The Maze Runner by James Dashner: A Book Review

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I have never read a great deal of science fictions yet despite that   my major in psychology inculcated me in scientific schools of thoughts; I am more into books that have to do with philosophy, autobiography, politics, children’s life, agriculture, and history. The very first sci-fi that I read and eventually caused me to love this genre is The Martian by Andy Weir. After that, I failed to try another one, for there are too many books  lying around to read.

I got the good chance to read one when my student decided to read it in my reading class. I was exhilarated upon his book choice because this was one of the books I had wanted so much that I could not afford. He was the one who provided my own copy.Voila!

I first enjoyed it a whole a lot because the story is new to me. The settings are awfully fascinating: The people are trapped in the middle part of a mysterious and huge maze, and the challenge for them is how to get out of it by finding the exit. It is not about how to outwit or outplay one another. Kinda  survival of the fittest.  It is about testing who is cut out to be the maze runners   to solve the puzzle . In addition, the gargantuan   walls of the maze are so monumentally impressive and indescribable. Imagining them while reading sent  a chill   through my spine. I would even feel like jumping to my feet whenever I imaginarily heard the echolalia of the Grievers , the  bionic monster created to sting whoever dares to find the exit, and the  heavenly roar of the gates when they close  after twilight. As a matter of fact, what I liked most of the setting is that the characters have been living in the dead center of the maze, a wide  community which is called Glade, where everyone has access to everything they need. Eventually, I came to understand that the concept of this story is about experimentation on how humans can be used in  saving humanity.  For instance,  the  Flare  ,with its  deadly consequences like the contagious disease  , which is the cause of  human and earthly  destruction.

However, little did I realize that there seems to be something wrong with it; it is misleading and mesmerizing.  I forgot that what I look for in a book is consistency. Is the concept realistic or   conceivable?  Is there something   readers might miss  while being rendered amazed at it?  The answer could be yes because the story shows that   the earth is in a dystopian and ultramodern era or   no because it is unimaginable for a science ignoramus like me to believe that the Sun could be the reason for a  widespread viral disease. Perhaps, James Dashner   did not justify the ideal scene of  what he really wanted to paint a picture of. Take the movie   Elysium for instance ,written and directed by Neil Blomkamp and starred in by Matt Damon. It perfectly  depicts a dystopian world.  Rather, Dashner  focused on the maze itself.  Besides, it  occurred to me  that  he may have thought the trick would do that the reader would not realize that  the Gladers could  make a bigger difference   than  finding  the exit in the maze   by using their  mind  power inventing  something to fly out of the place  just the like of a parachute. What do you think?  So what happens is that   the reader only focuses on the book title: The Maze Runner. The characters are all absorbed in the idea of getting out of the   maze. I know  that you may contradict my  hypothesis because I  was even surprised to find out  that the maze  must be massive. It is even ridiculous of  me to suggest that the Gladers could have tried the  famous  suicidal game Angry Bird where the  Angry Birds use a huge, wooden slingshot  to pull themselves away.(laughs)

Despite my literary musings,  I can’t deny that the book has still considerable impact on me. First, it is   page turning. I only concentrated on the mission of the runners. Second, it is head- bashing. I had to think of answering the why’s in my mind. What is the purpose of  putting the people in the maze? Why  most of the characters are male? How did they survive the maze without sexual needs for two years? I wonder if there is such an  intimate relationship developed among them ? Pardon my prurient question! ( laughs) Finally, the ending is heart-breaking. I did not  expect that  there was such a thing,  tragic ending where readers have been attached to the brethren relationship between the two characters  all along  given the fact that obviously, it is a trick writers  usually use as a literary device – an old music that  still turned out to be marketable.

Like the other writers, it also took  Dashner   years  to finish it ,and was even  turned down by some publishers.I wonder what made them not to do so. Nevertheless, due to its sensational popularity and box-office movie adaptation,  Dashner should be grateful for gaining a toehold in writing its another sequels: The Scorch Trials, The Death Cure, The Kill Order, and its coming-soon The Fever Code.  In fact, The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure have also been adapted for movies. Huwaw!  Congratulations, Mr. Dashner!

Rating: 3/ 5 stars ( I liked it.)

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The BFG by Roald Dahl:A Book Review

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Oompa-loompa, everlasting gobstopper, snozzberry, whangdoodles, hornswogglers, snozzwangers, vermicious knids, scrumdiddlyyumptious, eggdicator: These are some of the examples of the wonderful words  in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory that Google helped me jog my memory about, my first experience in  discovering Roald Dahl’s leanings for inventing new nonsensical words. At that time, I had to turn to a stack of different dictionaries in my house , or to the internet as the last straw to grasp their meanings. I wonder if native speakers who have read it have the same cognitive trepidation.

 The BFG , short for The Best Friendly Giant , is  another one  I was boggled at.  It is definitely   more rabid than the former one in that I almost wanted to toss it up in the air. It is riddled with many, many  nonsensical  words Dahl coined himself. My student and I since   it was part of our reading class called it TGL short for The Giant Language. Thus, the biggest challenge for us was how to understand it   because we are not native speakers . Our knowledge of English   vocabulary is limited.  In this case, we just try to guess with the context  clues  hidden  not anything but near the other sentences,  or as usual  with  my  comrade in time of   nasal hemorrhage  or  with a dictionary app  installed in our android phones.  However, most of the time, we just skipped them , for in doing so was a waste of time.

For  the newbie, to understand what I have been blabbering about, try to guess the meanings of the  following words  and  sentences.

Buckswashling

“Upgoing bubbles is a catasterous disastrophe!”

“Delumptious fizzy frobscottle…”

Gruncious

Hopscotchy

Propsposterous

Rotsome

Sqiubbling

“I cannot be squibbling the whole gropefluncking dream on a titchy bit of paper.”

You will be coming to an ucky-mucky end if any of them should ever be getting his gogglers upon you.”

“How whoopsey-splunkers! How absolutely squiffling! l is all of a stutter.”

To  the  readers who have read it, you may be pleasantly  squinting at the words  until now.  For me,  my favorite words  that my student and I made fun of were “ I watch telly telly bumkin box”, and “ scrumdiddylicious” which was also spoken in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. ^^

If you are such a logophile, maniac for  patting  down  all the words  in the book, you could  serve as  an interpreter  for  TGL.

Apparently, the   nonsensical words are the mainspring of having a hard time enjoying it to bits as to what I went through in Matilda or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Such literary device   may deaden or spice up   the excitement of the story depending on the   taste of the reader. In a metaphorical situation, I was like a stranger, lost in a lost world, fear-stricken of the thought that I would not be able to get back to where I came from because of the strange things, needless to say TGL , I had to be inured to until I was part of this “disgusterous, sickable, and rotsome” world of the giants.  But the truth is I don’t want to enter this story anymore, especially during witching hour: I am scared to have met the giants and talked to them in their language anymore; it would just put me in a nose bleeding and bone-crunching position.

Despite that the world I entered is creepily “disgusterous”, I found it amusing because of The BFG. He is such a naive but amusing character. I was like Sophia, the main character , enjoying his company because of  his funny hobbies and stories. I would hate but try eating his favorite food “snozzcumbers” which taste is beyond recognition. I would for sure enjoy his ejaculatory whizzpopper, a drink resembling a soda drink, but equivalent to farting reaction in our world.  I would not get tired of his thousand jars of dream collections. I would be fascinated by his elongated ears which have the ability to listen to sounds  a million times  far  away, and could serve as a hideout for  a small human bean  from human-bean eaters. Indeed, The BFG is not a giant everyone should be intimated by.

If I survived the world of the giants in that I was neither crunched nor gorged on , I would not just bear in mind the memories I spent with the BFG but also his sophisticated character. You might not realize that the BFG   has a literary symbol. For me, he is the anathema of the desire to change the old ways. Little did I realize that Dahl may have suggested that his story is about civilization and barbarism.Only the BFG has the willingness to be weaned on the currently revolutionary life , keeping behind the   old ways of the other giants. He exerts a lot of effort to educate himself by reading books, especially Charles Dickens’ works. Likewise, he does not want to eat human beans because of his “civilized conscience.” As a matter of fact, the story  indicates  that we can learn break our  uncivilized habits  like what happened to The BFG and other giants who have eventually been taught to lead the life civilized  people do. Now, this could be a question for a social science scholar: Is civilization a learned development?

The BFG is another book to reduce me to awe for Dahl’s mastery in storytelling although I am now at the stage of cognitive development when everything is no longer beyond a child’s understanding. Rather, I can cringe at the juvenile and puerile stories because such things can be deduced with logical explanations. However, I reckoned that we are dictated by society when we should act our age. In other words, there is no limitation to what books a reader should   read.  Thus, Roald Dahl is now my favorite children book writer. 🙂

Rating: 3/ 5 stars ( I liked it.)

 

 

Matilda by Roald Dahl: A Book Review

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I got the chance to finish Matilda by Roald Dahl on a  busy Sunday since all the Filipinos, including my family, were   preparing for the New Year’s Eve. I was just curling up with it at a bamboo chair in our living room, catatonic to the people bustling around. My absorption and enthrallment in it may have been so deafening to them, or they may have been intrigued   by  why I made different facial reactions whenever I turned the next pages. Then, it occurred to me that I had an important appointment with my best friend! But it was still past 2 O clock. Relief flooded over me and I kept at it. When it was already 4 O clock , I was on the verge of the last pages, but I was agitated.  I really had to go. She must have been waiting for me for minutes on end.  I dismissed   this guilty feeling, apathetic to whatever comeuppance I might get. Bahala na si Batman!

When I finished it, I blurted out ,“ I WANNA READ ANOTHER ROALD DAHL’s BOOKS!!!”  My younger sister and her friends who happened to have been playing in front of me gawked at me in surprise. I found myself clasping   my hands and   turning my head up. It was a childish and silly moment.

Although I have read some Roald Dahl’s books, I still was not his big fan. By golly, it has just occurred to me now that the only children book author I look up to and consider as my favorite one is Genaro Gojo Cruz, my countryman writer. Gee! I see. Anyway, I first read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory upon being fascinated by its movie adaptation. I liked the book so much because of the “psychological character” of Mr. Wonka played by award –winning Hollywood actor Johnny Depp. Thereafter, I wanted another one. However, I was disappointed when I read Charlie and the Glass Elevator because of its only-elementary-students-would-appreciate impact.  After all, I was anything but childish. Nevertheless, I still hung in there. I read and enjoyed Boy: Tales of Childhood . It’s not a fantasy, but a memoir of his childhood. The laconic  account of his miserable  but mischievous  childhood’s education  drove me nuts, reminding me of Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes. However, I was not falling in love with Dahl yet. In fact, I gave one of his  short story  The   Landlady a very low rating . I was no longer  interested  in his other stories given that I had planned to have Roald-Dahl-stories marathon, except my hidden desire for  Matilda and The BFG. As you know, I could not afford such books yet.

In light of Matilda, I now consider Roald Dahl as one of my favorite   children books writers. I enjoyed it a whole a lot. First, I loved her character as a precocious child. I am pretty sure that even book worms out there would be exhilarated by her early interest in reading books, especially that she even read the adults ones which are supposed to be heavy for  a young reader whose  IQ  is still underdeveloped. Thus, I am ashamed to say that I did not have the chance to read the books at early age  such as The Secret GardenGreat ExpectationsNicholas NicklebyOliver TwistJane EyrePride and PrejudiceTess of the d’UrbervillesGone to EarthKimThe Invisible ManThe Old Man and the SeaThe Sound and the FuryThe Grapes of WrathThe Good CompanionsBrighton RockAnimal FarmMoby DickIvanhoeThe Red Pony and Peter and Wendy.

The most exciting part about the book is Matilda’s tricks. Since she is a brilliant child, I  can’t wait to know the next situation on how she will play tricks on her apathetic dad, on  how she will engage in an argument with Mrs.  Trunchball, and on how she will help Ms. Jenny to get her house and money back by scaring  the living daylights out of her. It is a whodunit scene.

The book is worth reading because it is replete with moral lessons.For instance,  Matilda embodies intellectual humility granted that she is still innocent. It is our perception that a gifted child is supposed to have la di da attitude.

One of the things I have observed since I read Roald Dahl’s books is that most of his stories’ theme is about parents’ negligence   and wrong educational system. In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Mr. Wonka psychologically paints a picture of being an orphan, his hidden desire to get a paternal attention. In Boy: The Tales of Childhood, Dahl recollects his school life when he went through his teachers’ ill-treatment. In Matilda, Matilda’s parents are not responsible for their kids, depicted as apathetic and lazy parents. They are not even aware of Matilda’s brilliance mind. Furthermore, they don’t teach them good values. Rather, they inculcate their kids in the essence of business competition. Matilda’s father is a crooked businessman whereas her mother prefers pulchritude to intelligence.  Fortunately, despite her young age, Matilda is smart and mature enough to understand what is good or bad. Also, she is sensible and sensitive to the people around her.   On the other hand, the book   describes the rotten education system   represented by Ms. Trunchball. In this case, Roald Dahl appears to have used the same rhetoric patterns. It seems that he deeply drew  most of his stories from poverty, some kind of Charles Dickens style.

Supposedly, Matilda was part of my reading class with my Korean student.  My student was so generous to fault that she bought   me my own copy. In fact, we came to terms that I should not read it on weekends,except in our class. However, I could not hold back the temptation. (laughs) Whoa! I still have this tinge of Roald-Dahlic excitement. (laughs)

Rating: 5/ 5 stars ( I really liked it.)

 

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling: A Book Review

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A million thanks to my Santa Claus from the US 🙂

This may be a revelation to my Santa Claus who gifted me with it: I am not a certified fan of HP series. I could   have been  when it was initially released in 1997 or  adapted for a movie in 2001. I could have been one of those fanatics  burgeoned  around the world  mimicking  covens of wizards , waving our replicas of  magic wands while enchanting  the magic spells we memorize by heart, ostentatiously displaying our   black garbs  riding our brooms, or puzzled by how we should use the other magical objects.  But I never  am! Perhaps, I was mesmerized by my best friend ‘s  bewitching addiction to it. Whenever she grumbled about it  and shrieked in disappointment  or excitement without any ideas of her idiosyncrasy, a sparkle of curiosity  would linger in my mind. Whenever   she  was a spoiler  since I was not interested in it at all, I would not brush off the idea that it could be a good read. So, I made it!!! I read book 1, 2, and 3 even their movie series. As a matter of fact, I just borrowed them from her given that I was almost so kleptomaniac to claim them as mine. Thereafter, I quit keeping up with all the series; my urge to be part of the covens of wizards in Hogwarts caved in. I let myself be part of the “Muggle”, denied of the right  to be wriggled under  the Sorting Hat.

When  Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was released last year, I was one of those bookworms who pretended to be interested in it.  I was, but I threw doubt on it ;I was aware of the fact that I was a “Muggle “ . In fact, I even broke the news pell-mell to my friends on Facebook with my screenshot   from Goodreads as if I were such a certified HP fanatic.  Well, I was still excited I could hardly contain myself.

Since I could not afford  its price, I accidentally searched its free pdf on VK, one of the largest European online social networking services based in Russia.

The first questions that had bothered me before reading it were:

  • Can I understand the whole story although I have not read nor watched all the series yet?
  • Is it a sequel or prequel for the first Harry Potter series?
  • How does it differ from novelization since it is a screenplay?

Surprisingly speaking, I could totally relate to the whole story   because   I happened to read the first series and watch  Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I swear that from the beginning to the ending, I committed the scenes and acts  to my memory. I can even recite it in a nutshell   now   if you ask me what the dickens this book is all about! But don’t expect me to do so with a photographic memory. I was not born to be a precocious child. (laughs) I did so when I ate lunch with my friend who is also a big fan of HP. I could not believe   my ears what I was telling him about. Voilà! The most interesting is that even the magical objects namedropped  are still fresh in my memory despite that I searched them on Google to beef up their imaginary pictures. Now, the question is : Would you still understand it if you have not read Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire yet?

The first comment   that had instilled in me when it was such a fever in the market was it was the prequel for the first Harry Potter series. I had been conditioned with this idea before I finally gave it  a hand. The revelation? It is a big NAH! I was fooled! I was made believed! I was disappointed! I was spoon-fed! What a shame! As the story went deeper, the feeling was like  knocking  the living daylights out of my gullibility. So, I dreaded reading the next stories to happen. I worried that I might not be able to understand it since I have not read all the series yet. But good grief! Thanks graciousness! The Harry Potter and The Goblin of Fire was my savior! Now, the next question is: Which one is supposed to be better, it were a prequel or sequel?

When The Harry Potter fanatics found out that   the book  turned out to be a screenplay, they  miffed.They may have not been used to reading Harry Potter series in a screenplay. They may have thought that they would not enjoy it; novelizing a story has a kaleidoscope of literary elements. Well, count me in them! Nevertheless, it is not that bad. Reading it is so light! You could finish it for one day. Believe you me! Alas, I read it for a week because my job steals my valuable reading time. Now my verdict: It could be more exciting if it had been novelized.

As far  as I remember, I quit reading fantasy books when I started studying psychology. My major taught me  that everything in the world happens for a logic . Then, I no longer believed in magic. For me then, fantasy could be contrary to the Natural Laws of the Universe. Rather, the only books I read were based on scientific and philosophical   discussions. However, when I was tempted to read the first Harry Potter series, I slid back to my childhood  , fascinated with all the mysteries in the universe. Such reaction must be the initial effect when anybody, regardless of age and religion, tends to get hooked on it. My co-teacher left behind The Harry Potter  can bear witness to this ; recently, he has watched its movie series and now he is playing  like a child imitating the wizards of the Hogwarts , casting a spell ,whatever comes to his mind, on whomever he meets by chance , just for fun! ^_^

Now I wish to read  all the series in 2017.( crossing fingers)

Rating: 3/ 5 stars ( I liked it.)

Red Queen (Red Queen #1) by Victoria Aveyard : A Book Review

22328546When I tried to flip though the first pages ( since I don’t want to read PDFs), I noticed that the story seemed to be new to my taste :  I thought stealing was the theme. So, I talked through my hat that it could be the moral talk of the town. Is stealing really morally bad? It’s not a question at all.  With this  arousing idea, I  let myself  dig it  whenever I  couldn’t read a real book on a bus , or I didn’t want to bring my  bag full of the books I haven’t read yet. As the story went deeper, there were ambivalent revelations I had feared to read cynically. First, I found the themes, settings, and backdrops   garden-variety such as the love-story scenes, the climatic conflicts, and indescribable places beyond imagination, which could have been mutated from the ideas of other famous fantasy writers, and so on.  I’m almost familiar with them in other YAs I have read or in the movies I have watched. Nevertheless, what I liked about the book is its unconcealed but  irresistible  romance among the three main characters, theme on social stratification between the SILVER and the RED, and the unexpectedly tremendous  impact  upon me at the ending. Duh, I still can’t get over it.

In a world full of accessible and vicarious  information  where people tend to have the same ideas from one place to another, from one  generation to another, we tend to be almost familiar with the same work of different authors. Consequently, we look for something new whenever we are sick and tired of it. No doubt the culture  in different aspects changes. No doubt something unique stands out among the others. This case happens to a wide reader when he/she has read the same story over and over again. Let me now stop blathering. So when it comes to reading books, specifically romantic YAs,  for instance, I am almost familiar with the same settings such as a man meets a lady by accident. Then, they will fall in love with each other until they  have reached the  complete blissfulness . Of course, the climatic conflicts they will  go through is  the  love triangle.  The supporting-actor man will comfort the  main-character  lady , but he turns out to be a bad ass. But some YAs endings are so tragic that you may need a diaper for your unbearable flow of tears. Since the book is intended for young audience, nowadays, the theme should be about a la Edward –of-Twilight style- enchantingly dour and tough. Gee, for sure,  you may be tired of it if you’re no longer a teenybopper.

So when I noticed the blatant commonality, I was almost stooped to terminal boredom. I was somehow disappointed, and lost my interest. I wanted to X the PDF and find something new to read. Besides, I am sick and tired of the same   settings and backdrops  that have gone down in world literature. In fact,  the prose appears  not to be well-written but “ simple” , to put it mildly. Victoria Aveyard may have wanted  to reach out to all kinds of  readers   since it is a YA.  So, I should blame it on my literary standard.

To distract my careful scrutiny and make this book susceptible to my negative criticism, V.  Aveyard wants to impress me  by her  ingenious plot twists. She may have come up with a theme I as her audience might find new, fresh, and original. (I wish I were right. You may cite some literary works   from which she may have drawn impression. ) To be unique, the center of the theme is the social discrepancy between the Silver and the Red. The Silver are superior to the Red.They are powerful and the privileged, the god, but the Red are considered the dredge of society.All the rage in the story is the blood distinction. Your blood can be traced: If your blood is silver, you’re a Silver. You should not live in a world apart from the inferior- the Red whose blood is red. In short, the theme is literally about social stratification.  So, the book is shed with silver and red blood which curdled my blood.  

There is something somewhat different in this book despite that I did not feel these so-called “ romantic-excitement scenes”. The love triangle among the main characters is suppressible but irresistible, which somehow  gave me a little thrill. Hihihi Let me chortle in this coquettish way. In fact, I didn’t predict  the conflicts that would  center around them wherein the supporting  man turns out to be a protagonist despite the fact that I  could have predicted it too. Therefore, I was trapped! I wanted to cry bloody murder that I was betrayed too as the book has mentioned many times the quotable line:

Anyone can betray anyone.

When I was close to its ending, at that time, I lost sight of my finickiness. All the hell let loose. The clash of the Silver   revealed  the real drama of the bogus drama. I felt the adrenaline rush in my veins. I had this burning sensation of rage  as did the main  character: I also wanted to REVENGE , and now I am ready to do so in  the book 2: Glass Sword.  Grrrr!!!

Rating: 3/ 5 stars ( I  got angry.)

Si Janus Silang at ang Labanang Manananggal-Mambabarang ( Si Janus Silang # 2 ) by Edgar Calabia Samar: A Book Review

janus-silang-book-2Edgar Calabia Samar won the 34th Philippine National Book Awards  in 2015 for his book one , Si Janus Silang at ang Tiyanak ng Tabon , which I  lavished  with 5 stars, the highest rating on Goodreads.  If he is given another chance to be nominated for this year, I am pretty sure that he will gain the back-to-back victory. (Ang taray! ) If I had  a reputed name in the Philippine literature, I would  beat the drum for him. Or if I were one of the judges, I would campaign or lobby my fellow judges above-board for him to win. Just it is magically and terrifically beautiful! Mr. Samar is incredible!  Believe you me!

I did not expect this book two to be better than the book one. It is deeper, stuffier, and more creative- the abnormally mitosis product of his wild imagination. Besides, he galvanized all the neurons inside my body; I have found in this one how skilled in writing such a story Mr. Samar is. Marvelous! First, he mixes his story with the contemporary issues which every young adult  can relate to like the super typhoon Yolanda that killed thousands of people. Timely and relevant.That is why   he mentions on the first pages of his book that some situations were based on real life. Second, as usual, his trademark for using some characters based on Philippine folklores and myths. So if you are one of those students bored with studying Philippine literature, you might brush up on it again. Cool! Even I did take a fancy for it; I have learned  the lessons I had never learned by heart in school.

On the other hand, since it is now my book two, I have pretty noticed  Mr. Samar’s style of settings and conflicts and resolution. The pace of the story goes from the part that there is a mixture of suspense, thrill and awe to the heart-breaking part where the characters, which he must have predicted that his audience will be attached to, should sacrifice to die .The impact? It happened to me! I was totally devastated and annoyed at the author; then, I peevishly muttered under  my breath why he always intends to do so. Likewise, although I can guess some inconspicuous   inconsistencies, he may have intended to make the supporting character of Mang Joey, the leading  bagani, appear to be  foolishl. A bagani who is expected to be omnipotent turns out to be a pipsqueak. Well, as a rule, this kind of character is banal in novels. Thus, I cannot blot out of my mind the idea that Mr. Samar may have come to the point that he ran out of ideas ,unknowing how to get off the hook.  Just I am analyzing ,and I am now paralyzed as what the cliché goes!

The good thing is that the story is a very complicated case. Dude, how did Mr. Samar connect all the scenarios from the book one with the book two? The book one, on the one hand, is the revelation that there are mythical Philippine creatures beyond our imagination-creatures I had never heard of unless you know a lot of Philippine literature. So some words are so “nakakadugo ng ilong”. The book two, on the other hand, is like opening a Pandora’s box where the other covey of mythical creatures clambers out until they are on the loose. The upshot of it is that you had better find a safe hideout protected with sanyang. Gee, otherwise, it is going to be like a walking-dead scene. Besides, it is a challenge for a writer to create anothe scenarios which should be relevant to the book one. In this case, Mr. Samar is indeed creative and genius. Ikaw na!

One of the things I had not been able to do as a voracious reader is reading a book series just the like of Harry Potter by J.K Rowling and Lord of the Ring by J. L Tolkien … During that time, I still was not active on Goodreads. Besides, if I like to read them , although I appear to be a late reader, I still cannot afford them; they can still percolate my purses. Yay! Nevertheless, there is one thing I will for sure follow up with: Si Janus Silang, a very Filipino fiction created by our very own writer Edgar Calabia Samar.

Good luck, Mr. Samar. I am now your avid  fan, so I am planning to read your other works.

Rating: 5/ 5 stars ( It’s amazing.)

Si Janus Sílang at ang Tiyanak ng Tábon (Janus Sílang #1) by Edgar Calabia Samar: A Book Review

Hey, folks. It’s been a long time. Although I am an avowed atheist, I still want to greet you all a belated Merry Christmas.

The good thing is I had a decent time to be left to my reading during the Christmas break.  I got the crack to read the two books written by my fellow Filipino writer, Edgar Calabia Samar. I received these two from our monito’t monita during our company’s Christmas party. As usual, books are my wishes whenever we have this kind of occasion; otherwise, I tend to have   a bland face . As long as possible, all I want to receive on special days is just books, books, books! I love books. ^__^

22011229I have read a great deal of positive feedback about this. My fellow blogger reviewed that it is likened to the Harry Potter and Lord of the Ring series of  Britain or to anything else out there considered world-class. Someone on Goodreads shouts out to the world that it is “ang lupet! ” . Also, someone  outspoken   professed that he is willing to die, ignoring the fact that the “Tiyanak” might  come out to bite out  his throat and stomach; he insisted on giving it 5 stars on Goodreads  no matter what you find fault with this.  As a matter of fact, with a special mention to Manix Abrera, the master mind of KikoMachine, reviewed that   this is one of the most frightening and hair-raising stories he has ever read. He also added that there were the moments that he would turn back because his hair would stand on end in fear that something might have been sneaking behind him. Ok. I am not against their opinions. I totally agree. Whoa! I belong to you folks.

If you are Filipino, I highly recommend you read it. Give it a try.  I promise you will like it as well as end up appreciating our very own fiction. First, it is not that cringingly old-fashioned or “baduy “. Do not be mindful of what some “anglicized” hubris put that reading local books makes a dull head of you. They must not even have a reliably scientific term paper to claim so. Rather, you can relate to it, especially if you like playing online  games . Besides, the author’s writing style is unique and  not that super slang nor super archaic. It is balanced. I may suggest it an oxymoron of informality and formality. Thus, anyone can read it regardless of your age, sex, religion, or whatsoever. In the end, you will put the feather on your cap I bet.  Alas, it has not been translated yet for foreign readers   as what happened to his   short-listed one  for Asian Man Literary Prize ,  Walong Diwata ng Pagkahulog after it was catapulted to fame.

I muttered under my breath   while reading it that for sure, young -adult readers who are addicted to playing computer games, needless to say the now-defunct , if I am not mistaken, DOTA ( Defense of the Ancient ), will  really like it. Besides, it reminded me of  my another university classmate who , aside from that he is a closet bookworm because he never brags about reading a lot, is known for  addiction to DOTA. I will share it with him once I meet him. I guess he is aware of it.

Granted that it deals with online computer games, and that I do not like reading   books more on fantasy since I believe in scientific reasons, I still enjoyed it   a whole lot. In fact, I got interested in it because the author   conceptualized a very Filipino game. Instead, he created the characters out of famous Filipino myths and legends  such as dwende, nuno, aswang, mambabarang, manananggal, tiyanak, bagani , pusong, diwata, and so forth. With these settings, I can totally relate to the story since I have learned all of them. So I got a thrill out of it. My hair stood on end. I was nervous, worried, angry until I burst into tears when the protagonist’s mother died. Shit! It was Christmas when I was reading it.

As the climax of the story goes, I am amazed at Edgar Calabia Samar’s writing skills more. It is wonder how he is able to incorporate the Filipino life and his fondness  for Philippine literary figures into such a story. Besides, obviously I can surmise, he makes sure that every angle of the story is consistent to each other without any plot holes about which a reader will be very cynical.  And I admit to overlooking   some of them just this book is rather remarkable- a tour de force. Period.

For my foreign folks, the center of the story is the Tala which means star . The main characters have to find it (Tala )through an online game, so the melodramatic game  will  be over. However, since the story is pretty interesting, I do not have the foggiest idea when the author will finish it. Of course, it is understood that he will capitalize on its fame. Besides, he must still have a large panoply of ideas  running into his head.

Up next , my review of its part two: Si Janus Silang at ang Labanang Manananggal – Mambabarang.

Rating: 5/ 5 stars ( It’s amazing.)

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The presents I received during the X-mas party