‘The Girl with No Face’: Lyrical and Delightful

M.H. Boroson has done it again in this sequel to The Girl with Ghost Eyes, which I very much enjoyed.

His protagonist Xian Li-lin, a young widow and Daoist (or Taoist) priestess in late 19th century San Francisco, is back with her cadre of strange friends. They include a philosophical eyeball with the heart of a warrior, and a Buddhist monk that really is a tiger who wants to change his nature.

Li-lin now is estranged from her father and works for a rival tong. In her new adventures, she is asked to solve the mystery of a nine-year-old girl who suffocates to death when flowers grow out of her nose and mouth. The villain here is interesting and original. Trust me, this one is a doozy.

Li-lin herself is a memorable character. She is tough, occasionally obnoxious. She does her best to survive, a woman in a man’s world, armed with her quick wits, fighting skills, and Daoist magic. But it is her indomitable spirit that makes her an apt champion for women and girls who otherwise have no voice in a rigid, patriarchal society.

Boroson’s writing is beautiful, and he quickly draws you into his wondrous world filled with burnt offering wives, Hell Guards, goblin rat-scholars, demons and other characters from Chinese myth and legend. His respect and love for the culture is clear.

I didn’t want this book to end. I highly recommend the series, and I hope more books are forthcoming.

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