Title: The Iron Will of Genie Lo
Author: F.C. Yee
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Amulet Books
Publication date: January 14 2020
Hardcover: 304 pages
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.
Stand alone or series: Second and FINAL book in the Genie Lo duology
How did I get this book: Review copy
Format (e- or p-): Paperback
Welcome to my Ted Talk.
review I will expound on the marvelousness that is The Iron Will of
Genie Lo by F.C. Yee, the sequel to equally marvellous The Epic Crunch
of Genie Lo.
Just to recap: Genie Lo is the epic reincarnation of the Ruyi Jingu Bang, the staff and companion to the equally epic, fabled Monkey King, reborn as a Chinese girl in America. As the events in The Epic Crunch of Genie Lo told us, Genie discovered who she was, had to handle having superpowers and super-responsibilities, including becoming the Heaven-appointed Guardian to the Bay area, listening and helping the demons who have settled there.
All Genie wanted for this weekend was to have a nice college visit with her best friend Yunie, getting a break from being Shouhushen. But all of a sudden, she is having her first real fight with her boyfriend Quentin (the Monkey King), her mom has a scary health emergency and oh yes, a new multi dimension threat against Earth – and the all the other realms – forces Gods and other Chinese celestial beings to band together. Before long, the ACTUAL Mandate to the celestial throne is put into question when the Jade Emperor goes AOL and Genie, Quentin and Guanyin (the Goddess of Mercy)’s lives are on the line.
Instead of primarily dealing with super-powers, this is the book where Genie has to handle her identity crisis: who is she now? Life used to be easy: she was an A student getting ready to go to college. Now she is that but also has to worry about her supernatural powers and how those affect who she is. The future is uncertain for the first time in her life. Meanwhile, growing up brings about questions about choice and agency. One thing I absolutely loved about the book is that it doesn’t skirt real-life problems and they are not easily, magically fixed. Genie is poor, her family has struggled with money their entire lives, her mom now has a medical emergency and handling THAT is another difficulty in America when you are poor. This consideration and her worries about her family – including her filial need to be a good daughter – are an important part of the story as is Genie’s growing understanding about herself. Her relationship with her two friends Yunie and Guanyin are beautiful, strong and so amazingly handled, they are referred to by Genie as “her two sisters”. The foundation for this found family without letting go of her complicated but loving blood family is just so nice.
You get the feeling that Genie is this complex, rich character who has a real life, real needs that go way beyond her life as a supernatural being. I also adore Quentin and his growth as a character and as a supportive boyfriend.
Finally, and this cannot be stressed enough: I love Genie’s voice. She is hilarious, this book made me laugh out loud one million times. I also love how physically powerful she is, how she is pure brute force and how she relishes it. But in this book she also learns a lot about diplomacy, sacrifice and having to express her feelings in ways that are helpful – her relationship with Quentin is just one aspect of that and their heart-to-heart was handled beautifully.
The only bad thing about this book is that it is the END TO THE SERIES, already finished as a duology, gone too soon in my opinion, long live Genie Lo, the one and only Ruyi Jingu Bang, reborn as a girl and forever in my HEART.
Rating: Hello 2020, here is your first 10-rated book. You are welcome.