Sa tournament ng TALA Online sa bayan ng Balanga, namatay ang lahat ng manlalaro maliban kay Janus. Sunod-sunod pa ang naging kaso ng pagkamatay ng mga kabataan sa computer shops sai ba’t ibang panig ng bansa. Kinontak si Janus ng nagpakilalang Joey, isa rin umano sa mga nakaligtas sa paglalaro ng TALA na gaya niya. Hindi inasahan ni Janus ang mga matutuklasan niya mula rito na mag-uugnay sa kanya sa misteryo ng kinahuhumalingan niyang RPG—at sa alamat ng Tiyanak mula sa Tábon!
Haay Filipino Literature, Salamat sa Diyos, I am rediscovering it. It started with romance and now I have Filipino YA books to read. Ako naman ay tunay na masaya 😀
I discovered Janus Silang through a recommendation from a friend (Chrissie Peria). I was asking around if there were any Filipino Young Adult books and Lo and Behold! There is Janus Silang at ang Tiyanak ng Tabon.
Online games, which play a big part in the story, usually starts with a tutorial. But Janus Silang begins in the middle of the action. Death, actually. Where after qualifying for an online tournament of TALA, he discovers that the other players are dead.
I’ve been a gamer since I can remember and Ragnarok Online was something I played rather additively (in fact, that’s where I met my husband) and I can absolutely understand how addicted Janus was. Initially knowing that the book was about online gaming, I expected Janus to be the troublesome, game addicted kid. Pasaway ba. He may have some money making scheme to have enough cash to play but Janus has a strong love for his family, which is a trait imbedded in Filipinos, I loved how he would put into consideration his dad’s words. And how he would think about his mother and sister, Juno. But like a typical teen for his age, Janus hides all these feelings and just does what he can. He also has a crush on his friend Mica. It was very cute to read his perfect plan to get a kiss from her. A real kiss, mind you, not some simple smack on the cheeks. (Oo nga naman!!)
As the story progresses and the investigation on the deaths continue, Janus learns many things about himself and the life he thought he knew. He meets fellow survivors and learns of the history of TALA. Many creatures he thought were the stuff of myth, he suddenly finds out really exists.
One of the strongest elements of the book for me is the use of local colour and Philippine Myth. With the setting in a provincial town of Balanga, it was a great atmosphere for alot supernatural and mysticism. Kudos to Samar for building the perfect setting and using Philippine Myth so effectively that I couldn’t read it at night. I’ve faced vampires, battled Greek gods and ran away from a 100 demon march but that tiyanak following Renzo sent the hairs on my skin standing up. Things really are scarier when they’re closer to home. And Edgar has taken full advantage of that.
All in all, Janus Silang is a wonderful (scary) read. It has a great plot, what I think a Young Adult book should be. I loved Samar’s writing style and how he revealed all those plot twists that left my mouth open in surprise. Special mention would be those last sentences in the chapters that had me taking a deep breath (gotta watch out for those!). Personally, I wouldn’t would tag this series as Percy Jackson-ish or Harry Potter-ish. To me, it’s a whole different level, a mix of Filipino Myth, online gaming and horror.
Abangan ang susunod na kabanata sa buhay ni Janus Silang! (Watch out for the next chapter in Janus Silang’s life!)
If you want to learn more about the author, Edgar Calabia Samar, visit his facebook page, twitter and goodreads. If you are interested in Filipino Children’s Literature, please visit the book’s publisher’s website, Adarna House 🙂