In the folklore of the Tinguian tribe of the Philippines, the ALAN are deformed spirits with wings and fingers and toes pointing backwards, described in some stories as half-bird, half-human. They create human children from menstrual blood or miscarried fetuses to raise as their own. Because of their deformities, humans became afraid of them. According to legend, a human once saw them and ran in fear but because of his panic, fell and was knocked unconscious. The Alan were alarmed and tried to revive the human by offering him golden beads (in some legends, their tears) and other precious stones. When the man came to, he saw the precious stones and gold beads and took them, fending the Alan away. The Alan begged for him to return at least the most precious of beads, a double-magic bead, allowing him to keep the rest, but he refused. As a result, the Alan chose to become invisible to human eyes and showed themselves only to whichever family they presented a magical bead to, which was passed down from generation to generation.
I have taken the liberty to use the Alan in my story as half-bird, half-humans, and call them collectively ALANON–the birdmen of Dapit-adlaw. They are friendly and helpful, albeit deformed creatures. My Alanon also have forward facing fingers and toes, which is unlike several Philippine myths, which have a preponderance of creatures with backward facing feet and hands. That is not to say that none of the Alanon have this unusual deformity.
This review just in!
“Where is Book 2?”
The Lost Amulets is the first book in the series of The Amulets of Panagaea. It centres around four children who were chosen to help the Littlefolk (dwarves) find their king and, subsequently, the three missing amulets that would save the land of Dapit-Adlaw. With the company of other mythical beings the young Kingseekers are at once immersed in an exciting and dangerous adventure as they try to solve riddles that would lead them to the amulets.
The book is divided into bite-size chapters which seamlessly weave the characters and adventures into the fabric of the story. The author’s skilful description, particularly of the mythical beings, makes it easy to imagine their appearance and their personalities. This is especially appreciated if you are not familiar with Philippine folklore, myths or legends – the source of Otherfolk and Darkfolk.
The story is fast-paced and easy to follow, with enough excitement to keep you interested and sufficient emotion to keep you engaged.
The ending? Of course it is a frustrating cliffhanger. However, while waiting for the next book of the series to be published you can contemplate on nature: Is that really just a flock of large birds flying overhead? Did that grassy mound you passed make you stop? Will the subtle perfume of flowers reveal a secret?
I would recommend this book to fans of fantasy novels, teenagers, or anyone who would like an easy escape to another dimension.