Book Review: The Iron Will of Genie Lo

F. C. Yee

Rating: 4 out of 5.

published: 21st January 2020
spoilers? nope


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.

Galley provided by publisher

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo is one of the most criminally underrated YA books of the past few years, so it stands to reason that this book will become criminally underrated too. Do not let it. Just sit down and read this series right now because, if you haven’t, you’re missing out. If you like Rick Riordan’s books, and any of the books in his imprint, this will be right up your alley.

Okay, that’s done. Onto the actual review.

The Iron Will of Genie Lo starts off a few months after book 1 ends. Granted, I couldn’t remember how book 1 actually ended, but it’s not all that hard to pick up. So, Genie has a Heavenly Mandate putting her in charge of keeping demons on earth in check, but meanwhile the Jade Emperor has gone missing, there’s a huge threat coming, and she has a college trip to get through. Sounds simple right?

The best part of this book was Genie. I know, I know, I have a Type when it comes to characters and Genie fits it perfectly. I loved her in book 1 and I loved her even more here. And of course the surrounding cast is great too (Quentin and Yunie are obviously next on the list of favourites, followed by Guanyin).

Unlike in book 1, the plot is a little calmer, less chaotic, for the most part. I mean, that’s to be expected given how it’s not like Genie’s finding out she’s a reincarnated weapon all over again. So yeah, there’s not much happening for a good chunk of the book, but that doesn’t matter because the characters carry it along so well. And then when things do happen, they really happen.

But one thing I would say is that the ending feels a little unsatisfying almost? Like, there could be more to it, though it’s kind of clear from the time-skip that that was supposed to be some sort of resolution. Which was fine, but at the same time it does feel a little… light maybe? I don’t know how to describe it best.

That aside though, this was an excellent sequel (and I really hope not the last we see of Genie).

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