Y’know what I hate? When a review starts off with a recap of the plot. If I’m interested in the book, I’ve already read the plot synopsis and nothing anyone puts in their review really tops what the publisher/author has already written.
WHEW. So glad I got that off my chest. Here’s what’s on F.C. Yee’s site about The Epic Crush of Genie Lo:
“The struggle to get into a top-tier college consumes sixteen-year-old Genie Lo’s every waking thought. But when her sleepy Bay Area town comes under siege from hell-spawn straight out of Chinese folklore, her priorities are suddenly and forcefully rearranged.
Her only guide to the demonic chaos breaking out around her is Quentin Sun, a beguiling, maddening new transfer student from overseas. Quentin assures Genie she is strong enough to fight these monsters, for she unknowingly harbors an inner power that can level the very gates of Heaven.
Genie will have to dig deep within herself to summon the otherworldly strength that Quentin keeps talking about. But as she does, she finds the secret of her true nature is entwined with his, in a way she could never have imagined…”
Anyway. Hwayugi, or A Korean Odyssey, wrapped up not long ago. I loved the potential of that series, but it just fell on its face, despite having epic characters, great humor/banter, and fantastic potential for something awesome. I feel bad for my Hwayugi co-watchers who got an earful after I finished the series. It wasn’t bad — not at all! — but it could have been so much better.
Get to the point, maknae. This is a book review, not a soapbox.
So on one of the FB Korean drama pages, we were discussing the story that Hwayugi was based on, the Chinese folk tale Journey to the West. Someone asked if there were other adaptations out there, and The Epic Crush of Genie Lo came up. In my past life (pre-kdramas), I was an avid reader and reviewer of books. What better way to feed my current addiction than by using my past drug? I was IN.
But woe is me, neither of the libraries I was a member of carried it! Not even electronically. Which is cataclysmic, because this book is AWESOME. Seriously. It was about twice the price I’m usually willing to pay for an ebook, but it was so, SO worth it. Basically, this is what Hwayugi SHOULD have been. I laughed, I cheered, I punched the air and totally wanted to high-five Genie for sticking to her guns and being her awesome self. And Quentin, the darkly mischievous boy that changes her life, was perfectly snarky, brave and knowledgeable when he needed to be, and just a little bit hot. The chemistry between Genie and Quentin was like nothing I’d ever read before — Genie just does NOT live in her head the way other female leads do, and her unconscious attraction to Quentin was deftly drawn. The only thing I would wish for is a more substantial cast of secondary characters for Genie and Quentin to share their crackling wit with, but as this is the first in a trilogy, I am satisfied. For now. You’ve got two more books, Yee-nim. Make it good!
(For more gentle readers: There are some swears in here. I’d put it at maybe a light PG-13 level, for lack of a better reference.)
If you want to own this book, you can find it here: The Epic Crush of Genie Lo. (Yes, this is an affiliate link. Thank you for supporting us by clicking on it!)
Until the next good read, I remain —
Karie the Maknae
Dramas with a Side of Kimchi