Review: Janus Silang at ang Labanáng Manananggal-Mambabarang

Friday, September 23, 2016
26347202Title: Janus Silang at ang Labanáng Manananggal-Mambabarang (Janus Silang #2)
Author: Edgar Calabia Samar
Genres: YA Fantasy, Adventure
Publication Date: September 2015
Publisher: Adarna House

Apat na buwan na si Janus sa mansiyon nina Manong Joey sa Agono pero naroon pa rin ang sakit ng dilang-karayom ng manananggal sa puso niya dahil sa pagkawala ng mga mahal sa buhay at sapilitang paglayo kay Mica.

Simula ng Christmas break nang mawasak ang proteksiyon ng mansiyon laban sa Tiyanak at sa mga kampon nito. Matinding barang ba ito? Nawawala rin si Mira, ang isa sa kambal na baganing kasing-edad ni Janus at inampon din nina Manong Joey. Ipinagtapat naman ni Renzo kay Janus ang matagal na palang sinusundan ni Manong Isyo: bumalik sa mapa ng utak ng dalawang manong ang brain imprint ng Papa ni Janus at maaaring buhay pa pala ito!

Similar to the first book, Janus Silang at ang Labanang Mambabarang-Manananggal was bottom-heavy. I would like to say that this one blew me away like the first book, but honestly, I felt disappointed. I think I am one of the few strange ones who didn’t like this that much. I clung to words when I first read Janus Silang, and waited for the second book to come out, since it ended with a cliffhanger. This time around, I had a very hard time to finish reading it.

While I couldn’t put the first book down as its words come to life, it was a different case for the second book. I felt that the entire book was draggy. Yes, I understand that things need to be set-up for better understanding in future events. I also understand how the histories of the mythical creatures were needed, especially since they were transformed into something modern and technological to fit into the story. However, they all felt disjoined and it seemed like I was reading disconnected stories within a story, which made everything difficult to the point that I found myself skipping some narrative parts. The bad thing is, even as I do this, I didn’t find myself questioning why a certain event in the latter part happened, which makes me doubt the importance of the background history of the mythical creatures.

I think the problem was how I felt that the situation was so alarming, yet I could not feel a sense of urgency from the characters. Reading this one felt like I was going through a character introduction and straightforward character development that made it feel less of a story, and more of a tedious, lengthy essay. While the plot starts to pick up towards the last few chapters, it felt like I was reading through a plotline formula. Even so, there is still much potential and Janus Silang remains to be one of the best local YA novel I’ve read so far. While I did not fall in love with the second book, I hope that the third book will be a lot better since the second book ended yet again with a cliffhanger. Also, since I think that the second book was all about setting up the plot, I think that sequel will be a lot better, and I look forward to its release.

Edgar Calabia Samar is a multi-awarded poet and novelist from the Philippines. His first novel, Walong Diwata ng Pagkahulog, received the NCCA Writer’s Prize in 2005, and its English translation as Eight Muses of the Fall was longlisted in the Man Asian Literary Prize in 2009. In 2013, he received two Philippine National Book Awards––one for his second novel, Sa Kasunod ng 909 (Best Novel), and another for his book on the creative process, Halos Isang Buhay: Ang Manananggal sa Pagsusulat ng Nobela (Best Book of Criticism). Si Janus Silang at ang Tiyanak ng Tabon, the first book in his YA series Janus Silang, also received the Philippine National Book Award for Best Novel in 2015 and the Philippine National Children’s Book Award for Best 2014-2015 Read in 2016. He has also received prizes for his poetry and fiction from the Palanca and the PBBY-Salanga Writer’s Prize. His other books include Pag-aabang sa Kundiman: Isang Tulambuhay, a poetry collection, and 101 Kagila-gilalas na Nilalang, a children's encyclopedia of Philippine fantastic creatures. In 2010, he was invited as writer-in-residence to the International Writing Program of the University of Iowa.


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