Book: A Time for Dragons

"A Time for Dragons" edited by Vincent Michael SimbulanA Time for Dragons collects seventeen stories and an essay that breathe new life to these majestic creatures of the imagination. Between these covers you will find tales of action, adventure, horror, fantasy, humor and mystery, refreshingly written with voices that are unmistakably Filipino, and all of them invariably filled with a sense of wonder.

I would like to start with a disclaimer saying that I really like this anthology. Really, I do. But there are two things I need to get off my chest first: one, some of the stories in the anthology are really hard to follow; and two, I have a bone to pick with the “written with voices that are unmistakably Filipino” part of the book’s synopsis.

Let’s start with the last one; not all of the stories in A Time for Dragons are “written with voices that are unmistakably Filipino.” I mean, who’s to say if something really is “unmistakably Filipino?” A few of the stories here though are decidedly not very Filipino. And I mean this as a compliment. Some of the stories here are the type I’d expect in foreign anthologies. Meaning, they’ve transcended the local color. So I don’t get the label of “unmistakably Filipino” being attached to this anthology, when it’s really not that important when you read the book.

Of course, having read the blurb, I really expected all the stories to have a Filipino voice. So I was both proud (that it wasn’t the case) and a little disappointed (that it was marketed as such).

As for my other observation, about some of the stories being a little harder to read–it basically boils down to this: they read like required readings for a subject at school. You know how some of our school readings are actually cool–but because they’re required for class, you put reading them off to the last possible moment? That’s how I felt with some of the stories. That or because, in the case of one particular story, I felt stupid because it took me a couple of readings before I understood what the writer was saying.

With all of that said, I am definitely recommending A Time for Dragons to anyone who likes to read about dragons.

Here are a few reviews of the anthology I found online:
Wandering Star
Good Reads

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