The Girl With Ghost Eyes, by M. H. Boroson, is an urban fantasy set in San Francisco’s Chinatown in 1898. Told from the first person viewpoint of Xian Li-lin, a Daoshi exorcist and young widow, and the titular girl with yin eyes. The book is full of spirits, rituals, and mayhem.
1—A World Between Worlds
Chinatown on the cusp of the twentieth century is very much its own world and Mr. Boroson draws us into that world. It’s a world of gangsters and priests, spirits and monsters. It’s a world caught between the traditions of the old and the temptations of the new, between China and America. And Li-lin’s world is that caught between the human and the monstrous.
There are doom-foretelling spirit-gulls, a talking eyeball, a cat with two tails. There’s a Buddhist monk who’s also a shape-shifted tiger. There’s also a giant dog that attacks Li-lin and her father, a monster created by an old enemy by starving a dog to death.
The fight scenes, and there are plenty, in The Girl With Ghost Eyes are awesome. Li-lin both kicks ass and gets her ass kicked multiple times. She uses her ingenuity to either survive or defeat opponents much stronger than she is. I particularly like
Then there’s the epic boss fight with a giant skeleton and an evil sorcerer.
I liked the book. The pacing was tight, always something exciting or interesting happening, but still enough time to get to know and connect with Li-lin. The author also includes some notes in the back for further reading on the various subjects found in the book, as well as some movies.