Authentic Vietnam from the point of view of a young indie author

  • Book: Eyes (Half-Alive Book 1)
  • Location: Vietnam
  • Author: Nghịch Tử

Review Author: Moki83



It’s rare to see an Urban Fantasy sets in Vietnam. Even harder to find one written by Vietnamese author, born and raised in the country. What’s even more remarkable is the fact that the author of this novel is still in his early twenties.

Now you might be wary knowing all that, as many others have been as well. But Eyes delivers what it promised, which was introducing Vietnamese culture to its readers. Even the ones knowing absolutely nothing going in won’t get lost on the pages. Well, you could get lost in your own imagination, but the novel itself balanced the known and the unknown well enough that you will always know enough to follow the story.

Speaking of which, Eyes follow Thanh, a young college girl coming home to celebrate the Tet Holiday with her parents only to be sucked into a thrilling and bone chilling adventure. In order to survive, she must work together with someone she’d just met, Muc – a young and eccentric ghost catcher… without the ability to see ghosts.

In a perfect blend of magical realism, myths (both old and new), and reality (with many pop culture references), Eyes takes readers to the Suburbs of Hanoi, Vietnam, where the very culture of the country shines through almost every verse. It reads quite different to other English novels written by Western writers or even Vietnamese Americans, but that’s where the magic lies. If you have ever been to Vietnam, or plan to visit the rural area of Vietnam, this is a must-read, as the feeling will resonate and enhance your experience.

The novel is still a Thriller in genre. So gore-based horror does appear in later chapters. Nothing too much to handle, though. Not something for little kids, but any teens and above can handle this one just fine.

All in all, if you’re looking for something new, something fresh, something up-to-date with the time, this might be it. Modern Vietnam through the eyes of the very youth of the country.

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A story in which the location plays as important a role as the rest of your words.

2,500 word maximum, 750 word minimum

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Prizes total £1,750 / US$2,362 

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Entries close 6th November 2021