Monday, March 17, 2008

Book Review: Afraid: The Best Philippine Ghost Stories edited by Danton Remoto

Every Monday, I'll be doing spoiler-free book reviews.

In the introduction of this anthology, Remoto writes that one of the reasons why these stories are the best is because "these stories are told in well-written yet accessible prose." If that is your criteria, then this book pulls it off as each of the stories are quick, easy reads and is best characterized by the neatness of the prose. As to whether they're actually scary, your mileage may vary but there is undeniable competence in the writing. Another consistent factor is the brevity of the stories: long enough as to not be classified as flash fiction but you won't be finding 10,000-word epics here, which is probably just as well considering most of the stories feature plot twists and sudden shocks. Afraid is actually quite thin at under a hundred pages and printed on one of the thinnest papers available. There are only ten stories here but then again, the original price of this book was P75.00 ($2.00). My favorite story in the collection is "The Portrait" by Jose Ma. Espino and contains many strong elements that makes a good horror story, namely seeding and a steady build-up of suspense. Overall, this is really a worthwhile purchase, along the lines of reading material you'll devour in one sitting and (unfortunately) easily disposable. This anthology isn't striving for depth but then again, it's not cheap thrills variety either. Remoto in my opinion did a good job in maintaining the consistency of the writing and at the price I bought it, is easily recommendable.

Rating: 3/5.

Rating System:

1 - There are better ways to spend your time.
2 - Ho hum books, usually typical of its genre. Probably only recommendable to die-hard fans.
3 - A cut above the rest, usually with one or more elements that sets it apart from the norm.
4 - Highly recommended and is easily a pioneer of the genre.
5 - A classic or it will be.

1 comment:

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