This took me a lot longer to finish despite my reckless claim to post this soon after the first part… mainly because I got a bit sick in the middle of last week and couldn’t get my brain to work right. Apparently it’s been so long since I got sick that I forgot how annoying a simple cold is when you’re writing. But anyway, here I am and here we go.
The first half of my #YARC2019 update featured contemporary novels. This one, however, will talk about the asian books I read that fall under the genre of fantasy/high fantasy. As I said a couple of times before, the older I get, the more appreciative I am of fantasy books. I actually struggle to balance out my monthly TBR since only a fraction of my unread books aren’t fantasy in some way.
Wow. It’s nearly the middle of the year and I’ve all but neglected my #YARC2019 updates. Though, in my defense, most of my in-depth book reviews are Asian books so that’s… something.
Anyway! My latest book count for #YARC2019 is 11 books. It’s not bad, per se, but seeing as my goal is a minimum of 31 Asian books before the year ends, I’m kind of falling behind. However, I like to think that the few books that I have read for this challenge have been mostly spectacular. I mean, with the exception of Kendare Blake’s Three Dark Crowns – which I really picked apart in my most recent Book Talk – I’ve been really enjoying this reading challenge. I’ve read books that I typically would have shelved for “another day” (read as: “a couple of years from now, give or take”). It’s nice to have an added encouragement.
This #YARC2019 update/bulk of book reviews is mostly me giddily fangirling for these awesome Asian books that I recently read. It really is starting to seem like this is gonna be a great reading year for me.
Alright! It’s my turn to talk about Reno Ursal’s Enlightenment, the first book of the Bathala series and, boy, do I have a lot to talk about. At the risk of sounding cliche, I was pretty enlightened after reading this book and I can’t thank the author and Kate for giving me this opportunity.
First and foremost, let me tell you a little bit about the book. Enlightenment is the first book of The Bathala series. Set in the weird and dry desert lands of Las Vegas, United States, the book is about a young second generation Fil-Am (Filipino-American) girl Dorothy Dizon who despite seemingly having it all – straight A’s, an athletic build, a loyal and loving best friend – is actually slowly losing everything she knows about her life. Her mother is dying of cancer, her father has gone and left them years ago, and, to top it all off, Dorothy realizes that she actually knows very little about her mother’s home country and even less about her bloodline. Things get weirder when the new kid, a Filipino transfer student named Adrian, befriends her. Dorothy starts having paranormal experiences around the mysterious Adrian and the more she tries to look for answers, the more her life is at risk.
Some reviewers have likened this book with Rick Riordan’s mythology adventure series since Enlightenment brings Filipino myths and creatures in modern times but if you’re a veteran reader of young adult books, you’ll recognize that this book feels more like a YA paranormal/fantasy romance a la Melissa dela Cruz. Secret magical society, chosen ones, mystic dream sequences, inexplicable magical elements, and, most importantly, a hunky male main character that’s destined to protect the female lead – the recipe for a lot of YA paranormal romance in the past decade.