The Girl with No Face: The Daoshi Chronicles, Book Two
I loved the first book in this series (The Girl with Ghost Eyes). In the sequel which picks up right after the end of the first book, we are thrust head-first back into Li-Lin’s world of a historical 19th century San Francisco Chinatown where actual ghosts, yurei, gods, and monsters walk– all kept at bay by folks like Li-Lin and her Daoist father.
And I still love Li-lin to pieces. She’s fairly awesome, but she’s definitely got daddy issues (as he kind of disowned her at the end of the last book) and she’s lost and sad. She’s also getting mixed up with some mysterious girls–one with no face, one that died mysteriously, and the daughter of her current mob boss; Bok Choy. Still she gets to be clever at various parts of the book; including one where she is in an impossible battle against demons and her friends and does a clever attack. (wish I could say more! rat shishkebab! Don’t want to spoil!)
The monsters and demons just keep on coming in this one– which is part of the gory fun. Li-lin’s trusty sidekick Mr. Yanqui (the spirit of her father’s eyeball) and the buddhist monk tiger with multiple tails who is in love with her also help out.
I want to tell you about the main bad guy….but that would spoil everything. The reveal of just what and who are causing problems touches on alot of touchy issues– including Chinese slavery in Peru.
But Boroson never flinches from both the gory details and the complicated reactions to the crimes that his villains experience.
There is a major thought digression in the middle of the book when Li-lin is almost captured by the main baddie by being put under a love curse. The consequences of the love curse from the perspective of a female already in a mostly powerless role is described at length in all its horrible ramifications…something I don’t think I’ve ever come across before in all my years of fantasy reading. Kudos to Boroson for venturing into that thorny tangle of a topic in a way that seems to speak to sexual slavery in the non-magical world as well. This sequel is worth reading solely for that part. (and then the blind fighting sequence afterwards as well)
So why only 4 instead of the first book’s 5 stars? It took me about a third of the book before I started investing emotionally again. Part of it is that all the emotional relationships are set up in the first book and the second just assumes we’ve got all that covered. This is a tricky thing to pull off in a second book. So I recommend reading the first book soon before this one. Don’t do what i did and wait for a year or longer!
For tackling real-world ethical issues, a gory and entertaining parade of monsters and gods, and a clever, conflicted heroine, definitely dip into this series…but with the first book first.