Filipino Culture, Family, and Fantasy: Vampires of Portlandia by Jason Tanamor // Book Review

“To being here. Something we can’t always find time to do.”

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Vampires of Portlandia

Author: Jason Tanamor

Genre: Young Adult > Fantasy

Publisher: Parliament House Press

Published: September 29, 2020

Format Read: Ebook via Netgalley

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Book Blurb

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

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About The Author

Website Twitter Goodreads

(c) Goodreads

“…a promising writer with lots of potential…” – Publishers Weekly

Jason Tanamor has 10 plus years of experience as an entertainment writer and interviewer for Yahoo!, the Moline Dispatch/Rock Island Argus, Cinema Blend, Celebrity Cafe, Strip Las Vegas Magazine, Pulse Magazine, and Zoiks! Online.

Tanamor has interviewed the likes of author Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club); comedians Demetri Martin, Jim Breuer (SNL, Half Baked), Aisha Tyler (Talk Soup, The Ghost Whisperer), Dane Cook, and Gabriel Iglesias; musicians Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins), Ann Wilson (Heart), Taylor Momsen (The Pretty Reckless and Gossip Girl), Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers), and Henry Rollins (Black Flag); and baseball legend Pete Rose.

He has covered everyone from Steve Martin to Jerry Seinfeld and from Evanescence to President Obama.

With novels, Tanamor enjoys writing in different genres. He is the critically acclaimed author of the dark novels, “Anonymous” (which received a star review from Publishers Weekly) and “Drama Dolls”; the satirical novels, “Hello Fabulous!” and “She’s the One?”; and the epic superhero themed children’s book, “I Heart Superhero Kid”. His newest novel, “Vampires of Portlandia,” is an urban fantasy.

Tanamor is married and has a family of fur children. He currently lives and works in the Portland, Oregon area.

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Could Have Been So Beautiful...

Much thanks to Netgalley and Parliament House Press for this complimentary copy. This review is voluntary and opinions are fully my own. Also, all quotes are taken from the ARC and may be different in the final published copy.

📚 Series? No.
📚 Genre? Fantasy.
⚠ Book Tags: Filipino culture. Vampires.

Could Have Been So Beautiful..

As a Filipino, I always want to champion works of my fellowmen, especially because I know how hard it is to get your name out there and that Filipinos need to be represented more in media. However, when we’re talking about representation, you would want to get things right before doing anything.

Reading The Vampires of Portlandia is an utter disappointment — in more ways than one. But first, on its understanding of what the Philippines actually looks like. 🤦🏻‍♀️ I would have hoped that the author had Filipinos read through his work before making his final draft, because two main things shouted at me here.

One of the Philippine settings of the book was in Baguio (+Sagada) .. and it’s one of my top 5 favorite places in the country. I go there at least once a year. Seeing it on a page is exciting – and then the author says that the characters drove from Samar to Baguio. Nope. The Philippines is a group of islands – and you just can’t drive to each of them, unfortunately. Also, Baguio doesn’t have the beautiful sandy beaches. Are you sure you’re not thinking of Batangas or Boracay? Baguio is the Summer Capital of the Philippines because it’s high up in the mountains and very cold compared to the heat of the rest of the country.

At this point, I really wanted to DNF the book, so I sped read/skimmed through the rest instead.

I was trying real hard to find something good in the book. So, here. I loved the family values concept here, and the leadership being passed on to the different generstjons of the family. I loved the glimpses on the country’s folklore and the different type of creatures that we have, though the blanket term ‘aswang’ can pertain to so many kinds. I found it fun that they LITERALLY flew from the Philippines to Portland as a family. I imagine how tiring that can be as a plane ride can go from 12 to 20 hours by plane.

On the other hand, other disappointing things lie ahead. The writing style is hard to connect to. Basically, it’s boring and dragging. The “narrator” of the book gives a very prejudiced approach to the elderly and the homeless people. Social issues like racism and immigration were attempted to be discussed, albeit a little weak on delivering a good message.

The relationships between characters could have had more dynamic. Mystery could’ve been added in the plot to play it all up more. Better research on the aswangs could have made a fuller experience.

Overall, the book had the potential to hit something amazing. But, it tried to achieve too much and failed drastically instead.

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My Book Rating Breakdown

🌼 Blurb:⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
🌼 Main Character:⭐⭐☆☆☆
🌼 Support Characters:⭐⭐☆☆☆
🌼 Writing Style:⭐☆☆☆☆
🌼 Character Development:⭐⭐☆☆☆
🌼 Pacing: ⭐⭐☆☆☆
🌼 Ending: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆
🌼 Unputdownability: ⭐⭐☆☆☆
🌼 Book Cover:⭐⭐⭐⭐☆

Final Rating: ⭐⭐| 2.4/5

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♡ , Yna the Mood Reader

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