I enjoyed Monkey better than the first book in The Five Ancestors series. The dialogue seemed a little better, and Malao is, frankly, a more pleasant character to be around than Fu was. His mischievous personality made him a fun character, and when paired with Fu it served to soften Fu's sharp edges.
So far in the series, though, I am having a hard time accepting Fu and Malao at least as Kung Fu masters. These boys seem to have little self-control, very little discipline, and very little regard for caution. They are often reckless and leap head-long into dangerous situations. On the other hand, I realize that this is a book written for children, and kids want characters that they can identify with. If you've got an 11 or 12 year old acting with the wisdom and self-knowledge of an adult, then that doesn't make the character too believable or too relatable to a kid, does it? In fact, it makes that character pretty boring.
The slamming of the female gender was toned down considerably in this book, although it did rear up once or twice. Still, that grated less in this book because of some developments that I can't discuss without spoliers.
I am enjoying the way in which these books build upon one another. Events carry over into the book featuring the next character, and slight shifts in perspective are executed. Once events that the monks shared in common are looked at from the "new" character's perspective, the story picks up again and moves forward with that monk in the lead position. It's an interesting device, and allows a reader to perhaps become more familiar with each character more effectively than they could if only one book tried to hold all of their personalities and stories. On to the next book for my literary martial arts fix.