Eliza Victoria is really taking the theme of Philippine folklore and Philippine urban fantasy to a whole new level! I really did not imagine that there will come a time that I will fully believe that local gods and deities worshiped by our ancestors do really exist and they live and walk with us without us noticing. This book really made me believe that.
Eliza Victoria is the author of Dwellers which won the 2015 Philippine National Book Development Board National Book Award for Fiction Novel in English which I also enjoyed reading. Check out review here. Wounded Little Gods is one of the books that I bought on this year’s Manila International Book Fair.
The book follows the story of Regina, a young lady who moved from his rural home to the city to work. She became friends with one of her workmates, Diana. Regina was able to know more about Diana when she got the chance to visit where Diana stays. She was able to see Diana’s collection of books about eugenics which totally intrigued her. I made a simple research about it and Merriam-Webster defines eugenics as a science that tries to improve the human race by controlling which people become parents. Now that’s the light definition. Hitler somewhat used that belief in exterminating the Jews when he was in power. As the History News Network puts it, “eugenics was the racist pseudoscience determined to wipe away all human beings deemed “unfit,” preserving only those who conformed to a Nordic stereotype.” Now that’s creepy. Well, I myself would also be weirded out and intrigued if those are the majority of the books that I see if I visit a friend’s house. That discovery by Regina will somehow make sense as the story progressed. The book’s tension immediately picks up it’s momentum with Diana missing and Regina trying to unravel the mystery behind her disappearance. Before Diana has gone missing, Regina was left with a map that lead her back to her hometown, Heridos. A town that has a rich history. History that will take readers back to the ages where people still worship gods to the time that science took over.
Using her uncanny ability, she tried to piece every clue that she got. With no one else from whom she can ask help, she decided to work alone with her curiosity driving her to go on. She found herself in places that do not exist. Why is she the only one who can see and visit this creepy building in the middle of a prohibited lot? Met people who really are not who they appear to be. who are these people getting in the way of her search in knowing the truth? Who really is Diana? Discover her town’s secret that everyone wants to forget. what is this secret medical facility built in their town way back that offered “rehabilitation of kids” with attitudes considered by their families as unfit to the society which included “medical experiments” far advance at that time? And learned family revelations that made her almost question her own sanity. Is her family the perfect family like what she think it is?
This is only the third book that I read from her and I really have to commend how vividly she writes and how solid she builds the world that she creates. How she weaves her story is so intricate and she really know how to build up the momentum. The way she presents her world and the way she describes it is so good that it will totally immersed you. And guess what, she does it by using simple words and the simplest of ways which is a plus for me because I am not really a fan of authors who likes to use “flowery” words in describing just a simple act or a simple scene. Her writing is on point and direct but not in a way that will you make you feel that it was rushed. The book has this right balance between it’s pacing and storytelling that works perfectly with how the tension in the book escalates. She know how to trick and play with the emotions and imagination of her readers. She’ll glue you to every page until you reach the end. In just only a couple of pages, Victoria was able to write a very satisfying book that really made me think about some ethical questions that I won’t discuss here as it would be a spoiler but for sure if you’ll read the book you’ll get me.
She present characters that have relatable flaws who you can easily recognize, normal characters who can be anyone that you meet in the street experiencing the same traffic like you do and facing the same stress at work. However one thing that I have to point out is I just wished that the characters are even more fleshed out. They are relatable but there’s that feeling that you want to know them more. I wouldn’t mind knowing more bout their background especially the “gods” as that would be fascinating. That would also in way make the readers even more connect to their past and their story and their reactions to certain situations. The could’ve made the book even more engaging.
But overall, I did enjoy this book. This is a good read. If you’re looking for a book that has touches of philosophy, ethics, science and history thrown into it then definitely this is a book for you. It’s short but it has depths to it. It has good family dynamics. It talks about love in a lot of forms and its complexities.
4 stars out of 5.
Author: Eliza Victoria
Part of a Series: No
Release Year: 2016
Publisher: Visprint, Inc.
No. of Pages: 230 pages
About the Author
Eliza Victoria is the author of several books including the National Book Award-winning Dwellers (2014) and the novel Wounded Little Gods (2016). Her fiction and poetry have appeared in several online and print publications, including Daily Science Fiction, Stone Telling, Room Magazine, Story Quarterly, The Pedestal Magazine, High Chair, and the Philippine Speculative Fiction anthologies. Her work has won prizes in the Philippines’ top literary awards, including the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature and the Philippines Free Press Literary Awards. She has also been nominated for the Philippines’ National Children’s Book Awards (Jeremy’s Magic Well). A story of hers (“Dan’s Dreams”) is included in The Year’s Best YA Speculative Fiction 2013, featuring the best young adult stories from around the world. (Goodreads)