Book Review: The Girl with Ghost Eyes, by M.H. Boroson

4 stars

At the turn of the century, a Doaist priestess faces overwhelming odds when new ways and old fight for control over San Francisco’s Chinatown.

Li-Lin, a widow with yin eyes (she can see spirits), is a good daughter and apprentice to her father, a well-known Daoshi exorcist. When her father is maimed, she must fight against gangsters to keep everything she knows from being destroyed.

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I’m going to start by saying that I love mythology. The book I’m currently writing takes various myths from different eras and cultures and combines them into one (hopefully) coherent overarching myth. Boroson has done this here, combining many different Asian religions and myths into one. (There’s a whole section in the back explaining what’s true and what’s been tinkered with for story purposes.) So he had me intrigued by using this technique.

Li-Lin was a badass character, kicking ass wherever she went. It’s always nice to see some badass women, and especially nice to see it from a woman of color, as other reviewers have mentioned. There was a moment where I thought the author was going to have Li-Lin saved by her father, which would have been highly disappointing, but he didn’t. She managed to take control of her own life and destiny (mostly) on her own.

The world building he does is fantastic. I love the ghost world, superimposed upon our own, full of ‘nightmarish’ creatures and ghosts. He does well with the real world as well. Although, I will admit, I’ve not read much about these cultures during this time period, so I may be mistaken on that count. It worked for me, though.

The story was fast-paced and the chapters were relatively short, which kept the pages turning. There were several fight scenes that were excellently written.

I knocked off a star because of the writing. The action scenes, as already mentioned, were well done. The internal thoughts, however, were not. There were sections that were overly explained. I read a paragraph where the same exact sentence was repeated twice. (I think it was something along the lines of ‘He was trying to confuse me’.) It was a short book, so there was no need for the excessive recap, especially when the chapters were so short. There was also a problem with repetitive internal thoughts/descriptions, specifically rage boiling, bubbling, consuming, etc. Word choice. It’s important.

This is the author’s first novel, so I’ll cut him some slack. Overall, four stars. I’d probably read something from him again.

 

 

 

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