Strange Horizons, November 16, 2020
Reviewed by Seraph
Set during the Spanish-ruled Philippines in the year 1745, misery and abuse rampage through these words. Jauna is a cook at the hacienda, but the picture painted is not one of anything more or less than mankind’s inhumanity to others. This story comes with a list of warnings at the start, and for once, they may be well-deserved. Nothing within is graphically presented, but nothing is really left to the imagination either. Everything within is consistent with various accounts of what happens when one group of people exerts absolute power over another. The writing is slow to come to its point, taking the time to really lay out the plight of those native people beneath the brutal rule of foreigners. It isn’t an enjoyable read, but this brand of literature is meant to challenge rather than entertain. Aquino gets the point across just fine, without any extra fluff or distraction.