The book didn’t come with a synopsis, just a scene excerpt at the back. An excerpt I should’ve read, so I could’ve had a little warning at the horrors waiting for me between the pages.
No, the story isn’t scary. The writing is. And I know I shouldn’t judge the book harshly, as it was written by someone who just wants to write, but this was an actual published book. The least the publisher could’ve done was to clean it up. It’s a thankless job, but hey, someone has to do it. You don’t just publish something just because it’s popular online.
This is the first Wattpad novel I’ve read outside of Summit Books’ Pop Fiction line. Seeing as I was already having problems with how Pop Fiction was hacking into the Wattpad novels and publishing less than stellar books, I thought I should look into other publishers to see if they were doing things differently. Based solely on Magkabilang Mundo, Summit Books has a leg up in the competition.
Magkabilang Mundo, or Opposite Worlds, tell the story of star-crossed lovers who transcend death and reincarnation to find their way back into each other. It’s a solid plot for a romance novel, but the execution leaves much to be desired. None of the characters are likeable, and the writer can’t seem to decide whether he (or she) is writing a love story, or a horror novel. How so? His main female protagonist alternates between a lovesick ghost, and a malevolent one hellbent on driving away the people who live in the house haunts. It’s a characteristic you can marry together, but let’s just say that I wouldn’t have been surprised if the book ended up saying there were two different ghosts in the house. The character was that disjointed.
And, to be fair to publisher Lovelink, I don’t think Magkabilang Mundo is something an editor could salvage without demanding major rewrites from the author. This isn’t like Pop Fiction’s The Bet which just needed some tweaking and expanding, but was pretty much okay for a non-professional writer’s work. Or He’s Dating the Ice Princess which would’ve worked with a few cuts, and some rearranging of events. Magkabilang Mundo is a mess of a story because the writer doesn’t really know who his main characters are. Half the book is told from the point of view of peripheral characters who end up not really doing anything except provide fake tension!
So I go back to blaming Lovelink. What made them think that this book was worth publishing?
Yes, I would like for more Filipinos to read books. Yes, these new generation of published works are generating more readers. But why can’t we provide something that wouldn’t turn them off from reading? Pop Fiction books make me want to strangle someone, but I can see the potential. This one just makes me want to strangle someone and stop buying local books altogether. And I’m not just being haughty and elitist here. Magkabilang Mundo is hard to read, not because it’s in Filipino, but because it meshes words that no one really uses anymore with expressions that are very, well, crudely 2013. Nothing jives.
I’m fine with Magkabilang Mundo existing online. I swear. If it gets read, then well and good. But I feel offended that it’s been mass-produced and given a prominent place in bookstores, when books like Karen Francisco’s Naermyth, Eliza Victoria’s Project 17, Edgar Samar’s Janus Silang, all of these better (and just as accessible) books, have been relegated to the back of stores. Heck, a Precious Pages book is easier to read than this. More enjoyable too.