High Society (+ Giveaway!)

High Society by Paolo Chikiamco and Hannah Buena

High Society by Paolo Chikiamco and Hannah Buena
Publisher: Flipside Digital and Rocket Kapre
My copy: ebook from Kindle store, and signed print edition, bought from Komikon

Take your first step into a world of automata, magic, and alternative history! The year is 1764, and, for the first time in nearly two centuries, the Spanish forces have been repelled from the great walled city of Manila. While the Spaniards are quick to lay the blame at the feet of the invading British and their clockwork machines, the secret to the success of the Filipinos may lie closer to home, with an ally that is both ancient and new, mythical and mechanical. “High Society” is a stand-alone steampunk comic book in the “Wooden War” series.

* * *

I’m really all for supporting local authors and content, so when Honey told me that they will be releasing Paolo Chikiamco and Hannah Buena’s High Society under their publishing company, I bought it without blinking. Local content for the win, plus I really enjoyed Kataastaasan, so I was excited to read more about this alternate steampunk world.

Thing is, High Society is really the same as the Kataastaasan I read a year back…but also a little bit different. High Society is a stand-alone comic set in Cebu City circa 1770, and tells an alternate history of the Philippines’ struggle for independence from Spain. Here we meet someone called “The Carpenter” telling our main character Rita about the location of a treasure that they need to recover. Rita goes undercover in a party with the Spanish colonizers to retrieve the treasure. Now you’d think Rita is just your normal undercover agent and all, but then she’s also not. I won’t reveal what the twist is, but I remember I was pleasantly surprised when I found out about it on my first read. Even if I knew about it now and it kind of lessened the surprise, I really liked how it was illustrated and revealed this time, and I think it’s the part of the story that hooks the reader the most.

I think the improvement on this one compared to the ARC I read was how Rita was given a more human aspect. There’s a hint of romance in the story that made me smile, and it made me want to know more. This version also had a little more background on how Rita came to be as well as why their mission was important. I’m not a big judge on artwork, but I liked how it had that dark and authentic Philippines in Spanish era vibe.

So yeah, I liked this one on the second round as much as I liked it during the first. Too bad it’s a stand alone, but I kind of have high hopes with what they mean with the “Wooden War” series. More please? :) High Society is a creative take in Philippine history, and anyone who’s a history buff, or at least interested in alternate histories and steampunk should pick this up.

High Society is available from the Amazon Kindle store, iTunes store and in the Flipreads Digital Store. If you’re from the Philippines and you prefer a hard copy, drop by the Flipside booth at the annual Komikon this Saturday, November 19, where they will be selling limited physical copies of the comic. You can get it signed, too! :)

And because I really, really want you guys to read this, I’ll be giving away a Kindle copy of High Society to one lucky commenter. This is open to everyone — just leave a comment on this entry and I will pick one winner by Friday, November 18, 2011. If you don’t have a Kindle, don’t worry — there are free Kindle apps for practically every gadget out there. :)


My copy: Kindle edition

Other reviews:
Planet Markus


It’s going to be a pretty quiet month, at least as far as my blogs are concerned because of NaNoWriMo, and other real life stuff that does not revolve around the novel. You definitely know I am writing my novel because I am starting to avoid contractions in my text to up my word count. See?

Anyway, other than NaNoWriMo, we have just moved out of our house for our long awaited house renovation, so I had to put all my books into big plastic bags and transferred them to this apartment down the street. This kind of stopped me from reading because I can’t just dig those books out without making a big mess. Most of my reading will be done via Astrid the Kindle now, but I will try to grab a book once in a while. Perhaps after November.

But of course I cannot stop reading. So when I’m not writing, I try to read. And that happened earlier while I was at work. I did not feel like writing, and I also did not feel like working, so I decided to poke around in my Kindle to see what I can read — something short and quick, to just wake me up.

Then I found Kataastaasan.

Kataastaasan by Hannah Buena and Paolo Chikiamco, is not really a book but a short 22-page comic that is set in 1770 in Cebu City and tells an alternate history of the Philippines’ struggle for independence from Spain. I don’t want to give anything away since it’s a pretty short piece, but suffice to say, I was pleasantly surprised at how the story turned out! I’m not much of a comic person and I’m fairly new to speculative fiction, so I did not know what to expect with this, but I finished this one with only one thought: that was a really cool twist.

And it really is. I thought it was a very creative use of one of the many colorful aspects of Filipino culture, with a steampunk twist. The language was easy to understand and I liked the dark vibe it had despite the innocent looking characters. I’m also not very knowledgeable in making comments on artwork, but I thought the illustrations here were very good, even if it’s all in black and white. The lack of color just adds to the overall historic feel to it, IMHO.

I really, really liked this one, and it was worth the fifteen minutes I stole from work to read it. :P I’m hoping there would be more? I’m not much of a comic reader, but I’ll definitely be in line for this one if there is more. :)

Kataastaasan will be published by Espresso Comics, which hopefully will be published before this year ends. Thanks to Pao for the ARC!


2010 Challenge Status:
* Book # 95 out of 100 for 2010
* Book # 12 out of 20 for Project 20:10
Fine. I know it’s not a book…but I’m counting it in anyway. :P

My copy: e-ARC from one of the authors

Cover image: Rocket Kapre

Other Reviews:
Into the Wardrobe