Friday, November 1, 2013

Title:     Trese: Stories from the Diabolical, Volume 1
Author:   Budjette Tan (badass author) and Kajo Baldisimo (kick-ass illustrator)
Rating:   ★★★

Budjette and Kajo just turned the embers of my fangirling over Trese into full flames again with their latest release, Trese: Stories from the Diabolical Volume 1. I think it's scary for writers to write a sequel, or an off-shoot, of a popular book/series because the sequel might not be as well received. However, with this latest juicy book, Budjette and Kajo has got the goods (oops, more pressure?). Heck, the intro alone by Budjette has got me quivering in excitement for the first page.

Welcome to The Diabolical!
My name is Hank. I'll be your bartender for tonight.
What will it be? Don't tell me. I know exactly what you want to drink.

So, what's on your mind? You have a story to tell?
You've come to the right place. I've got some interesting stories as well.

Have you heard the one about the ghost who walked in the bar?
The one who kept coming back, waiting for the arrival of that certain someone?

What about the guy who had coffee with his dead girlfriend?
Or the story of the spectral Christmas carolers?

And then there's that strange tale of all those senior citizens who watched the last full show and never came out.

No? Haven't heard those? Well, have another drink and I'll tell you all about it.

Trese: Stories from the Diabolical Volume 1 is divided into five short stories peppered with ghosts, spilling intestines, and lots of alcohol (my favorite is The Usual Spot). The protagonists of the story all come into the Diabolical, the bar owned and managed by Alexandra Trese, and bar-tended by Hank. With Hank's penchant for knowing exactly what a customer needs, he gets them to spill their sob stories. And when a crime has a paranormal angle, he relays the story to Trese. I love that Hank gets his own storyline, and his important role in the world of Alexandra Trese is finally highlighted.

Budjette's talent for short-but-terrific stories shines again with this latest graphic novel. In just a few pages, each story arc's main characters, plot, twist, and resolution is delivered flawlessly - and I was satisfied with each story. I thought Kajo's artistry in the first five Trese books was great, but his artwork in the Diabolical was even better!

One of the things that I love about Trese is that I don't get scared while, or after, reading. I'm terrified of ghost stories (and the dark and anything related to Halloween) but I just get so excited with each Trese book, maybe because of the ass-kicking Alexandra Trese, who makes me feel same somehow, coupled, of course, with the very enchanting Kambal. The ghosts in the story remain inside the story, and I walk away feeling satisfied that all is right with the world.

I mentioned above that I think writing sequels is scary for writers, but I'm actually the type of reader who is also wary of sequels and spin-offs because they might not be at par with my expectations due to my enjoyment of the first book/series. But man, Budjette and Kajo just keep proving to me that I have nothing to fear. I'm now even more impatient for the sixth Trese book (and perhaps even a Volume 2?).

If you've always been afraid of the kapres, the aswangs, the dead, ghosts, and whatnots, mayhap Trese will change your mind. I think Trese: Stories from the Diabolical is a good introduction into the fantastic world that is Trese. Be warned though: You might not ever want to get out.

Happy Halloween!