books · reviews

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo // A mythology-inspired YA tale

Genie Lo is one among droves of Ivy-hopeful overachievers in her sleepy Bay Area suburb. You know, the type who wins. When she’s not crushing it at volleyball or hitting the books, Genie is typically working on how to crack the elusive Harvard entry code.

But when her hometown comes under siege from hellspawn straight out of Chinese folklore, her priorities are dramatically rearranged. Enter Quentin Sun, a mysterious new kid in class who becomes Genie’s self-appointed guide to battling demons. While Genie knows Quentin only as an attractive transfer student with an oddly formal command of the English language, in another reality he is Sun Wukong, the mythological Monkey King incarnate—right down to the furry tale and penchant for peaches.

Suddenly, acing the SATs is the least of Genie’s worries. The fates of her friends, family, and the entire Bay Area all depend on her summoning an inner power that Quentin assures her is strong enough to level the very gates of Heaven. But every second Genie spends tapping into the secret of her true nature is a second in which the lives of her loved ones hang in the balance.

Characters

Genie excelled at her classes. She was already participating in extracurriculars like volleyball and volunteer work to beef up her university application. Her life was thrown off kilter when she met a Chinese exchange student named Quentin, who was involved in some really weird supernatural business. Quentin was, well… not of this world. He was here on a mission, and he needed Genie on his team.

I loved both Genie and Quentin, they were neither perfect, each having their own quirks. Genie was bold, ambitious and she spoke her mind. Quentin was just as intense. The two got along well and had great chemistry. Part of what made this book a fast read for me was because I was intrigued by these two MCs.

We do see a bit of the other parts of Genie’s world, such as her family and her best friend Yunie. Although these relationships were present, I felt like they took backseat to Genie and Quentin’s relationship. Genie’s friendship with Yunie and her relationship with her mom and dad were fascinating. I just wished that they were explored more in the book.

Plot and Pacing

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo was a modern-day continuation of the Journey to the West, a classical Chinese novel that was popular among children. I grew up with this story as a child, so it was super awesome and nostalgic to relive the Monkey King mythology in this novel. I loved how the Monkey King Sun Wukong and the Jingu Bang were brought back to life in this novel.

However much I loved this story, I thought it wasn’t as epic as it could have been. The ending wasn’t anticlimactic, but I felt that it could have been more. Then again I’m hearing that there is a sequel on the way!

Writing

As I mentioned before, this novel took no time for me to finish. The writing was light, easy to read and sometimes super hilarious. I loved the dialogues that flowed really well. Really, no complaints about the writing.

As for worldbuilding, the novel took place in modern day, although there were elements of Chinese mythology mixed in. I thought that the writer meshed these two worlds really well, although aspects of the story were very weird (then again Chinese mythology is at times weird lol.)

The Bottom Line: 3/5 stars!

Whether or not you’re a fan of Chinese mythology, The Epic Crush of Genie Lo is a fun and entertaining read.

Are you a fan of Chinese mythology, or mythology in general? What are your favourite nostalgic reads?

17 thoughts on “The Epic Crush of Genie Lo // A mythology-inspired YA tale

  1. Great review for this book Sophie, and I’m glad you enjoyed this one too. It sounds like a good pick for a quick And fun afternoon read. 🙂
    I’ve seen some other reviews for this book (a while ago, nothing as much recently) and I think the others agreed with you in that the story was fun and fast-paced but wasn’t as epic as they’d hoped it would be.
    I do enjoy mythology inspired stories (I largely pick up Greek mythology books but only because there seem to be more of them on the shelves than any other) but in a little on the fence about adding this one to my TBR list. It sounds good but not exceptional, and there are too many books I can’t wait to get around to sitting on my TBR list for me to add a book which has middle-rated reviews you know?
    Still I really enjoyed reading your thoughts on this one. Is it a series? Will you be picking up the next one if it is?
    Again great review. 🙂 ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Beth!
      Yeah I know what you mean about middle-rated books haha 🙂 We don’t read books that we expect to be “all right’, we read books that we want to be exceptional. Genie Lo was a middle-of-the-road book for me. I enjoyed it mostly because I was born and raised on Chinese mythology stories haha, but some parts of the story were kind of generic action/fantasy and not too special.
      Yes this is a series! I really related to this one because of all the Chinese mythology so I will probably pick up the next book 🙂
      Thank you Beth ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yep, and while there’s nothing wrong with a middle-of-the-road book if it wasn’t what we wanted we can end up disappointed even if the story wasn’t bad.
        Oh well hopefully the next book will be better then. I’ve read series which have started off middle-of-the-road but have gotten better and better so by the time I get to the end they’re a favourite of mine.
        That’s all right. 🙂 ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This sounds like a really fun and exciting book, though it’s ironic that it didn’t feel epic enough for you 😉 I always love reading books with elements of mythology, and the characters also sound really great! This has been on my tbr for a while, so hopefully I’ll get around to reading it soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Margaret! Yeah, I was expecting it to be a bit more epic because of the set-up, but it was just all right haha 🙂 In any case it was a fun read. Hope that you’ll enjoy this one!

      Like

  3. I added this to my TBR list earlier this year. I think fast pacing is really good in a book and I like that you liked the characters. 😊
    I also love the chinese mythology element because I don’t know too much but I am really interested in it so have been meaning to pick up more books on it!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, pacing can really be a make-or-break thing for me haha. In this case, the fast pacing really made me want to keep reading!
      Hope that you’ll enjoy this book 🙂 Although it is based on Chinese mythology, there is enough context/explanation that it is all right if you don’t already know the stories beforehand!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. This one was definitely a fun read 🙂 I was really interested in Chinese mythology as a child, and actually the Monkey King mythology is (at least nowadays) usually told as a children’s story. It’s also called Journey to the West which you might have heard of!

      Like

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