Thursday, August 22, 2013

Book Review: Trese (Cases 5 to 8)

TRESE: UNREPORTED MURDERS: These cases are more interesting than their forerunners, but the volume isn’t perfect

Like the previous volume, Unreported Murders does not follow a singular storyline. It contains four different cases handled by the supernatural detective Alexandra Trese. This is both good and bad. It is good because, once again, the episodic approach improves the world-building of the franchise, thus the franchise’s foundation becomes even more solid. It is bad because there has been sufficient world-building in the previous volume, that it has been enough to establish the mythos and setting of Trese. I think the volume could have been better if the creators have utilized a singular plotline, so the story can be pointed to a specific direction, and not just to random ordeals. Despite this, as a personal note, Unreported Murders is still an enjoyable read.

A Little Known Murder in Studio 4 has incorporated a creature from Philippine mythology. I must admit that the details elaborated regarding the creature are very new to me, and this adds to my overall interest on the mythos behind Trese. Aside from that, this particular case has also utilized a character that has been seen before in the previous volume. This is a good attempt at maintaining interest on the side characters. The positive feedback doesn’t stop there, the story behind this case is also able to trigger emotions, as it portrays the consequences of human desires.

The next case, The Outpost on Kalayaan Street, however, does not have the same merits. This is the least I have enjoyed in the volume, primarily because the story behind it is weak, and I couldn’t help but see it as an episode that employs mindless action. Sure, the action sequences are interesting, but if the story behind them is not solid enough, they would appear quite pointless.

            The volume redeems itself in the next case, Embrace of the Unwanted. It features another creature from Philippine folklore, and I must add that it features it well. The immediate threat of the creatures is very apparent, so the case is quite gripping. Add the fact that there is an emotional catalyst behind the creatures’ actions, and the case becomes even more compelling.

I have mixed feelings for the last case in the volume, The Association Dues of Livewell Village. The story is not of my taste. This is nothing technical, however; it is only a personal matter. I’m not sure myself what has caused this opinion. However, this case also has something that I like. It incorporates a very interesting character, and this character is suggested to be an antagonist in future storylines. This single plot point is enough to make this particular case interesting, for it has triggered something that could have consequences that the readers could see in the next volumes.

Overall, the writing of Unreported Murders is better than Murder on Balete Drive. The stories behind the cases are more solid and portrayed better. The voice is also consistent with the other volume; it remains to be lyrical, but not too much as to appear very formal. Trese: Unreported Murders, lives up to the Trese franchise.

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