If you’re interested in Asia and the upper class in general, you’ll definitively appreciate the Crazy Rich Asians series.
Genre: romance & friendship, family relationships, social novel, Asia
On the eve of her wedding to Nicholas Young, heir to one of the greatest fortunes in Asia, Rachel should be over the moon. She has a flawless Asscher-cut diamond from JAR, a wedding dress she loves more than anything found in the salons of Paris, and a fiancé willing to sacrifice his entire inheritance in order to marry her. But Rachel still mourns the fact that her birthfather, a man she never knew, won’t be able to walk her down the aisle. Until: a shocking revelation draws Rachel into a world of Shanghai splendor beyond anything she has ever imagined. Here we meet Carlton, a Ferrari-crashing bad boy known for Prince Harry-like antics; Colette, a celebrity girlfriend chased by fevered paparazzi; and the man Rachel has spent her entire life waiting to meet: her father. Meanwhile, Singapore’s It Girl, Astrid Leong, is shocked to discover that there is a downside to having a newly minted tech billionaire husband. A romp through Asia’s most exclusive clubs, auction houses, and estates, China Rich Girlfriend brings us into the elite circles of Mainland China, introducing a captivating cast of characters, and offering an inside glimpse at what it’s like to be gloriously, crazily, China-rich.
I read Crazy Rich Asians several years ago and remember liking it a lot as well as the movie that I watched on my way to China (I was well in the theme). So, when I saw the sale price of the ebook on Amazon, I immediatly purchased the sequel, China Rich Girlfriend.
As in Crazy Rich Asians, the chapters are narrated by the different characters of the book. Old characters such as Nick’s family are present and we’re introduced to some new figures with Rachel’s new family. Kevin Kwan enriched this narrative style by using different storytelling supports. The use sms, emails, newspapers… gives a new lease of life to this series. And it’s a success for me who enjoyed a lot moving from a chapter to another, even though I had troubles at some times to remember who was who. The relationships we left in the first book are still evolving in this one and I can’t wait to read the final book to see what happens to some of the characters, especially Astrid.
Now, my thoughts about the treatment of the main subject: money. It was so interesting to see how the relationship to money varies from a country to another, between families and even between the members of a same family. This series is a complete and successful social portrait of Asia’s top 1% wealthy and their lifestyles. Sincerely, I oscillated between laugh and disgust in front of the excesses and supposed issues of these people. The writing style reinforces this feeling of opulence thanks to long descriptions of the settings, houses and clothes (here are the -0,5 of my grade, because they were sometimes too long for my taste). But the author also succeeds in making them more “human” by giving them everyday issues such as the failure of a marriage and shows that money doesn’t make all and is unable to solve some aspects of human life. I also have to mention the totally impredictible plot-twist of the novel since I can just hope it’s an exaggerated plot for the sake of fiction. I really enjoyed this plot-twist as it demonstrates that rich people are not always the craziest ones (even if some characters could make you believe so)…
In brief: a good read about an unknown part of our societies, denuncing its excesses and hypocrisy. The different narrators allow the reader to travel all around Asia and to discover new cultures while having various storylines and point of views. And at the end of the book, I think we can safely say that money is part of happinness but is not a guarantee of it as it tends to make people a bit crazy.
My rating: 4,5/5
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