Before her first foray into original fiction, I knew Lily Gee as a screen name. Under the pseudonym of GaliGee, she wrote fanfiction set in the universe of Bionicle. She was doubtlessly the most prolific fanfiction author in the fandom, and for good reason; she has a gift for making even derivative work fresh and exciting. During my middle school years, I looked forward to every Tuesday and Friday; those were the days Gee updated her current story with a new chapter.
Now I'm almost 21, and a few days ago I decided to revisit the fantasies I loved as a kid. I was surprised to find that I enjoyed them just as much as I did years ago. I think that's a real credit to Lily Gee's skill, considering that the Bionicle franchise is geared towards preteen boys. After I tore through every short story and epic she'd completed over the years, I was left wanting more. So I was thrilled when I saw that Gee had just recently published her first novel, and purchased it the next day.
Drawn to Disaster is based on Gee's popular Makuta series, and follows the same tried-and-true formula. This is both its greatest draw and its biggest disappointment. At the beginning I got the impression that the novel was just an amalgamation of the series, compressed to fit in a book, and names modified to avoid copyright violations. Some of the scenes and dialogue are even recycled wholesale from Gee's previous work.
Yet I find myself having to forgive that, simply because she's a good enough writer to make it work. Gee managed to breathe new life into what I thought was Frankenstein's monster. Despite my initial concerns, Drawn to Disaster contains fresh ideas and a twist I can honestly say I never expected, in addition to the witty dialogue and fleshed-out characters I've come to expect from her.
But yet again this proves an annoyance. Despite my gripes about lack of originality, I was disappointed that the novel lacks the utter scope of the Makuta series. For instance, the one-sided rivalry between Yavahna and Zarena was never really explored, whereas it took two short stories before their Makuta counterparts made peace.
In spite of all this, I found myself really engrossed in Drawn to Disaster. It was an absolute treat to see another story from “GaliGee.” It's clever and genuinely funny, and even if you've never been exposed to Bionicle or Gee's fanfiction, you'll enjoy this book.
(reviewed 2 days after purchase)