{Book Review} Trese #3: Mass Murders

Mass Murders (Trese, #3) 

“12 midnight at Metro Manila.

Try to remain calm if you suddenly spot a tikbalang speeding down EDSA or a manananggal swooping across the Makati skyline. While partying at the Fort, never ever let the enkanto at the bar buy you a drink.

Yet, there are deadlier things than walk the streets of this city.

One of them now demands blood and sacrifice.

When crime takes a turn for a weird, the police call Trese”*

This volume is not like the previous Trese graphic novels. While the foundation of the plots of Murder on Balete Drive and Unreported Murders were based on entirely different cases, the cases presented in Mass Murders were all connected to one another, revealing the intricate web of the Trese clan and Alexandra’s heritage. In my past reviews of Trese, I have been constantly looking for something to explain how Alexandra Trese became who she is in the present, along with the mystery of how the kambal are so devoted to her in the first place. After a year of waiting (for those who followed Trese since it first came out in 2008), or more appropriately, 3 days for me (since I bought the first two volumes first), those niggling questions finally got answered.

I am not going to spoil anything by typing in Alexandra Trese’s family history and everything, but I have to say that I really enjoyed this volume. This is my favorite yet from the series, and the difference in thickness between this book and its predecessor (Unreported Murders only had 88 pages which definitely left me hanging) was really good for me who wanted to read more of Alexandra and her adventures. For people who love learning about the history and background of the characters they are reading about, this book would prove to be an enjoyable one, though like most series books, answers only enough questions to leave you thirsting for more. I don’t mind this, since I very well intend to read all the Trese books in existence. Budjette Tan’s writing was splendid. The dialogue, the plot, the little twists and descriptions, everything, was perfect. Gah. I can’t spazz enough.

Another thing. If you enjoy reading superhero comic books and the like, I’m pretty sure you’ll like Mass Murders as well. It is exactly as its title suggests. There are a lot of action scenes that hardly require any speech bubbles because KaJo Baldisimo’s drawings make you understand what is going on at once. There’s a lot of fighting and gore, which I find really cool because, in my opinion, most of the paranormal stories I’ve read have helpless victims who never see the light of the next day. Having a strong heroine who the monsters are afraid of is an idea I really love.

Reading Mass Murders for me is like.. okay, I was about to say pizza, since after you’re done with the whole thing you still want more, but I think that only applies to me and other very hungry people, but you get the point. I really loved this, and I am more in love with the series than ever. 5 stars!!!

PS. Incidentally, this is my thirteenth post. Reveling the coincidence thus far ^__^

In a nutshell…

Rating: 5/5
140 pages
Writer: Budjette Tan
Illustrator: Kajo Baldisimo
Publisher: Visual Print Enterprises
Published: October 2009
Genre: Paranormal, Horror, Crime

Related Links:

Trese #1: Murder on Balete Drive

Trese #2: Unreported Murders

Trese #4: Last Seen After Midnight

{Book Review} Trese #1: Murder on Balete Drive

Murder On Balete Drive (Trese, #1)

When the sun sets in the city of Manila, don’t you dare make a wrong turn and end up in that dimly-lit side of the metro, where aswang run the most-wanted kidnapping rings, where kapre are the kingpins of crime, and engkantos slip through the cracks and steal your most precious possessions. 

When crime takes a turn for the weird, the police call Alexandra Trese.”*

I first heard of Trese sometime around December of last year, but as I was busy with college-related stuff, I didn’t think much of it and eventually forgot about it… until my parents gave me gift certificates to National Bookstore for Christmas and I was free to FINALLY buy books! I spent the last of them on this whole series, a decision which, so far, I DO NOT REGRET.

Before I even started reading the graphic novels, I was already very excited. I love stories that have mythological aspects in a modern setting, and Trese promises to deliver just that. Filipino readers will be delighted to find the legendary aswang, kapre, engkantos, and several other creatures from native folklore jump straight from the page with the sharp angles of the black-and-white illustrations and dialogue that reveal their true selves as well as the side that allows them to mingle among us, unnoticed.

Trese: Murder on Balete Drive is the first book in the Trese series written by Budjette Tan and illustrated by KaJo Baldisimo. It has four cases that the protagonist, a bold young woman named Alexandra Trese, tackles with her trusty kambal bodyguards. The settings are eerily familiar, based on real roads and places within the Philippines. Case 2, Rules of the Race, stands out clearly in my mind, because the main storyline takes place in C-5, a road I pass every day to and from school. That, and the familiarity of the folklore and horror stories I grew up with as a child made reading this more interesting.

I normally don’t read supernatural stuff, and I was initially trepidated at the prospect of reading about the things that lurked around my childhood nightmares living among us now. I thought that if I read about the aswang actually surviving in the hustle and bustle of the metropolis, the forever young side of my brain will freak out and think I am no longer safe. That was not the case with this book, and with that I am glad. It’s not because the material wasn’t convincing; I was just really interested. And because of that, I am now all the more excited to read the coming books.

I really suggest everyone to take up this series and read it, but I’m afraid those unfamiliar with Philippine mythology could feel a bit lost. That said, if you read Trese, you would be able to get some information about the creatures from the stories, but if there are a lot of sources in the Internet that cover them. I was Googling “Philippine monsters” and I saw this. I am Filipino and I haven’t even heard of some of the monsters, there are so many of them. Now that I’ve read the first volume, I really must start reading the next ones!

In a nutshell…

Rating: 4/5
104 pages
Writer: Budjette Tan
Illustrator: Kajo Baldisimo
Publisher: Visual Print Enterprises
Published: March 2008
Genre: Paranormal, Horror, Crime
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