Hello Humans! Who remembers when I reviewed The Epic Crush of Genie Lo back in July of 2017? Well, it’s two and a bit years later and I’m here to review the sequel and end to the duology: The Iron Will of Genie Lo – will it live up to book one and does the wait make it any sweeter?
Genie Lo thought she was busy protecting the Bay Area from demons. But now, as a Heaven- appointed Guardian, even the well-being of demons is her responsibility—and their numbers are multiplying. Guanyin and Quentin are doing their best to help; but what they really need is for the Jade Emperor to get off his butt and deal with the crisis. While he’s AWOL, Genie nominates Guanyin to fill in his shoes, unaware that the role will go to the god who can defeat a mysterious threat to the supernatural order. Along with a few other contenders for the throne, including a former enemy, Genie and her friends embark on a Heavenly quest to an in-between world. But when faced with true danger, the group realizes that what will save the universe this time is sacrifice, not strength.
I was initially a little nervous setting out on this book, I wasn’t totally sure if I could recall what had happened in book one, but in typical me fashion it was almost the end of the month and there was no time for a re-read – so I just jumped right in.
Thankfully there is a bit of a time jump between the events of book one and this book. It’s not so drastic that you could pick this book up without reading The Epic Crush of Genie Lo and have no problems, but it does mean this book feels more like the start of a new season of a TV show as opposed to the start of a new episode – is that a good analogy?
This book certainly has a similar energy to the first book, I don’t know if it’s because Genie is slightly older, thinking more about how she’ll fit into the real world once she finishes high school, but there’s something a little bit mid-series Buffy about it all. There’s the fun dialogue and the back and forth between various characters, along with epic battles with creatures great and small, with a heavy dose of ‘real world’ emotion and difficulty alongside.
At the start of the book the author mentions that this book is more about managing the things that life throws at us (in this case sometimes literally) as opposed to just being a story about a hero being heroic. It was an interesting take on a story and I appreciated them taking that risk, as I’m sure it would have been easier to plough on ahead with a punchy story. I think for the most part it pays off and makes this feel different to other YA stories. That being said, not having that focus that a simpler narrative would give did make the book feel a little less cohesive and harder to follow. As ever that could just be me but I thought it worth mentioning.
Genie remains a wonderful character, and I liked that this book delved more into her ‘real world’ background and even brought in ideas of financial privilege in a way that I really appreciated, it’s not something I initially expected from this book so I was pleased to read it.
I think, overall, this is a great duology and I’d recommend it to people looking for books involving mythology, especially in an effort to de-westernise your reading. I think that this book doesn’t quite pack the same impact as the first book did, possibly it just doesn’t feel as though it quite commits to anything as hard as it could? That being said, I do now intend to, at some stage, go back and re-read from book one, and I hope to read more from F C Yee in the future.
My rating: 3/5 stars
I received a free digital copy of this book from the publisher, all opinions are my own.
The Iron Will of Genie Lo Publishes January 14th!
What say you? Is this on your TBR? Let me know in the comments below!