The Iron Will of Genie Lo

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 21 Dec 2019

Member Reviews

The Iron Will of Genie Lo lives ups to its predecessor and packs more than a few punches. Genie has leveled up in her powers, but with great power comes great responsibility, and inevitably trouble emerges. Her growth continues as she starts to take more initiative instead of simply reacting and her relationships with the people she cares about evolve (albeit not without some conflict). The humor is still as sharp as ever and the supporting characters, new and old, play their roles well in furthering the story and Genie's character arc. I appreciated the exploration of uncertainty because even with competence on your side, life has so many uncontrollable variables, and expecting a teen to have everything completely figured out and under control is simply unrealistic. This book gave me the adventure I needed, and I'm sad that the series is now over, but it will always hold a special place in my heart.
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It's been many years since I read Journey to the West so I didn't remember exactly what the Monkey King (aka Genie's boyfriend Quentin) could do, nor did I remember much about the Jade Emperor.  It didn't matter.  Just like it didn't really matter that I hadn't read the first book.  There are enough context clues given to help readers figure out what's going on, which is always great.  Genie's voice is such a modern voice, with the right mix of sarcasm and maturity a high school senior should have.  That many of the Chinese mythological beings also had that mix was a little disappointing, though.  The quest to rid the world of an Extremely Evil Thing takes Genie, Quentin and a few others into parallel planes of existence and Yee does a great job of not just imagining a world that could be earth but isn't, but giving us a new experience of what a world could be.  

The ending was nearly perfect, but disappointing in that it was not just the ending for the book but for this series (is two books a series?).

eARC provided by publisher.
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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.
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I was really happy to get a copy of this from NetGalley as I'd loved the first book in the series. I enjoyed Genie's journey in this one. As the child of divorced parents struggling to make ends meet she begins to realise that her dreams of going to an Ivy League college will place a terrible burden on her family. Being the child of  immigrants she feels she's always under pressure to be the perfect daughter and student. She jumps at the chance to go away to on a girls weekend with her friend - ostensibly to have a look at a college campus but really to cut loose and go to a few parties. This leads to a falling out with boyfriend and the Monkey king Quentin. Somehow she manages to work out college plans, family loyalties, boyfriend problems and save the world from big monsters all at the same time. The banter between Genie and Quentin is still as fresh and fun as before.
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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!
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Sequels can be tricky, but The Iron Will of Genie Lo delivered. In fact, it might be better. This book opened the narrative arcs to include more persons of interest in a way that helped build the world and the characters inside it. Unlike its predecessor, this book took a more introspective approach. This shift allowed more relatability to the characters and a stranger pull for the readership, imo. 

This story reified Genie's humanness. Her relationship, her college experiences, and her deepening friendships added an element to the story that allowed me to connect to her and the world she lives in better and sutured me into her life. This story is funny, bittersweet and emotional. If you want substance, fun and feeling, then pick up this book - or the first, if you haven't started the series yet!

thanks to NetGalley for the free eArc in exchange for an honest review.
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Life has been busy for Genie Lo, the reincarnated Ruyi Jingu Bang--the weapon of Sun Wukong (the Monkey King)--as she and Quentin (the Monkey King in question--and boyfriend) have gone from battling demons to governing over them. As the Shouhushen of the Kingdom of California on Earth, Genie has a lot on her plate. She needs a vacation. And she's looking forward to her long weekend away with her best friend, Yunie, to visit a college. Things do not go according to plan. Which, for over-achiever Genie, is unacceptable. But she has no choice when the Jade Emperor seemingly disappears and a Mandate Challenge presents an opportunity for a new ruler of Heaven. Genie has the perfect idea for who belongs on that throne. Question is, will Heaven and Earth survive long enough to have a new ruler?

The phenomenal sequel--and conclusion--to "The Epic Crush of Genie Lo", Yee blends humor, teenage antics (ancient and modern) with Chinese mythology in a spectacular fashion. Driven, rough-around-the-edges Genie is the perfect protagonist, and we see more of her character growth as she still figures out what her new life means--especially as it continues to impact her human life.

The stakes are higher. The bad guys are scarier. The plot is twistier. And Genie Lo?

Heaven will know her by her iron will.
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The Epic Crush of Genie Lo was one of my favorite reads of 2017, and I was eagerly awaiting the sequel! You know I hit that request button as soon as it went up on Edelweiss/Netgalley. It was very hard to follow up the brilliance and masterpiece that is The Epic Crush of Genie Lo, but this book certainly did. However, The Iron Will of Genie Lo was more introspective, compared to the action-packed pace of its predecessor. It was still amazing though, just in a different way.

This book was truly a reminder that Genie is still only human and trying to live her life while acting as a Guardian. She’s touring colleges and worrying about her future as Guardian on top of typical teenage angst. I really liked seeing this side of the story; both Genie’s school life and supernatural life are equally important to her, but there are limits to how much she can balance them.

So yeah, this book was much more character-driven and introspective than plot-heavy. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still plenty of action. It’s just more balanced with Genie’s hopes and fears, her dreams and aspirations.

Also, Genie and Quentin have a lot of relationship drama, and their fights are hilarious. I love them! One of the best parts of the book. They talk through their problems in such a healthy way as well (after the initial avoidance of their feelings).

I loved seeing more of her friendship with her best friend; we didn’t get to see enough of them in the last book because Genie was trying to keep her life secret. Yunnie is an important part of her life, so it felt right to incorporate her more. I also really loved reading about Genie’s friendship with Guanyin developing more.

I’m sad that this was the end of our journey with all these characters, but it seemed natural to end here since I know that the plot and the character arcs can only go so far. The Iron Will of Genie Lo was a bittersweet ending, but one that feels right. The characters have grown so much, Genie particularly, and I’m glad to have gone on this journey with them.
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I LOVE Genie. I’ll happily read any story featuring Genie. However, this book felt a little scattered, jumping from place to place and conflict to conflict without what feels like essential important anchor (which was laid out so skillfully and hilariously in book 1): setting the scene of Genie as a somewhat unwilling, unlikely, yet exceptional and wonderfully oddball, brave but vulnerable and completely irresistible heroine, a la Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I felt like we needed more time in Genie’s point of view and her life as a teenager to set up this dynamic before launching into the adventure. 

Although Quentin was present, it’s not possible for me to get enough of him as a character, and I missed the in-depth Quentin-Genie time we got in Epic Crush. I did love Genie’s significant but perfectly imperfect maturation into her powers—and Yunie’s key role!!!!!! 

When is this going to be a movie already? 

I received an advance copy of this book through Abrams Books and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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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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The Iron Will of Genie Lo by F. C. Yee is the sequel to the 2017 YA fantasy novel The Epic Crush of Genie Lo. Many thanks to Netgalley for providing me with an ARC of this book. All views are my own.

Trigger warnings: violence, death, hospitalisation of a parent, frank discussions about money and healthcare, discussions of sex, mild sexual scenes

To recap the first book: Genie is a high school student who is the human reincarnation of a mythological weapon called the Ruyi Jingu Bang, and she must protect the world from demons. I didn't really remember much more than that when I went into the sequel (I have a terrible memory), but luckily the author gave a little re-cap of the first book, so I settled back into this world very nicely. I wish all sequels would do this!! 

One of the other things that I really appreciated was the way that this book built upon the mythology and world that were established in the first novel. I think that's the real sign of a great sequel - when the limits of the first novel are pushed in a way that makes sense and allows the scope of the story to expand. We meet a lot more of the gods, and we're introduced to even more of their complicated political system. Our previous understanding of the gods' powers are challenged too, sometimes with the introduction of other mythological characters. One character called Princess Iron Fan particularly caught my interest, and I'm definitely going to do some reading about her. 

The character development was also incredible. A lot of the first novel was Genie worrying about college applications and her performance in high school. In this book, she starts thinking about what she would actually do if she went to college - and if she can even afford to go at all. It was really relatable for me to read about her worries, especially in relation to how people can change and reinvent themselves when they go to college. This is something that I definitely remember! There's also an emphasis on her relationship with Quentin, who is now her boyfriend. There are some discussions of sex, as well as how their relationship might progress if Genie goes to college. I loved that these conversations were included, particularly regarding sex. This is an area that YA does sometimes shy away from, so to have it here was great. 

I'm not going to go in-depth about the plot, but I just wanted to say that it was great to have more interactions between Earth and the Heavenly worlds, particularly with Genie's best friend Yunie. There were a couple of times that the plot genuinely took me by surprise, too. 

Overall, I think that this is a really worthy sequel to The Epic Crush of Genie Lo, and while I'm sad to see this series end, I'm very interested to read whatever F. C. Yee writes next. 

This book will be published in January 2020.
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The Iron Will of Genie Lo picks up pretty close to where we left off with Epic Crush. Genie is now the Protector of California, splitting her time between high school (where she's once again had leadership thrust upon her as captain of the volleyball team) and keeping yaoguai in check. It's a fairly tightrope that's rapidly fraying at both ends as she tries to figure out how to keep all the plates spinning without letting anyone down. 

Genie is angry, y'all, and possibly suffering from a not-small amount of unacknowledged anxiety. She and Yunie decide to get away for one last adventure together: a college visit to Stanford. Can't a divinely appointed guardian take a weekend off? 

The tone of Iron Will is a little different than Epic Crush. As with the first book, Genie's anger comes from a real place. The stakes are higher this time around. She's juggling too much, and there's only so much relief she can count on. (Quentin is here, but we get less of him than I would have liked.) Graduation looms and she's set on going far away for college, saying goodbye to Yunie, how will her parents afford to send her to school, who will watch over the demons while she's gone... the nonsense coming out of Heaven is the last thing she needs on top of all the other bits.

I loved this next step in Genie's adventures. The humor is still there alongside the pathos. We get some fun new characters from Heaven. I truly have only two complaints: not enough Quentin (but it's Genie's story, I get it) and I'm a little sad that Yee is ending Genie's story here. The ending is a fantastic ending, one that makes sense for all the characters. Maybe not the ending I would have wanted, but one that Genie deserves. 

I was given a complimentary copy of this book via NetGalley in order to facilitate this review. The Iron Will of Genie Lo will be released on January 21, 2020. Pre-order today!
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What I really liked about this sequel to The Epic Crush of Genie Lo is the simple fact that she’s shown as human with college worries, true friendship and a family that she loves. What I struggled with was her relationship with Quentin as because as much as I wanted to like him there were times I was left rolling my eyes. Perhaps I expected too much from this book with its nod to Asian legends of Sun Wukong but honestly this Monkey King is far too juvenile and boisterous for my liking. Genie is still trying to keep control of the hellspawn that want to escape and cause mayhem and she actually learns even more about her powers here but sadly for this reader it just lacked something although if you want a fun and totally preposterous view of Asian folklore then this book will open your eyes !
This voluntary take is of a copy I requested from Netgalley and my thoughts and comments are honest and I believe fair
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The Iron Will of Genie Lo wraps you up in adventure, magic, and a world that just has to be experienced. This sequel does not disappoint. If you are new to F C Yee's series prepare to marvel in a world within a world.
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I completely and utterly fell in love with The Epic Crush Of Genie Lo when it came out and gave it what I believed to be a well deserved 5 stars so you can imagine how excited I was when I heard that F. C. Yee was going to be writing a sequel and the thought of a series really got my blood pumping. Epic Crush was an outstanding and fresh contemporary take on the ancient Monkey King legend and I could definitely see all the potential the book had to become a brilliant ongoing series if it carried on in the same vein going forward. I can honestly say that while Iron Will did everything I hoped it would I am more than a little sad that the author has decided to end the series as a duology. Iron Will was every bit as good as Epic Crush but I did find that it didn't feel quite a fresh or quite as humorous as the first adventure, hence this book only getting the 4 stars rather that the 5 stars I had been expecting myself to give it.

The Iron Will Of Genie Lo is a brilliant and worthy sequel to The Epic Crush Of Gene Lo in my opinion and I would gladly recommend it anyone and everyone. It's a fun duology that is totally worth reading if the ancient Asian legends of Sun Wukong interests you.
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Lots of potential here, but the second book in the series is clearly not the way to enter the world of Genie Lo. Readers are dumped directly into the story with no background, leaving them confused long enough to never really become attached to or interested in the characters or the world.
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Thank you for the advanced copy ! I started reading but realized there was a first novel so I am in the middle of that one currently! I wanted to update and say that the bit that I did read was fantastic and I will update this review as I finish the novel!
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A DELIGHT. Did I love it as much as The Epic Crush of Genie Lo? No, not quite -- it's hard to hit that level of magic in a sequel, where you're trying to expand a universe instead of just introducing it. But Genie's voice is still pitch-perfect, her worries about college and her family oh-so-relatable, and her determination to cut through all the bullshit and promote the best candidate for the job refreshing. I didn't love the drama introduced by unsettling her relationship with Quentin, but I do get that it's unrealistic for a magical weapon reincarnated into the body of a teenage girl to have smooth boyfriend sailing forever and ever! I just think she and Quentin are really cute. I'm bummed that there won't be any more books in this series, to be honest -- I would have loved to see the adult urban fantasy capers of Genie and Quentin! -- but I'm happy with where the story ended.
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