Book Review: Eyes – Nghịch Tử

Eyes ebook cover
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Rating: 1 out of 3.

A perfect read for fans of horror anime. Eyes by Nghịch Tử is a thrilling Vietnamese ghost story jam-packed with traditional lore and mythology. Having started as Facebook posts, the Halloween tale can now be enjoyed as a novel in English.

We follow the adventures of Vũ Thanh, who returns to her home village for the holidays to find it strangely changed. At first, she thinks Điền Mục, an oddball newcomer, is to blame, but the horrifying truth gradually comes to light and alters her view of the world forever.

Vietnamese Mythology

As already mentioned, Eyes is a book all about Vietnam and its folklore. We’re not just talking about monsters and deities, but rituals and proverbs too. You’ll come across one fascinating concept after another, opening your eyes to a culture that’s rich in wisdom and imagination. Minor translation issues aside, it’s an intriguing reading experience.

Exciting Ghost Story

We go through surreal images and events in quick succession alongside interesting characters and creatures that carry the story well. However, their evolution sometimes feels rushed. We don’t get to settle into their individual personalities before being swept into the next stage of the adventure.

Basically, the emphasis on fast and graphic action is definitely exciting and inspiring, but it tramples character and plot development. The story seems to have gone straight from fun Facebook posts into a novel without the appropriate adjustments to make sure it flows right.

Intricate Plot

A major plus to Eyes is its mystery. There are twists and turns that you and the characters go through to make sense of what’s going on in this seemingly innocent village. Expect surprising and emotive moments.

Unfortunately, the puzzle-solving takes over much of the narrative in that there’s too much explaining. And, while smart characters are great to have, the book seems to rely on them to unravel everything, which makes the plot drag in certain places.


Eyes is a worthwhile read that merges very creative paranormal action with Vietnamese culture. Despite some narrative problems, it’s a promising start to the Half-Alive Series, a unique and spine-tingling contribution to the dark fantasy genre.

Get your copy: Amazon

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Author: Electra Nanou

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