From Cassandra Javier (a review of the paperback, which contains The Viewless Dark):
A collection of Horror Stories from Eliza Victoria, a brilliant and undeniably good Filipina Author, Unseen Moon is something that every Horror/Mystery/Crime fan must read.
First in the collection is Needle Rain. A story of a barkada and how they try to uncover the mysteries of a murder that happened in their hometown. One of the most mysterious stories in the pack, this is a good way to build the tension and suspense that one should feel while reading the book. However, aside from being scary, there’s bit of sadness and surprise here, too. What’s good is that the author was really able to capture the old-skool Filipino neighborhood–she was able to build the feel and imagery that was needed.
And then comes my favorite story in the book: The Ghosts of Sinagtala. Oh, god, this is the perfect thing to read right now as the Holy Week is coming up soon, and aside from being “Holy”, we all know that it’s also the time when they say that bad spirits are all over the place. This (and I told the author about this) SERIOUSLY. CREEPED. ME. OUT. It’s not about monsters or the usual white ladies or whatever, but the kind of horror depicted in this story is so psychological that it would really rack your brain. (And I’m getting goosies again while writing this). Read it and you will know what I mean. It’s really something you’d have to put down and continue once the sun shines again (yeah I read it late, late at night and god my mind worked so bad) because it’s so scary. Watch out for rats.
Summer Evening, meanwhile, is brutal. You never know how twins’ minds’ work these days. You might be disturbed by this story and by the brutality, but all in all it was good. I like how different and creative the author can get.
A tale that will surely tug at your heartstrings without losing its mystery, December, is about an orphan named December, who makes friends with a boy named Gabriel. Together, they discover secrets and mysteries about a dead body in the lake, an abandoned mansion and the people around them.
Finally, there is the Viewless Dark. If you’re a student and are frequenting the library, you’ll be afraid. Okay seriously, this was one of the best. It’s about finding out about someone’s death and learning what you need to learn about that person. It’s scary, it’s suspenseful and it’s a work that’s just definitely top of the line. If you’re fond of trying to solve mysteries, this story is for you.
Give this book a chance because you will not regret it. And you know what? I think I’m going to re-read these stories sometime soon. They’re THAT good.
From Cathriona Lethal:
This is the second book by Eliza Victoria that I’ve read. The first one was Project 17. Whenever I read her stories I [think], “This author must have killed somebody to be able to write gripping tales like these.”
There are four short stories in this book. Reading the first, “Needle Rain”, is like watching true crime. I felt like I was praying hard as my windpipe hang on the second, “The Ghosts of Sinagtala”, and only after I reached the ending was I able to breathe – finally relieved. After reading the third, “Summer Evening”, I was convinced Miss Victoria must have really murdered somebody to be able to pull this story off, like she’s in a vengeance. And lastly, the final fresh-dead-cat present from the book, “December”, is just sick. Sick. I want to run from it, however, I was coaxed to go on…
Ever since I’ve read Eliza Victoria‘s Unseen Moon, I became a fan. When the news broke that she published a new book last year, I really wanted to get a copy but I missed it during the book fair. Initially, I [didn’t] have any idea about Project 17, but I was so attracted [by] the book cover (cover and illustrations by Jap Mikel) and Victoria’s books are now an auto-buy for me, [that] I got a copy. I am glad I was able to grab one last Summer Komikon!
Let’s admit it, there are only a few science fiction books by our local authors in the Philippines—or maybe I’m just not that well-read when it comes to Filipiniana—and this is a good news that our local authors are now venturing and writing different genres (most of our local writers are into chick-lit and literary fiction).
Project 17 is set in the immediate to near future in the Philippines where robots are now among humans. Cellphones, no-hands, high-technology devices are part of being a human to survive. In this story, our protagonist, Lillian was hired as a babysitter for summer job by a man named Paul Dolores. Her duty is to look after his younger brother, a 28-year old guy suffering from a schizoaffective disorder named Caleb. The situation looks harmless and soon she accepted the job. Boring day after boring day, she starts being curious about the lives of these two brothers as well as Caleb’s medications that are nonexistent online.
What I like about Project 17 is how Victoria created a world that is new and familiar at the same time. She didn’t dwell too much on being science fiction or on using epistaxis-inducing geeky high science/technology terms for a non-science-fiction-fan like me. It’s just on the right combination of science fiction, mixed with mystery and thrown in bits of humor. What piqued my interest is the mental disorder mentioned in the book. I really like books with health or mental disorders because I had close encounters with people with mental problems when I was a college nursing student. It was a memorable experience and I am forever interested and curious on such topics. Although the book only has few mentions about the mental case, the flow of the story didn’t disappoint. It was well-paced, although I found myself being impatient because it’s a thin book and there’s too much going on! But then, it was all right because things fell into places and I’m all ohhhs and ahhhs after connecting all the details. I like that the book gave off a feeling like I am a detective on [the] run chased by some big, unknown, all-seeing person ala Big Brother for discovering such information Lillian learned. I felt bits of paranoia and was on a look out for heavily-tinted cars that might, you know, kidnap me. Ha ha.
Here are reviews for two of my earlier releases, The Viewless Dark and Lower Myths, both available on Amazon, Flipreads, and other fine places.
Lower Myths: I’ve always loved Eliza Victoria’s works for having a strong Filipino feel. Some people might see the words “diwata” or “mambabarang” in these two stories and automatically classify them as fantasy works, but what really gives both titles an impact is a common emotion that is skillfully weaved into it: love of siblings, love of family. That is something any reader can relate to, and I find that these are what makes both memorable. They are supernatural stories to be sure, intriguing but also very touching for it features something that hits close to home for all of us.
The Viewless Dark: The story was creepy and hair raising at times, but still managed to be incredibly touching with the twist at the end. A fantastic mixture of the supernatural, tragedy, friendship and family all in one short story. I’d loved Eliza Victoria’s works ever since randomly picking up “A Bottle of Storm Clouds” and if there’s only one complaint I have about this author, it’s that her stories always leave me wanting more.
Thank you very much to readers who take the time to write their thoughts about my work. I love how most readers pick up one book of mine, and check out my other books. Returning customers! I must be doing something right.
Project 17 is in all major Philippine bookstores. (And soon as an ebook! Watch out for that.)
The Viewless Dark is available on Amazon and other places.
Lower Myths is available on Amazon and other places.
Disclaimer: I don’t kill people, just cockroaches.