3 out of 4 stars
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The Islands Tell Of It by Patty Fischer is the first book of The Aswang Trilogy. The city of Anderson, Indiana, became a scene of horrible crimes only a monster could commit. And it truly was a monster, for a survived victim, Melanie Rossen, described a horrifying creature that attacked her. The creature mummified a fetus in Melanie's womb, sucking out the unborn baby's blood and vital fluids. It mentioned the word "balut," which led the investigators, Glenda McMahan and Luther Charles, to the depths of the Philippine mythology and old legends from the island of Panay. It turns out that the monster's name is "Aswang," and it's a shapeshifter. Glenda and Luther must find the connection between this creature and a wealthy family, the Rathbones, involved in Big Pharma. What is hidden in the Tower of the Rathbones' mansion? What horrifying mystery does their butler, Wesley Thornton, keep? Why does beautiful Amora Rathbone behave so strangely?
I like that the book touches on the legends that originated in the Phillippines, for it's a rare occasion to take a glimpse into the rich culture of that region. Also, I liked the scene with Althea, Luther's fiancée, scaring away the monster that harmed her with a salt and garlic solution. The scene depicted a strong and beautiful African American woman protecting her unborn baby, which was uplifting. It is worth mentioning that the book is engaging and unpredictable, with a satisfying ending and an intriguing premise for the second installment of the series.
On the other hand, it was hard to emotionally connect with the main character, Glenda. This character seemed flat. For example, Glenda explained to an occasional person why she was dressed casually, which made her sound shallow. The writing style was a bit awkward, some conversations were strained, and the narrative was a little dragging.
Also, I found more than ten punctuation errors and typos, like missing quotation marks, unnecessary capitalization, or full stops instead of commas between the clauses. In my opinion, the book needs a round of thorough editing. I gave the book only 3 out of 4 stars because of the mentioned errors. Nevertheless, I believe that the book does not deserve any lesser rating, for it is entertaining and original.
I recommend the book to fans of crime drama thrillers depicting police work. Those who prefer the horror genre novels would find this book interesting. Readers appreciating an element of the paranormal would enjoy it too. A sensitive audience and especially animal lovers should consider that the book has some disturbing scenes regarding the balut "delicacy." Strong expressions I spotted in the book prevented me from recommending it to a younger audience.
The Islands Tell Of It
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