Another book that has left me on the fence. It didn’t thrill me to read it but intrigued me to see where the story went. Also, the representation of other cultures, myths and folklore being shown often drives me in as well as the gorgeous cover!
When Marcella Leones relocates her family of aswang vampires from the Philippines to Portland, Oregon, she raises her grandchildren under strict rules so humans will not expose them. Her only wish is to give them a peaceful life, far away from the hunters and the Filipino government that attempted to exterminate them.
Before she dies, she passes on the power to her eldest grandchild, Percival. He vows to uphold the rules set forth by Leones, allowing his family to roam freely without notice. After all, they are aswangs.
However, when the aswang covenant is broken, the murder rate in Portland rises drastically. Who is behind the murders? And who is behind the broken covenant? Along with sensie Penelope Jane, Percival must find the truth.
It's then they discover that there are other breeds of aswangs—werebeasts, witches, ghouls, and viscera—who have been residing in Portland for years.
Based on Filipino folklore (aswang), “Vampires of Portlandia” is a fantastical tale of different monsters coexisting in the weirdest city in America.
Thank you to The Parliament House Press Publishing who provided an ebook proof copy for a review. In no way does this influence my opinion. To view their other wonderful books, click here.
It’s interesting to learn about different cultures and how the author entwines them into a paranormal / fantasy story. The author wrote well the Philippines part of the story if I say so myself. It immersed me in the aswuang, coven and how important family was. There were a few flashbacks that contributed to the story but personally, I wished it would’ve all been at the beginning. It flowed well with the story as the reader needed to know more information but it became tedious after a while. Thus, letting the book drag for me as the action and excitement only came in the second half of the book. The first half comprised info dumping and not much of storytelling.
There are different aswuangs such as vampires, werebeats, ghouls, witches and viscera who’re considered the most powerful and deadliest if I’m not mistaken. They’re transformation is gruesome. Lowkey could see this on the big screen one day. It’s a unique story. One of the viscera’s name Arturo wants the amulet that controls the aswuang. Not overpower but guides the aswuang and the vampires have it since they’re the start of the aswuang. Of course, Arturo wants the amulet for power. Interesting plot line right? It just took a while to actually get there.
There were so many characters thrown back and forth that I couldn’t hold on to one to actually remember them. Yet I found a liking toward Percival, the main character and vampire who now has the amulet now that his grandmother has passed. He’s an oblivious young vamp who’s still learning so many things. Percival had quite a few responsibilities growing up such as taking care of his siblings, knowing that he’ll takeover the amulet one day and supporting the family. He had a lot on his plate and to the end, still showed how much he cared for his loved ones.
Then there’s PJ, the mortal love interest who for some reason referred to as ’the sensie’ throughout the book. I have no idea what this means and couldn’t find a definition but other than being Percival’s love interest; I wished she played a bigger part. She did in the end, no doubt but… I wish there was more built up around PJ and Percival. She’s a kind character who, surprisingly took all the aswuang information well. Kudos to the author who didn’t make PJ freak out and all that.
A character who freaked out often was Roger, Percival’s younger brother and next in line for the amulet. I feel as if he hadn’t been stubborn and understood his older brother’s situation more, their relationship would’ve run smoothly. Yet Roger’s a teenager and the only other person who helped his development wasn’t exactly his other two siblings but a dude he followed and crushed on.
I liked the small bits of romance didn’t pull away from their primary goal, rather motivate and remind Percival and Roger what’s important. I found that pinning the two eldest brothers against each other totally unnecessary and dragged the story. It would’ve been cool to see their relationship develop after their grandma passed because not much emotions shown or grief when she did.
I wished the author touched on their Pilipino culture more in Portland, it would’ve been interesting to see how they adapt. Then again, the children barely remember the Philippines since they moved when they were so young.
Overall, the more I got into the book, the more I wanted events to happen and it took a while getting there. I loved the plot for its uniqueness and touching on different topics, but it could execute better. Yet it’s still good enough, in my opinion, to be on the big screen one day as a movie. I don’t know why but I got Constantine, Vampire Diaries and Underworld vibes from this. So, if you’re a fan of those movies / tv shows you’d definitely like this.