The Maknae’s Book Review: The Girl with No Face by M.H. Boroson

I loved M.H. Boroson’s first book, The Girl with Ghost Eyes, and bought this sequel as soon it came out. Boroson has an amazing writing style, handling rich details and deep characters with finesse, and he brings that talent out with a flourish in The Girl with No Face. Come see what Boroson has in store for Li-lin!

It’s the end of the Nineteenth Century. San Francisco’s cobblestone streets are haunted, but Chinatown has an unlikely protector in a young Daoist priestess named Li-lin. Using only her martial arts training, spiritual magic, a sword made from peachwood, and the walking, talking spirit of a human eye, Li-lin stands alone to defend her immigrant community from supernatural threats.

But when the body of a young girl is brought to the deadhouse Li-lin oversees for a local group of gangsters, she faces her most bewildering—and potentially dangerous—assignment yet. The nine-year-old has died from suffocation . . . specifically by flowers growing out of her nose and mouth. Li-lin suspects Gong Tau, a dirty and primitive form of dark magic. But who is behind the spell, and why, will take her on a perilous journey deep into a dangerous world of ghosts and spirits.

Li-lin’s journey is different in this story, and the title is clever, playing on her lack of face with her father as well as the actual girl with no face. She journeys through Chinatown and the underworld, battling demons and men with demon-sized egos, learning when to fight and when to forgive.

I loved the different roles women played in this book — Mrs. Wei and her forgotten tribe, Ginny and her tremendous cleverness, and the girls Li-lin protects when she could not protect her mother.

Most of all, I love her relationship with her father. It’s complicated and full of love and ritual and tradition, and provides the perfect lens to capture the view of Chinese immigrant culture in the late 1800s.

Once again, I highly recommend this book. I am so glad that Boroson has taken on the challenge of bringing Chinese mythology to this corner of the world. My reading life is better for it.

Until the next page turns, I remain —

Karie the Maknae

Dramas with a Side of Kimchi

Leave a Reply