The Girl With Ghost Eyes is amazing. Set in San Francisco’s Chinatown in 1898, it follows Xian Li-lin – a Daoshi of the Second Ordination in the Maoshan tradition – on a journey to save Chinatown. But the story is so much more than that, because we get to see Li-lin go on a journey that takes her through hell and see her face the consequences of the choices she makes. As you will see, the old adage that no good deed goes unpunished rings true, but you’ll have to read the book to find out what I mean by that.
One of the best things about The Girl With Ghost Eyes is that the main character is not just another white girl. This girl is Chinese born, brought to America by her father, a Daoshi of the Seventh Ordination. This isn’t a typical book. Xian Li-lin is a 23 year old woman, a widow, and a daughter who is hell-bent on saving her father, and her people in Chinatown. We see her fear and her determination. We also get to see what she sees with her “yin eyes” or “ghost eyes.”
Even the “bad guys” in this book are more misunderstood than bad – one wants revenge for his friend’s killing because he believes the “old ways” are what got his friend killed. Another wants revenge for having been bullied while training to be a Daoshi. They aren’t necessarily bad or evil, but more misunderstood and misguided. It’s easy to empathize with the “bad guys” once you know their stories, although it is also clear that the paths they have chosen because of their tragedies is not the path they should have taken.
The plot is wonderful – a great mixture of backstory, action, and even some adventure. A definite must read. If you are looking for more diverse main characters, this book is definitely one of the tickets to that adventure. While the author does state that the Maoshan tradition found in this book is purely fictional, the Maoshan tradition of Daoism does exist. M. H. Boroson expertly wove fiction and fact together to create a truly wonderful novel.
I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for my honest opinion. No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.