This is going to be a first for me: I’m reviewing TAGALOG work.
I typically don’t do that because, despite being a Filipino living in the Philippines, I’m not all that fluent in Tagalog (or any of the many dialects of our country). I have trouble immersing myself in non-English work, and am always afraid that I won’t do the review justice.
But then I read Janus Silang Books 1 and 2. And while I can’t really say I’ll be able to offer comprehensive review of this local YA series, I can make up for it in fangirling. Because holy crap, these books are amazing AND THE SERIES ISN’T DONE YET. I’m also looking forward to some proper English translations for the benefit of my non-Filipino friends.
PS: In light of this deviation from my usual readings, I won’t be following my usual review format and will instead go a little more freestyle than usual.
But there might still be spoilers, so if you’re still interested – I’ll see you after the jump 😀
What you need to know about Janus Silang
Janus Silang is a talented teen gamer who learns that not everything is as it seemed—not the world, not the game, and not even his family. After surviving a mysterious incident that took the life of a friend, he is plunged into a world steeped in horror and Philippine mythology, trapped in a conflict that has been going on since the beginning of time.
What is so fascinating about this character in particular is the tension between his desire to give and fear of giving trust. It’s clear that Janus finds it easy to care for people, and likes sharing parts of his life with others. At the same time, however, he’s experienced enough trauma to know that trust can have its price. Seeing him struggle with this tension has been amazing.
Equally amazing is the world-building of author Edgar Calabia Samar. Not only did he successfully re-imagine Philippine mythology in a way that made it fresh, he also came up with a fictional online game that made me want to go back to my MMORPG days. I’m torn between wanting that thing to exist in real life (s0 I can play it) and hoping no one makes this game (so I won’t destroy my life playing it).
Everything from the lore of the world’s creation to the purpose of the game’s existence has been well-thought out and are delightfully surprising to me. It’s almost as if I’m discovering all this alongside Janus. I was with him in his exhilaration and his terror of this new old world.
I was with him in the devastation this has caused so far.
I’m starting to hope that this could be turned into some kind of TV miniseries with subtitles just so more people can enjoy it (because not everyone is into reading, and not everyone I know can understand Tagalog).
If you have money and can read this in its native language, I heartily recommend that you buy these books. That way, we can wait for Book 3 TOGETHER.
BECAUSE BOOK 2 ENDED THE WAY IT DID OMG.