catherine batac walder reviews ‘the viewless dark’

Originally posted on the Goodreads page of The Viewless Dark:

I didn’t know what to expect when I started reading this, or maybe I did, being familiar with Eliza’s penchant for pleasant surprises. I usually have trouble finishing a story these days but this just kept me reading as soon as I started. As a reader, you are taken on a viewless adventure. You won’t see what’s coming. Eliza Victoria is one kick-ass, readable poet. That is the best compliment I could think of about her prose. The clarity of her writing makes the reader immediately imagine the scenery and immerse herself in the story. The flashbacks didn’t bog down the story, in fact, it just flowed and you hardly notice they were there at all.

This is the kind of book you hesitate to read if you know what some of the themes are earlier on as they make you question things such as personal happiness – even if you’re quite happy and content with your life you begin to ask, is this enough, am I doing enough for others, etc. There’s the question, and the attempt to answer, the mystery of life, and death, but that’s just one area. I wouldn’t really recommend it for reading when you’re feeling depressed. But for the excellent writing alone, I highly recommend this book.

Thank you Catherine! For more information about the book, click here.

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a review of ‘a bottle of storm clouds’ from marginalia

Here’s a review from Monique of Marginalia, from the tail-end of 2012:

 

“To sum it up, I immensely enjoyed this book: the stories were well-written, they weren’t predictable, and they involved themes and ideas that are close to home.”

Read the full review here.

one more page reviews lower myths, the viewless dark, storm clouds

Well, if this ain’t the best way to cap off my week: Tina Matanguihan of One More Page reviews my three books.

Lower Myths is a good starter for Eliza’s works, if you’re into quick, fantasy reads with a local flavor. Of course, it could also be too short for you, but that’s why you’d end up looking for her other works just to satisfy that craving. :)

A Bottle of Storm Clouds is one of those books that you can’t help but keep on reading but you also don’t want to end just yet. I tried not to read this book too fast because I wanted to savor each story. There’s something interesting and entirely different in each story — some of them were creepy, most of them sad, but all had really good fantasy elements that stretched my imagination wider than it did before. :) I liked how Eliza hinged most of the stories with real human experiences like grief and sadness, family and friendship and love and even selfishness and life crisis.

The Viewless Dark…even if I read this in broad daylight, I still felt creeped out every now and then with the story. I liked how the story unfolded from the death of Flo and into flashbacks that pointed just to how exactly Flo ended up that way to what happened to Anthony’s family. I liked how vivid the setting was and how sufficiently creepy the “possession” they set up, until the final twist in the end which undid everything I thought I knew. And then Eliza wraps it up in a different way, giving it a poignant, almost hopeful ending.

Read the full post here.

a review of ‘a bottle of storm clouds’ from dibuho pilipinas

I met Ms Janina Gillian Santos at Visprint’s WIT 2 event. Thanks for the support, Janina! She reviews my short story collection on Dibuho Pilipinas.

Before I actually met the author, I’ve already read one of her works in Philippine Speculative Fiction. It was a story called Monster. Honestly, I really did not pay attention to the writer’s name, but what I found out was she has a thing for taking creatures of Philippine Mythology and spinning humanity into them. This is what caught made me re-read Monster several times. It reminded me of another Filipino work I enjoyed – the indie film Yanggaw. In Eliza Victoria’s world, even aswangs go online and surf the Internet. They work for a living. They party, drink beer, and do drugs. They fall in love. Not the typical portrayal in mainstream media that’s already kaskas.

I remember Ms. Eliza wearing a cute dress and tights when I first saw her. I thought she was funny and girly. Her stories, however, are anything but. They remind me of twisted fairy tales. One particular story was An Abduction by Mermaids, which starts out with an apathetic guy working in a newspaper office. He gets a call from his mom who tells him that his sister has been abducted by mermaid. Guess what happens? Of course, the main character has to go on a quest, but it isn’t a quest you’d be prepared for. It doesn’t end with happily ever after either. It seems that none of Ms. Eliza’s stories do. Actually, they don’t seem to end at all. I guess I would never cease to wonder what would happen to David Cruz, whose sister was supposedly kidnapped by mermaids. Or how it was possible for all the dead of a small town to rise from the grave and live again. Or if business deals with gods and goddesses were really as brutal as Ms. Eliza portrayed.

Truth be told, it was the second time I’ve read the book, but I couldn’t really resist flipping through the 197-page volume again.

You can read the rest of her review here.

‘storm clouds’ on ava.ph

Oops. I know the long weekend is over, but happy to find this on AVA (“Genre Reads for the Long Weekend”, written by author and book blogger/reviewer Chris Mariano):

“…imagined worlds become springboards to explore universal themes of loss and regret in award-winning writer Eliza Victoria’s A Bottle of Storm Clouds (Visprint, Inc). From fantasy (‘Ana’s Little Pawnshop on Makiling St.’) to science fiction (‘Night Out’), Victoria explores parallel dimensions, myths come to life, and everything else in between in this short story collection. Her lyrical stories have previously appeared in print and online, earning her fans here and abroad. There’s something here for quiet afternoon during your Boracay getaway (try ‘An Abduction by Mermaids’) or a late-night bedtime read (her ‘Sand, Crushed Shells, Chicken Feathers’ will give you appropriate chills). It’s a heady dose of myth and magic that will make you wonder why you haven’t explored more Filipino speculative fiction before.”

Also mentioned are Chinggay Labrador’s Popped 3 and AS Santos’s Voices in the Theater.
My book, A Bottle of Storm Clouds, is available in all major bookstores. :)
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And while you’re here, a couple of podcast recommendations for your nightly jog (or whatever else you wish to do while listening):

Both are beautiful stories. Enjoy.

‘the viewless dark’ review

Krysty Choi reviews The Viewless Dark:

…Eliza Victoria is able to weave fine tales that to me seem precisely designed to push all my buttons. She masterfully weaves the macabre with the mundane – an ability I envy and admire at the same time. You know how some authors try too hard to make their stories “weird”? She doesn’t. You read something by Eliza and its just a testament to how the world IS weird and hidden underneath the normal are glimpses of magic.

“The Viewless Dark” is a novella that seems off-putting at first, especially since Flo seemed like one of those “quirky” girls we’ve had a little too much of in these last few years. But just a few pages in and you find that there’s more to everyone, where murder and mayhem march in step with love and friendship and hope.

Read more here. Thank you very much, Miss Choi!

Click here to find out more about the novella.

back from the bug

Hello all. I don’t know what it was that got me, but for two and a half days, everything I ate I just threw back up. Horrible. I hope I lost some weight from that ordeal because then what’s the point?

My thanks to J of course for buying me bananas and Gatorade and nursing me back to health.

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I was able to check my mail/Twitter/Facebook yesterday (and we were able to livestream the Obama-Romney debate), but not my blog, so I was pleasantly surprised to receive a message from blogger Nancy Cudis, who wrote a bit about A Bottle of Storm Clouds here.

Have you experienced buying a book for what you thought it is but it pleasantly turned into something else? A Bottle of Storm Clouds by Eliza Victoria is like that with me. I thought it is a short story collection about, given the cover, Philippine folklore flawlessly interspersed in a contemporary setting. It turns out to be what its title says—16 stories about individuals with bottled-up storms that change them in so many ways.

The storms come in different disturbing forms but oftentimes, the ending is the same: death. I have already read eight of these stories and so far, I have gotten the drift of Victoria’s admirable writing style—simple yet powerful words, short yet intense sentences, suspenseful flashbacks, and lots of dramatic dialogue. Each story evokes similar yet different emotions—do you understand? All stories I have encountered so far are sad ones subtly, others directly, covering a multitude of personal issues—abandonment, death of a loved one, fear of being left, fear of the future, and inability to move one. But the degree of sadness of the story can only be determined by how relevant it is in the life of the reader.

In my case, my heart was very heavy—still is—when I finished reading Earthset, the eighth story I have read (and mostly accounts for the reason that I could not move on to the ninth story yet).

Read more here. She says the collection is “highly recommended”. Thank you very much, Nancy!

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Cloud Atlas also accompanied me during my illness. And lookie, another book!

It’s a big-ass book.