Eyes (Half-Alive #1) by Nghich Tu : A Book Review

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.


Spirited Away meets Coraline in the Suburbs of Hanoi, Vietnam with a twist to the genre. A heart-pounding journey of betrayal and bond, strength and perseverance, with the looming threat of ghosts, demons, and black magic… told from the perspective of a comedic protagonist!

An eerie children’s nursery rhyme lures Thanh – an intelligent college girl with an unnatural level of trust issues – into an adventure of her lifetime.

On this journey, she meets Điền Mục, a young ghost catcher who can’t see ghosts but was raised by a 500-year-old spirit and has about zero experience in human interactions.

The fates of two unlikely companions intertwine on the spider web of a criminal mastermind who has been evading arrest for the past 40 years.

Their lives are on the line; the trap has been set! Meanwhile, Thanh still hasn’t trusted Mục yet… But can you honestly blame her for not choosing a total stranger, and a weirdo no less, over people she’d known her whole life?

My thoughts: First off I would just like to say how impressed I was by the translation of this novel from Vietnamese to English. Though not perfect, it was pretty darn close and I’ve read plenty of English novels with more mistakes. One thing I do not agree with in the blurb is that the story is told from the perspective of a comedic protagonist. This novel is NOT 1st person, it is 3rd person.

I am not familiar with Vietnamese culture at all and I felt like I learned so much from this novel. I found the culture interesting and it’s made me want to continue learning more. What I loved about Eyes is that anything that the reader may be confused by (such as something associated with Vietnamese culture), a number was placed next to it and an explanation was provided in the back of the book.

Overall the storyline was good, the world building was solid and it and was filled with strong and likable characters with defining personalities. I definitely agree with the blurb – Spirited Away meets Caroline – 100%. I could actually see this novel being turned into a Studio Ghibli classic. It would be fantastic!

I enjoyed the book thoroughly until about 60% of the way in and then it became a bit tedious. I think it was because there was so much explaining to do about how things linked and I felt myself getting wound up at times as the characters would talk to each other for a long period of time even when they where in grave danger. Being in that situation, you would definitely keep your talking to a minimum and the enemy wouldn’t just stand around and let you have a chat.

It did pick back up at the end and become more enjoyable again. It felt slightly rushed towards the end but I think most of my questions were answered. The story ended with a cliff-hanger which has naturally left me wanting to read the next book. Even if it hadn’t finished on a cliff-hanger I definitely think I would read the next book.

This novel is available to purchase from Amazon Uk:

On Kindle for 0.99p – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Eyes-Half-Alive-Book-Ngh%E1%BB%8Bch-T%E1%BB%AD-ebook/dp/B099L8VBNJ/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=eyes+half+alive&qid=1633696838&sr=8-1

and as a Paperback for £9.98 – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Eyes-1-Half-Alive-Ngh%E1%BB%8Bch-T%E1%BB%AD/dp/B093RPTMDD/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=eyes+half+alive&qid=1633696899&sr=8-2

In the US you can purchase from Amazon:

On Kindle for $1.35 – https://www.amazon.com/Eyes-Half-Alive-Book-Ngh%E1%BB%8Bch-T%E1%BB%AD-ebook/dp/B099L8VBNJ/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=eyes+half+alive&qid=1633696955&sr=8-2

As always, thanks for reading!

Gee Liz ❤

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