Title: The Iron Will of Genie Lo
Author: F.C. Yee
Publisher: Amulet Books
Release Date: January 14, 2020
Page Count: 304 pages
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Mythology
The fate of the heavens is at stake in this hilarious and highly-anticipated sequel to the The Epic Crush of Genie Lo, from the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Rise of Kyoshi
Genie Lo thought she was busy last year, juggling her academic career with protecting the Bay Area from demons. But now, as the Heaven-appointed Guardian of California, she’s responsible for the well-being of all yaoguai and spirits on Earth. Even the ones who interrupt her long-weekend visit to a prestigious college, bearing terrible news about a cosmos-threatening force of destruction in a nearby alternate dimension.
The goddess Guanyin and Genie’s boyfriend, Quentin Sun Wukong, do their best to help, but it’s really the Jade Emperor who’s supposed to handle crises of this magnitude. Unfortunately for Genie and the rest of existence, he’s gone AWOL. Fed up with the Jade Emperor’s negligence, Genie spots an opportunity to change the system for the better by undertaking a quest that spans multiple planes of reality along with an adventuring party of quarrelsome Chinese gods. But when faced with true danger, Genie and her friends realize that what will save the universe this time isn’t strength, but sacrifice.
Hold it! This is a review of the sequel to the very amazing and kick-butt book, The Epic Crush of Genie Lo. This review may contain spoilers from the first book, so you have been warned if you choose to read on. You can check out my review of the first book here.
Thank you to Amulet Books and NetGalley for the e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
In 2017, The Epic Crush of Genie Lo was one of my favorite reads. I remember being so excited when I found out there would be a sequel. And let me tell you, the sequel did not disappoint. It was honestly one of the best sequels I have read. There’s action, back-and-forth character banter, and so much character growth; the characters (and the story) stay true to what the first book brought to the table.
In the sequel, Genie is not just dealing with the demons – protecting them and finding them a home. She’s also struggling with the idea of her senior year and what comes after: college. Genie knows her parents can’t afford the college she wants to go to, and that insight causes another strain with her parents, especially after the health scare with her mom. And then there’s the part where Genie and Quentin are at a stale part of their relationship and neither really knows how to move forward. All in all, Genie doesn’t really have it easy this year.
One of the reasons I loved this book and its predecessor is the witty and sarcastic banter between the characters, especially Genie and Quentin. It makes the story humorous and makes the characters feel real. Genie and Quentin have such a genuine and loving relationship and, ultimately, have each other’s backs through everything. In this book, they’re now dating, which easily becomes another struggle for Genie. She’s figuring out how to navigate their relationship and how exactly it will fit in her life; she wants Quentin in her life, but with almost every conversation between them ending in an argument, she doesn’t know how to get through the rough patches.
So, needless to say, Genie has a lot on her plate. And her plate starts to overflow when she tries to change the system the gods and goddesses have been following for centuries. Which pegs the ultimate question: will Genie be able to handle everything she’s gotten herself into? What I loved about this is that it really did make Genie feel like a real character. This book showcases her strengths and weaknesses and doesn’t hesitate to illustrate when Genie reaches her breaking point. She dealt with stress and defeat and her anxiety of the future, and I could relate to that on a high level because that’s exactly what it felt like for me when I was finishing high school. It was great to see that portrayal and it was executed in such a phenomenal way.
The writing and flow of this story is wonderful and just as captivating as the first book. There was never too much action, nor was there information overload, which I really appreciated. F.C. Yee has a way of bringing a story together with characters that fit so well and feel so real. He will continue to be an instant-buy author for me, and I cannot wait to see what his next work brings.
Overall, The Iron Will of Genie Lo is a wonderful sequel to the first book, one that is equally as good as its predecessor. Those who loved the first book will not be disappointed, and may, like me, end up liking the sequel more.
My rating: 4.5 stars out of 5 stars