Naermyth Book Review

“Never were they myth”

Filipinos, being a uniquely-formed race, has various cultures that hones the Filipino generation of today. Despite the modernization that the fast generation perceives in order to catch up with the fast-growing globalization, one can never forget that once in their childhood days, together with the palo and the sermon, is a story that will bring every Filipino child under his blanket, holding their rosary, and praying that it won’t eat their liver—a story of lore and folktales. A myth that lived through the imaginations of Karen Francisco’s Naermyth, for her, what if?

The prophecy about end of the world has come. But this time, it does not work with natural disasters or second coming, but about a myth that came to life. What the people thought was just a “human-made story” has turned out to be “human-hunters”. All men were hunted down up to the last one standing, with only two options: be eaten or be tortured.

A coalition born to save the remaining mankind was formed, the Shepherds, vowed to save the human race, inspite of little hope. Aegis (her shepherd name, must be careful on dropping names, might be victimized by the Rumpelstiltskin Anomaly; but her real name is Athena Abigail Dizon) is one of the best shepherds, having been trained by the late shepherd, Greg Benevidez. But as she continues her hatred to the aswang race, and as the journey gets more complicated with the revelations and visions she had when Dorian came to her life, and as River played a more important role in saving her, little by little, things are taught to her, on what monstrosity really is as she turns her back from every ‘human’ thing she has.

In a world where we live in uncertainties, how would we know that what we thought was not, was. Naermyth is a fantasy story set in the Philippines, giving life and details to different folktales that are heard during the Filipino’s childhood days. In this book, Dwende and Nuno sa punso are kings of the streets, Aswang and Manananggal are the mistresses of the sky, Undin and Sirena are the princesses of waters, and Diwatas and Kapres divide the mountains—a world where shadows would mean death and captivity. Prayers and bawangs are no longer effective, even the “Tabi, tabi po” chant is not accepted, salted blades are used to kill these monsters.

Monsters? This was the whole idea of the book. When does a monster become a monster? In life, we got to label what a monstrous thing really is. Would it settle into the standards of the world, or would it reside into the standards of the heart?

Sometimes, things are meant to look bad, because they are like angels in disguise. All aswangcreatures may come and torture our entire being, but there would always be an angel, maybe not that of a sort, but a Wing Wight that would fly us away from all the killers and torturers. Together with this is a salted blade, in which in real life we may refer as courage, to face all these ‘real’ monsters away.

The challenge of this, is how we are going to identify a monster from a wing wight, if both seem to look harmful? To whom should we throw our salted blades, what if we had the wrong choice? This is where we have to define then what a monster could be in our own terms and conditions.

We’ve got a millions of monsters in the whole world, but we get to choose which one is our Wing Wight. “Monstrosity was the same way, a notion we all knew but could never peg,” Aegis, Naermyth.

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