Book: Tomb Keeper

"Tomb Keeper"

After the near-disastrous attempt to exorcise the Manila Film Center, Fr. Nilo Marcelo and the spirit communicators vowed never to set foot in there again. But what followed after was a revelation that compels them to return for one final visit. And armed with fresh knowledge about his old adversary, Bishop Miguel Agcaoili leads them back to a fateful confrontation.

On the one hand, Tomb Keeper is infinitely better (in writing and pacing) than Tragic Theater. For the uninformed (which, I’m guessing is many) this book is the sequel to the much-maligned (by me) debut novel by G. M. Coronel. But although I have written that it is better than Tragic Theater, that doesn’t mean that this book is actually any good.

Honestly, I don’t know why I picked the book up. Maybe I was curious if the author did improve, or maybe (deep inside) I wanted to know just how author Coronel would clean up the mess that was Tragic Theater‘s ending. Spoiler alert: he cops out.

In Tomb Keeper, G. M. Coronel flits to and fro two different periods of time: one during the Spanish era, and the other in the year following the events of the first book. I think he mentions somewhere the exact date, but all I know is that it is set in the year prior to the opening of the Amazing Philippines Theater, a theater group that featured transgendered performers. And was managed by a Korean businessman.

Anyway, sorry for going off on a tangent. Where was I? Ah, yes– two time periods.

For me, the Spanish era component doesn’t really add anything to the story. I thought it would. I really thought it would provide answers and not just waste time. I was wrong. It’s just filler. On the plus side, this is better filler than Tragic Theater‘s long prayers (and answers) that take up so much space, but also add nothing to the story.

And speaking of fillers, there’s a chapter in the book that reads more like a travelogue than actual plot movement. I don’t know what the author was thinking, writing about delicious mangoes in the middle of a horror novel, but again it adds nothing to the story. It distracts and detracts. And the person dealing with the mangoes isn’t even the main character– Or was he?

If Tragic Theater‘s Annie was a flawed (and unlikeable) main character, Tomb Keeper suffers from having an ensemble cast with no clear lead. We jump from one character to the next at the drop of a hat, not for the sake of the story–but for the sake of having a page-turning cliffhanger. While it works for the most part, it’s more annoying than satisfying, especially when you learn at the end of the book that there really aren’t any answers to be had. That reading Tomb Keeper, much like the exorcisms in the book, is nothing but an exercise in futility.

Obviously, I didn’t like the book. But maybe, somewhere in the vast space of the internet, someone did? Let’s check out its page at Good Reads.