Book: Revelations (Book Two of the Naermyth Series)

"Revelations"

It’s been six months after the events in Capiz. Athena fears her developing powers, knowing it’s only a matter of time before she loses control.

Meanwhile, the tension between Naermyth and humanity is growing. Macky believes Mamon is again engaged in shady operations. When Athena is sent to Intramuros to investigate, she triggers a chain of events that pit her against an entity far more malevolent than anything she’s ever encountered.

Full disclosure: I didn’t reread the first Naermyth book before cracking this book open. I wanted to see how this book holds up, considering it’s been a decade since Naermyth, the book it’s following, came out. That, and because I didn’t really have the time.

Good news: it’s easy to jump into the action. Although Revelations references a lot of events from the first book, it also provides enough context to make sure the readers understand what’s going on. I do have to admit that I got confused about how characters were related to everyone–but that was only in the beginning. Author Karen Francisco gave each character, especially the supporting ones, a broad enough stroke that you can pinpoint who they are in relation to our heroine.

And now comes the bad part–

Although my memory of Athena Dizon as she was in the first book is hazy, I still prefer her there than who she has become in Revelations. There’s a good chance this is nostalgia talking, but I thought Francisco handled Athena’s stoic nature better in Naermyth. In this book, I felt like the author relied a little too much on the reader being privy to Athena’s thoughts to justify her actions.

And speaking of being privy to Athena’s thoughts– I have a bone to pick with Revelations being in first-person. I admire how Francisco handled foreshadowing, and planting things to make certain twists not come left-of-field… But it made Athena’s character weak. We establish that she’s smart and savvy, that she notices a lot of things–and because the book is in first person, she takes note of Francisco’s planted plot devices too. So when the twists finally come, and Athena is taken aback, it makes her look stupid. She already noticed the discrepancies. Why wasn’t she able to put two and two together? (This was also my concern with Pierce Brown’s Morning Star.)

Athena’s character and the first-person perspective aside though, Revelations does show Karen Francisco’s growth as a writer. This book had better plotting and pacing, there’s a better sense of urgency and gravity, and most importantly, although this book is double the size of the first book–it’s an even faster read.

Francisco has improved exponentially as a story-teller. Her editors, on the other hand, might want to take another pass at the book, because some of the typos were jarring.

So was Revelations a good sequel to Naermyth? Yes. Was its release worth the wait? Yes. Does it end on another cliffhanger? Well… the fact that they’re calling it the second book off a series should answer your question.

All I’m hoping for now is that Francisco and Visprint don’t let another decade pass before the next book comes out.

(Disclaimer: A decade didn’t pass between the two books. I was exaggerating. But it has been almost eight years since Naermyth came out.)

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book: naermyth

"naermyth" by karen franciscoi found NAERMYTH while i was searching for the filipino horror books that had been recommended a month ago. i don’t actually remember how exactly i came upon it, but i remember being really intrigued with the book’s premise:

what if the mythical creatures we thought weren’t true, were actually true? and what if in the near future, they would’ve taken back the world from us?

this is the world of NAERMYTH; the story is set in an undisclosed time in the near future, where every human is equal–poverty is a thing of the past. or, to be more exact, is a thing of five years ago, before hell came out from down below.

we follow the character of athena, also known as aegis, a soldier tasked with defending and saving refugees and victims of the war between humans and naermyths. a shepherd. during one of her missions, she discovers dorian, a mysterious man who seems to have no recollection of the past five years–whose last memory is of the world before the naermyths revealed themselves to be true.

but what athena doesn’t know is that dorian just maybe the most dangerous creature in the land–but at the same time, he could be their only hope in the losing war they’re fighting against the naermyths.

one of the reasons i was intrigued with the book was its dystopian feel: set in the future, world has gone to hell, and a band of unlikely people leading a pack of survivors to victory or salvation. there are many dystopian novels out there; but this one was set in the philippines–and written by a filipino. so obviously, i was intrigued.

the other reason is because it dealt with the aswang–and not just the usual kind. i’m happy to say that the batibat, the pasatsat, even the bakunawa, among others, were represented here. and, except for the case of the bakunawa, i liked how the author tweaked the creature’s traits to fit the new world she created.

the story itself is solid enough. it has the elements of action, adventure and romance all set in a future world where one of these things is a rarity. it’s also a well-plotted book, as things that were mentioned in passing at the first part of the book, plays a more important role as the book nears it closing chapters.

my only bone of contention with the book was that you can see the twists happening before it actually happens. and the thing with twists is that they’re supposed to catch you by surprise. then again, i am happy that these so-called “twists” have actual basis, and none of them come out of the blue. so this is a tricky thing.

i guess the important thing in the end is that i liked the book enough, and don’t regret purchasing it and reading it.

and also, it’s a good thing i didn’t see the book trailer before i purchased and read the book. otherwise, the only thing running in my head while holding the book is: since when did we have cubones in philippine folklore? also, the book trailer contains a pretty big spoiler.

check out the book’s own website.

and tina of One More Page posted a review of the book at her site.