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‘The Tie That Binds’ by Mayumi Cruz challenges preconceived notions of monstrosity

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Who is the true evil: conscienceless machines and technology, the creatures we perceive as monsters, or humans who want to assert their superiority at the expense of others?

Mayumi Cruz seeks to challenge preconceived notions of monstrosity in her latest mystery fiction book, “The Tie That Binds.”

The plot unfolds through the eyes of Emily, a determined woman on a quest to find her missing sister, Daisy, in a mysterious city where AI-powered technology is the way of life.

Emily finds Daisy (who is the head of their Boroka clan — a breed of Manananggals), but her lower body is replaced by an artificial one that is controlled by the city mayor.

The two sisters set out to retrieve Daisy’s lower body and fight the sinister forces in the city.

“The Tie That Binds” weaves a tale rich in themes that resonate with universal struggles: identity crises, power and control, sacrifice and heroism, and community and solidarity. It utilizes short paragraphs and straightforward language, balancing vivid descriptions with impactful dialogues.

“I tackled artificial intelligence here — which even in our present time is a controversial issue — opposite the Manananggal who is perceived to be a monster. Sometimes, the perception of something or someone as a monster is subjective,” Cruz shares with Metro News Central. "Being a monster isn’t a matter of what one looks like or what one does — it's a matter of what’s inside one’s heart, what one’s intentions truly are.”

Through the darkness that permeates the storyline, Cruz aims to convey a message of hope and resilience.

“I want my readers to feel that however bleak or dark a situation may be, there will always be a silver lining,” she says. “We can always hope for good things to come.”

Cruz has written other stories such as “Chroma Hearts,” “The Billionaire's Widow,” “Escape to Love,” and “Hunted Honeymoon.”

Her latest work, “The Tie That Binds,” is part of “Manananggal in the City,” a nine-piece book collection that offers a fresh perspective on Filipino folklore. All books are self-published with support from Pinoy Indie Authors, a community of independent writers that Cruz established earlier this year.

Other titles include "Naima’s War" by Jean Karl Gaverza, "Moonlight Eclipse" by Maita Rue, "One by One" by Yeyet Soriano, "Maya, At Your Service" by Marigold Andres Uy, "Expansion" by Mia Daquial, "My Girlfriend is a Manananggal" by Keira Viresse, "My Manananggal Dream" by Paola Aliedo, and "The Groovy Manananggal" by Fred Figueroa.

Visit or Pinoy Indie Authors on Facebook for more information.

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