The novel chronicles the story of a small town , Dasalin, which is situated north of the Philippines that is being haunted by flying creatures known as langbuans. Langbuans are like the crossbreed of zombies and aswang (a vampire-like ghoul with wings in Filipino culture). They drain out heat from the humans that they touch eventually killing that person. The creatures only appear once a month during ghost moon night when there is no moon hence the name “langbuan”, taken from two Tagalog words “walang” meaning no/not present and “buwan” which refers to the moon.
The story starts when a group of pirates was caught trying to steal some of the boats of the villagers. As a punishment they were left to die in the beach but before they succumbed to death a curse was cast that on every ghost moon night the village will be visited by the langbuans. And before the pirates die they were able to tell the secret as to how to ward off the langbuans to a boy who because of his good heart tried to save them to death but eventually failed. Who is that boy? That’ll spoil the book so might as well leave it like that. 🙂
The story then jumped 75 years later. And there we meet Antonio Pulido, the main protagonist in the story. A teenage boy coming into terms with what he wants contrasting with what other wants for his life. Then there’s the priest, coming into terms with his new life from city life to province life. Then the villagers coming into terms with everyday life and with the attacks of the langbuans.
What interested me first with the book is the setting which is the Philippines. I have since been wanting to read a book that touches the topic of Philippine folklores. The author is a Filipina living in US and I like how she was able to describe the culture and the people of the Philippines in a very realistic way. There’s the strong family conenction among families, different superstitions, the bayanihan, fiesta and parades and offerings for a bountiful harvest among others. I myself is form the province working in the city now and me not being able to go home for quite a long time now made me miss my hometown because of this book. The province life was depicted perfectly and just enough to picture how life was so simple in the province.
The book is also full of delightful characters. The primary reason why I like the book is because of the characters. I like the ensemble of antagonists and protagonists. Such a perfect balance. The main protagonist is very likeable and whom one can easily relate to. The supporting characters grew with the main character as the story progressed. I like Jose the most, he’s the bestfriend of Antonio. He’s an easy-go-lucky guy who has a deep sense of humor. I can’t help but LOL on his antics and lines.
I like how the author was able to portray the different conflicts in the story. There is that conflict with religion and tradition, conflict within the family and conflict within self. The book also discussed how decisions could make or break a person. How we should be responsible with the decisions that we make and make a strong stand to what we believe in.
Being a mystery-thriller novel, the book is action packed. This is a novel where there is literally no dull moment. I like how spontaneous the book is and how it was able to maintain the momentum throughout the book. Aside form the langbuan, the novel also have other creatures which made the story even more creepier like the tiyanak (a vampiric creature taking the form of a baby) and other sorts of ghosts. I like how that author was able to play with my imagination.
One of the strong points also of the are the subplots. There’s romance, tragedy and other adventures. I like how that author was able to work with the subplots and she made it worked to make the main plot stronger.
As for the ending, I liked the twist in it. I like how the revelations were presented. There are no loose ends. Everything ended smoothly. After finishing the book, it made me want to clamor for more from the author. Maybe a sequel perhaps? 😉
Overall, this book is worth the read. I just couldn’t put into writing how I enjoyed the book. I recommend it to others who like to read folklores and wants to introduce themselves to other cultures. This book is a great start to those who wants to introduce themselves to Philippines folklores.
An easy 5/5 for me.