[Book Review] Tablay by Katrina F. Olan

New Intramuros: a hyper-technological smart city surrounded by heavily armored walls. Beyond it, vast mountains and jungles teeming with hostile machine life called aswangs. For over a century, the Philippine Mech Force has been fighting the aswangs with mechs of their own—and talented pilots to fly them. 

Anya grew up watching her father, the famed General Armin Valerio, lead the charge during Operation Tablay—an all-out bombing campaign aimed to annihilate the aswangs once and for all. Everything changed when the operation failed, leaving her father an incapacitated man. 

Fourteen years later, Anya Valerio enters the Philippine Mech Force as a pilot with hopes of restoring her father’s honor. She quickly becomes a rising star. However, when she finds out a dark secret about the aswangs, her view of the war changes. Now it’s up to Anya and her partner—the reserved but brilliant engineer, Chino Jose—to stop the fight before the consequences are irreversible. 

Tablay is Filipino for electric charge. It is the soul of the city, the mover and shaker of machines, the spark between two hearts. But most of all, Tablay aims to shine light on the relation between technology and our society’s ethical choices. 

Synopsis from Goodreads

Title: Tablay
Author: Katrina F. Olan
Genre: Philippine Fiction, Sci-Fi
No. of Pages: 154
Released Year: 2019
Publisher: Central Books
Format: Paperback from the author


Stunning. Creative. Searing. Tablay is an absolute read, it explores the unique ways of Filipino with so much and full of creativity.

I enjoyed the fast-forward style of the book, it brought me into a lot of realizations and I love how the idea of thinking for clues about the next chapter entries. The book was really sharp and well-planned. And for the chapter titles, it really touches Filipino word, which is a big addition to the story.

A riveting way of narration, I love how Katrina uses first person’s point of view to share the world and views of Anya. The characters are all amazing as they were told in the story and those Filipino inserted words are so good, it felt like I was really talking to them. And the little romance of Anya and Chino is a plus points in the story. It didn’t just target the genre of sci-fi but the wide views of the story are so broad, as it also talks the themes about family, friendship, lies, connections and a lot more to expect. The spirit of the book is radiating with a brave and proud soul of a Filipino. The book also could be adapt or would convert as a comic because the story felt just so great and if it will be adapted, it could have an impact to those people who really love graphic novels, which I am part of it.

The happenings in the book could be reflected in today’s events and one more thing is the idea of the futuristic imagination of the Philippines. The book is an inspiration because it shows how the literature of the Philippines is actually more growing and improving in some ways, and the idea of the new and imaginative used of the Philippine folklore is a total package for reinventing a good story. I just loved how powerful sci-fi books will put you into so much appreciation and stepping up to the future world.

Again, the book is so great, a good plot, the setting, and character developments is also a big jump up for a voice of the upcoming world of the Philippine literature. Katrina Olan has done a brilliant job of bringing voices and showing evolution of the future Philippines. Her writing style is simple yet beautifully written. So, as the book says, SUGOD MGA BAGONG BAYANI!

Ratings: 5/⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Massive thanks to the Author for sending a copy of this book my way. This did not, in any way, affect my overall opinions/reactions of the book/or the story.

About the Author

Katrina F. Olan is a copywriter based in Manila. She crafts commercial scripts for TV, Radio and Digital Films, and ideates creative advertising campaigns for top brands like Uniqlo, Cignal TV, Shell and Century Tuna. Kat was the student Philippine country representative to the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity 2018, and the first Filipino student of the Google Creative Campus that same year.

Beyond work, she is an independent author with two books: Tablay, a Filipino sci-fi novel, and Skies Above, a steampunk fantasy book. She is also active in the local komiks scene. Kat loves video games, travel filmmaking, digital art and hosting Dungeons and Dragons games.

One day she hopes to put an independent storytelling agency, a D&D-themed cafe, and pilot a real mecha.

Contact her at tablaynovel@gmail.com

Follow me!

 Instagram / Goodreads

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