Hello, beautiful people! I’ve finally done it — I’ve succumbed to the hype surrounding Crazy Rich Asians! Some lovely bookstagrammers let me join their buddy read, so I obviously couldn’t say no. Though it took me a couple weeks longer to finish it, I really enjoyed reading Kwan’s drama filled novel!
Title: Crazy Rich Asians
Series: Crazy Rich Asians, Book One
Author: Kevin Kwan
Published on May 20th 2014 by Anchor (first published June 11th 2013)
Format: Paperback, 527 pages
Synopsis: When New Yorker Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home and quality time with the man she hopes to marry. But Nick has failed to give his girlfriend a few key details. One, that his childhood home looks like a palace; two, that he grew up riding in more private planes than cars; and three, that he just happens to be the country’s most eligible bachelor.
On Nick’s arm, Rachel may as well have a target on her back the second she steps off the plane, and soon, her relaxed vacation turns into an obstacle course of old money, new money, nosy relatives, and scheming social climbers.
Kwan’s novel is FULL OF EPIC DRAMA TO THE MAX! Seriously, the entire book is one big soap opera but WAY better. Full of family secrets, plots to destroy lives, so much gossip and romance at every turn, true drama lovers will devour Crazy Rich Asians.
The novel’s also INSANELY story focused, with a great emphasis on the plot development of the characters as a whole. There’s a beautiful fluidity to the story, progressing in a remarkable order even with SO many different characters and the omniscient (all-knowing narrator) point of view. It makes you really feel involved in their lives, NEEDING to know what happens next in this crazy drama.
I truly enjoyed the rich and detailed focus on Singapore and Chinese culture, making the little wanderlust in me desire to travel even more! Much of this book is based on Kwan’s own life experiences in Singapore, which is ultimately why this books FEELS so authentic in comparison to other novels surrounding these cultures. The description of the food’s ABSOLUTELY DELIGHTFUL — my mouth LITERALLY watered at some points. The code switching (use of non-English language) in the book made the story feel more authentic as well, using key words that are commonly used (i.e. Mandarin, Cantonese, Hokkien, and Mala). Even the importance of mannerisms and family heirs was incredible to learn about. Honestly, I would recommend this book SIMPLY for this element alone.
There are just too many characters and relations to keep up with! It’s not just remembering the names, but remembering how every family is related or connected to one another. Personally, this made it difficult to maintain focus for long periods of time … I will say though, Kwan does provide a family tree at the beginning and it REALLY does help.
I also found a lot of the characters felt two-dimensional, with little room for character development. Since there are so many characters to explore in this novel, a lot of the main characters don’t receive as much attention. There are so many lovely characters — I truly love Astrid and Rachel — but having a large cast took away from their stories and character development a lot of the time.
Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians is an over-the-top drama filled story, full of hilarious banter and juicy gossip to spice things up! Reading more about different Asian cultures was not only an eye-opening experience, but a breath of fresh air — there’s definitely not enough contemporary novels that correctly explore Singapore and Chinese cultures. Yes … there are a LOT of characters and things to remember. But Kwan’s beautifully written dramatic tale is COMPLETELY worth the read.
I recommend this novel if you enjoy: over-the-top drama; exploring Asian and East Asian cultures; plot driven novels; romance.
Have you read Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians? Have you finished the Crazy Rich Asians series? Have you read Kwan’s other novels? What are your thoughts?