Book Review: Crazy Rich Asians

Title: Crazy Rich Asians

Author: Kevin Kwan

Genre/s: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

My rating: 3.5/5 stars

Goodreads synopsis:

Crazy Rich Asians is the outrageously funny debut novel about three super-rich, pedigreed Chinese families and the gossip, backbiting, and scheming that occurs when the heir to one of the most massive fortunes in Asia brings home his ABC (American-born Chinese) girlfriend to the wedding of the season.

When Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home, long drives to explore the island, and quality time with the man she might one day marry. What she doesn’t know is that Nick’s family home happens to look like a palace, that she’ll ride in more private planes than cars, and that with one of Asia’s most eligible bachelors on her arm, Rachel might as well have a target on her back. Initiated into a world of dynastic splendor beyond imagination, Rachel meets Astrid, the It Girl of Singapore society; Eddie, whose family practically lives in the pages of the Hong Kong socialite magazines; and Eleanor, Nick’s formidable mother, a woman who has very strong feelings about who her son should–and should not–marry. Uproarious, addictive, and filled with jaw-dropping opulence, Crazy Rich Asians is an insider’s look at the Asian JetSet; a perfect depiction of the clash between old money and new money; between Overseas Chinese and Mainland Chinese; and a fabulous novel about what it means to be young, in love, and gloriously, crazily rich.

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August last year, we saw the movie adaptation of this book hit the cinemas, take the world by storm, and make history. Since then, I vowed to read the book first before I watch the movie. And last Christmas, one of my closest friends gifted me a movie tie-in copy of it, and I read it right away.

The writing

The writing was okay, but I didn’t fall in love with it. If anything, I got a headache. There were times that the perspective and the tone of the narration got confusing because it would jump from one character to another.

On the other hand, I loved how the author managed to squeeze in tidbits of various Asian cultures, and those were really interesting. I’m Asian (a Filipino here!) and getting a feel of all these different cultures, be it good and the bad, made me connect to the story more.

The characters

The characters were very interesting—I loved their crazy, I loved their extravagance, I loved getting to know their lifestyles and how it truly is to be “filthy rich”. But at the same time, they seem to lack depth. There is little characterization. And if there is, it had no finesse and was very bland. I wanted to get to know these characters beyond their luxurious lifestyles, beyond the cliché personalities, and the usual tropes. Unfortunately, it really lacked for me.

The plot

The plot was interesting, but also very common. I think perhaps the subplots are what really made me get into the story. Astrid’s struggle, Peik Lin and her family’s confusion, Alistair and his relationship with a starlet, and more. These subplots really got me at the edge of my seat, and I loved them!

I also liked that there was a mystery there at the end, a history—and future—just waiting to be uncovered. And I’m not just talking about that plot twist at the end, I’m also talking about how the story ended in general. It was very open, and it just shows the reader that there’s more to the story. It really invites you to grab a copy of the sequel and read it as well.

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Crazy Rich Asians is my 56th read of 2018—my very last 2018 read! Now, I need to watch the movie!

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