich. Highly recommended.
I’m not quite sure what kind of magic A.J. Vrana has access to but it’s a gift. She has truly outdone herself with The Echoed Realm, the sequel to The Hollow Gods. It’s been three years since the events at Black Hollow left our beloved characters' worlds crashing around them. Miya is left to find footing as the Dreamwalker fighting not only the demons that haunt the nightmares of others, but the ones that haunt her own. Kai is struggling with his new role and anchor for the Dreamwalker, his past creeping upon him. Mason, ever so curious, is battling with his ongoing search for answers. The Echoed Realm is fierce, mysterious, and dark. With all the fights and horror within the pages, I believe this story is truly about forgiveness, overcoming grief, and most important of all, it is a story about confronting your past and not letting it define your worth or who you are. We all walk through our own dreamscapes, battle the demons that lurk in the shadows, and have the ability to survive and write our own endings. The Echoed Realm is a well-crafted sequel that expands the world we were introduced to in the previous book. The history and design aspects allow readers to get a deeper and closer understanding of the world and folklore that Vrana has meticulously created. Accompanied by the author’s picturesque writing and undeniable wit, The Echoed Realm is a worthy finale to The Chaos Cycle. I cannot see what magic she creates in the future.
Kiya is the Dreamwalker, Kai is her protector and her love. Set three years after Miya's life was upended and Kai was tethered to Miya, they are hunting and killing demons that haunt others. Their latest job, however, leads them to a demon who is connected to them far more closely than they can imagine. Both Miya and Kai must be stronger than ever and must face their pasts if they hope to survive. The Echoed Realm is the second book in the Chaos duology and it is amazing!
The Echoed Realm is a very worthy sequel. The pacing is paralleled to The Hollow Gods, the story moves along seamlessly. This book dives deeper into the unique and multi-faceted world Vrana has created. The characters are resilient and bold, yet each has their own voice and tone. The aspect I appreciate the most is the writing style; it's engaging and exciting. And, c'mon, these covers!?! This series definitely needs more attention!
When I initially got this book I didn't know it was a part of a series, the second specifically, so I read the first so I had more background. A great end to The Chaos Cycle duology! I absolutely loved Miya, she was awesome! I liked this book more than book one.
The Echoed Realm is the final book in this duology and takes place after 3 years after the first book. The worldbuilding expanse in this book a lot and It was really good to back with the characters too. I liked A.J Vrana's writing was amazing as well. It was very lyrical and the descriptions were really realistic. It feels like you can picture the whole scene. I highly recommend this duology. The Echoed Realm was a really good ending to this series and I will be checking the author's future works too.
4 1/2 Stars The Echoed Realm leaps right back into the adventures of Miya and Kai 3 years after the events of The Hollow Gods. Ms. Vrana has written the perfect sequel to this story. It was part fantasy, horror and mystery, interwoven perfectly. The action starts from the first page, as Miya and Kai have become demon hunters. As the story is revealed, we follow Miya, Kai and Mason in the present, but to unravel what happened in Black Hollow, they need to know its dark past. Only then can they find out who they truly are and how they are connected. Where did the Dreamwalker come from? Who is she? How is she tied to the wolf? In many ways I found this book to be both a sequel and a prequel. The pacing and prose of the book was excellent. Chapters focus not only on different characters, but through dreams, the horrible history of Black Hollow. These dreams reveal all the secrets the town has long tried to bury. It is at times gritty and heartbreaking. The writing of the story in this manner was perfect, which is why I say it is both sequel and prequel. At no time was it confusing to have the story told from the viewpoints of Miya, Kai, Mason and the Dreamwalker, who reveals the past. Quite the opposite. It keeps the reader on edge to find out more about what has happened, and how Miya and Kai are bound. Having read The Hollow Gods, you know that Kai is a werewolf and Miya can travel between the world of dreams and reality. She, Kai and Mason have survived the fire set at the end of the story. We know the town, along with Miya’s father, went just a little berserk when they could not find her and set out to destroy the them all. Mason wakes up in the hospital, Miya and Kai have disappeared. They left behind Crazy Hollow, I mean Black Hollow. However, Kai somehow became tethered to Miya while she was in the dream realm. He is with Mia in their “idyllic” dream world, yet they come to the real world, though he cannot lose his connection to her or he could die. Ama, who was also in The Hollow Gods, is the white wolf. She is essential to Mia as she serves as her “lifeline” to the real world when Mia must venture deep into the dream world. We follow Mia and Kai to New Orleans. Mason once again becomes involved as Mia’s parents contact him to find her. The Echoed Realm perfectly completes the story of our protagonists. The Characters While the characters are the same, they have grown since The Hollow Gods. Miya is still a strong female protagonist. She takes on her role travelling between the dream realm and real-world head on, and is fearless as she does. She has no desire to contact her parents and tell them she alive. Who can blame her after her father nearly tried to kill her? Miya desperately wants to find out her own connection to the Dreamwalker. Kai is not as angry as he was, though he is fiercely protective of Miya. He does struggle with being tethered to her in the real world. While he loves her, Kai is also very independent. Not being able to always have her consciousness near him, is restrictive. In The Hollow Gods, the reader knows he was possessed with the Apogee, which caused much of his anger. Now free of it, what will Kai do to protect Mia from the Dreamwalker and in doing so, find out his destiny. Mason Evans has gained a new confidence in his role as an oncologist. He does not know where Kai and Mia are, but since their bodies were never found, he thinks they might be alive. While he agrees to help Mia’s parents find her whereabouts, there is something he feels is “off” about them. He continually reminds them that if she is alive, she is an adult and can do as she chooses, which includes not contacting them. It’s important to have characters grow in a series. They don’t stagnate, but complete their story arcs as the duology comes to a close. Pacing and Prose The pacing of this book was excellent. The unraveling of the history of Black Hollow is strong point in the book. The dream sequences paint a vivid picture of Black Hollow’s past and the events that occurred. It is extremely well-done. As with The Hollow Gods, it is never rushed, nor does it lag. Once again, I thought the perspective of the chapters of from each character was absorbing. This was a strong point in the telling of the both books. The pacing was excellent. The book starts out right away 3 years later, with a confident Miya, along with Kai, vanquishing a demon. The story always keeps the reader on edge, and I feel that is mainly due to the different perspectives of Miya, Kai, Mason and the dream sequences. As mentioned, in the telling of the history was a little brutal, and at times heartbreaking. It all equally advances the plot, and all is revealed. Overall Thoughts The Chaos Cycle is an amazing and excellent debut duology by A.J. Vrana. Both books are unique and compelling. The incorporation of fantasy and horror was a perfect mix of the two genres, creating a page turning story of The Echoed Realm, as it did with Black Hollow. The characters have grown in the 3 years between the times of the book. The reader is introduced to the history of Black Hollow since its inception. Through dreams and the Dreamwalker, the story of how it came to be this horrific town is revealed. It was very well written, and I enjoyed reading as the mystery unraveled. There were many surprises, twists and turns that I did not see coming. All the secrets are discovered, and I encourage you to read and find out what they are. You will not be disappointed. Overall, both The Hollow Gods and The Echoed Realm were excellent reads, and I would highly recommend it to fans of fantasy, horror and mystery as well.
The Echoed Realm is the perfect sequel to Vrana's stunning and original debut, The Hollow Gods. Brimming with sharp edges, dark nightmares, and menacing villains, this book will haunt you in all the best ways. Compulsively readable, with complicated characters and expansive world-building, this is an epic, macabre folktale for a new generation. Vrana's lyrical writing is a mix of poetry, chaos, violence, and energy, blending to create a wild and wonderful potion, and I can't wait to read more from this rich new voice in contemporary fantasy.
“The Echoed Realm” is the second book in “The Chaos Cycle” duology, and it does not disappoint! I loved reading the first book, “The Hollow Gods,” and could not wait to start reading this one. We reunite with our main characters Miya, Kai, and Mason. Miya and Kai stand out in the story, and I loved the scenes. Miya, in particular, is the highlight as she navigates her way in the role of Dreamwalker. She goes through a lot of emotions in the tale, and I was rooting for her throughout. Kai is also excellent in the story, and some moments were heartwrenching to read. Although Mason is less prominent in the story compared to the first book, he has his moments. I enjoyed his scenes where he comes to Orme’s Rest. Moreover, the author adds many thrilling moments, like when Miya fights the imp. The author also introduces us to characters like Crowbar, Dawn, Rusalka, Kali, and Velizar. Although we see some of these characters from the first book, they are more prominent in this story. Frankly, I loved reading about the more extensive cast of characters, and it was interesting to see Gavran and Velizar get their perspectives. Honestly, I liked Rusalka a lot and would not mind seeing a spinoff series for this enigmatic character. While the first half of the story is gripping, the second half of the story, though, just blew me away! The author amps up the action and drama as Miya has to make the most challenging decision in her life. Overall, “The Echoed Realm” is a satisfying end to the duology, and I will miss these characters.
The Echoed Realm is the last book of "The Chaos Cycle" duology and I'm not ready to let go this beautiful story (and my "baby" Kai). It's been three years since we left Kai, Miya, and Mason and now we found them - again - in darkness. Miya is in the dreamscape where all is timeless and death does not exist. She can travel between the world of dreams and reality. Kai is with Mia in their “idyllic” dream world, yet they come to the real world, though he cannot lose his connection to her or he could die. For Mason, on the other side, we see him having to confront the things he can’t explain, and having to find peace in that. I felt more invested in the characters, they have grown and changed between the books. Can we talk bout "side characters"? Crowbar, Dawn, Rusalka, Kali, and Velizar. I loved reading about them and discover their stories. The Echoed Realm is not only a sequel. Flashbacks from the past let us better understand the whole story. I really liked them. Vrana's writing is stunning! I don't have avy other words... maybe captivating. Vrana can slowly enter in your mind and let the tension rise on every page you read. The description of this world, the characters' development, the dark atmosphere, the folklore! (You know that I'm in love with Vrana's folklore and how she use it in her books) The story is about forgiveness, grief, and confronting your past and not letting it define your worth or who you are. This book is darker than the first. I can't wait to read other books written by this amazing author! I think only Vrana is able to make me love horror books. Trigger warnings: lots of gore, self-inflicted stab wounds, murder by drowning, mentions of suicide, detailed description of ways to die.
I adored the first book in this Duology and The echoed realm is just as amazing. The author knows how to pace the story just right to keep you interested and wanting more. Fantasy but also full of horror and mythology. The romance doesn't overtake the story. You get some backstory in this one, as well as secrets and surprises.
What a sequel! I had not expected the atmosphere to feel even darker in ‘The echoed realm’, yet it did, and it did it even better than the first! yes, the first book ended in dark angst, so to some degree, it was to be expected, though it far exceeded. The pacing overall was steadier, yet made for a seamless progression of the story. I don’t particularly enjoy time jumps between novels, especially duologies, yet Vrana pulled it off with such ease! nailed it. Again I found the writing enthralling and engaging. In all honesty, I felt that Vrana has outdone herself, her writing offered more. It’s especially noticeable within the alternating POV of her MCs. Their voices felt more pronounced, there was a strength to them that hadn’t quite made it within the pages of ‘The Hollow Gods’. I felt more in-tuned with the characters and their thoughts, emotions and overall vibes. I felt invested in these characters. Highly recommend this duology!
I want to start this review by thanking our wonderful author for both giving me the chance to read The Echoed Realm before it hit the shelves, and also for writing one of my absolute favourite characters! Kai, what would we do without your snark and sass!? We'd be bored, and leading miserable, wolf-less lives waiting for someone - anyone - to turn 'lambchop' into a term of endearment the way Kai has! Now, what can I say without giving anything away? I really, very thoroughly, enjoyed this continuation. We pick up three years after the events in Black Hollow, and Miya and Kai have carved out a new life for themselves, living in peace in the dreamworld, working out how Kai is tethered to Miya in the physical world, and hunting the monsters that need to be hunted, in between. I confess that The Echoed Realm took me almost a month to finish, and though in the first week or so it was very much down to a lack of reading time, about 10 days ago I realised I was being deliberately slow about it, because I didn't want it to end. I wasn't ready to leave it behind. The story has great pace to it, picking right up in the last 20-25%, it flows well, both backwards and forwards, but for me, the characters absolutely make this duology. I mention in my review of The Hollow Gods, that - regardless of the supernatural element - Kai, Miya, and Mason are some of the most relatable characters and this continues in The Echoed Realm. Miya is still shouldering more than she needs to, still unsure of who she really is and what she is capable of, but is steadily finding her way. Mason is still carrying around all of his (misguided) guilt, and searching for truths that are best left uncovered, and Kai... Kai is struggling. Underneath his assured, cocky, exterior, he thinks himself worthless, undeserving, and the restraints of the dream/physical world are grating on him. There is so much of ourselves in them, almost everyone can relate, and its really them that make The Echoed Realm a book 1000% worth reading...the story (which is fantastically woven) is the cherry! Solid 5 out of 5 from me...and if you're looking for some gorgeous hard backs, go and check out https://thechaoscycle.com/ for all purchase links 😍
Horror: 4.5/5 Fantasy: 4.5/5 Contemporary: 4/5 Overall: 4.5/5 Blurb: From the Author of Scintillating Debut Novel 'The Hollow Gods' comes the equally brilliant sequel which concludes the story threads of Miya, Kai and Mason. Its Bloody, Its Messy, its Fantastical and its all written so damn well. So Sharpen your claws and bloody your teeth. There’s fear to be sown. Or as Ama famously said Where we go, a murder is sure to follow Ease of Language: Beautifully written with a rich vocabulary from both Canadian and Serbian folklore. You will feel yourself drifting to the scenes and into the Black Hollow. A chill down your spine and the whispers among the tree are some of the few sensations you will experience in this amazingly worded novel. Orme's Rest was the silent scream of a living, breathing gravestone Strength: Strong Storyline which reflects the hard-work being put behind the scenes. The connections are well-thought-out and not at all forced. The ending comes naturally and in due time. Likable characters all around, even the snooping Mason is vindicated. Weakness: Considering this is a sequel, a prior reading of 'The Hollow Gods' is required to understand the lore. Some sections feels drawn out, especially with Mason's plot. But even that is realistically portrayed. Anyone would have behaved the same way, including me. Why to Read: If you loved 'The Hollow Gods' and can't wait to know about the continued journey of Kai, Miya and Mason and love good writing. If you are a fan of Gothic and Supernatural and wants to read Canadian and Serbian folklore. Why not to Read: If you haven't read 'The Hollow Gods'. Period. That's the only reason I can think not to enjoy this masterpiece. Well Good news is that 'The Hollow Gods' is still up for sale on various channels, including bundles. You can check Author's page for more info.
5 "Bloody, Magical" Stars! The Echoed Realm is the perfect culmination to this series. I absolutely adored both books. If it's possible, I may have enjoyed this one a bit more than the first....but it's a tight race. The Chaos Cycle Duology has a bit of everything - - mythology, fantasy, horror, romance, revenge, grief and much more. The author writes a story that reaches out and grabs the reader and does not let go until the absolute last page has been read. The Echoed Realm picks up three years after the conclusion of The Hollow Gods. Miya and Kai are adjusting to their "new normal." Of course, evil is at play again and they will soon be pulled out of their sense of calm and thrust into another battle for good. This author writes a beautiful story. Even as bloody and brutal as it is, the prose is truly lovely. Character development and the description of the surroundings and overall setting are top notch. I can't say enough positive things about this book - - or duology as a whole. It is a treat to read and I hope more people find their way to this author's work. "Your story doesn't own you. Write the damn thing yourself. Preferably in blood." Thank you to NetGalley for this ARC. I voluntarily chose to review it and the opinions contained within are my own.
The second book in The Chaos Cycle gives the reader more background on the fable of The Dreamwalker, which really helps to wrap this duology up perfectly. It also helped to cement Kai as my favourite character, who really suffers in this book. The story delves deeper into myth and folklore, giving it an ethereal feel reminiscent of those old ghost stories that relied on atmospheric writing and tension rather than action and horror, though there is some gore. This second book feels quite a bit darker, with some really evil characters making an appearance. Again, the writing is fabulously eerie, bringing about a great ending to this series.