Crazy Rich Asians is a charming romance novel about young lovers. Rachel Chu falls for the dashing Nick Young who unbeknownst to her, comes from a super wealthy, heavily influential family in Singapore. When these completely smitten love birds visit Nick’s family in Asia for his best friend Colin Khoo’s wedding, Rachel must learn to survive in a world of excessive decadence and vicious snobbery.
The story is a very carbon copied take on the whole star crossed lovers routine. Rachel and Nick fall in love despite coming from two opposing social classes. It’s an age-old premise that precedes even the unsurpassing Romeo and Juliet and we can’t help falling for it every time.
The story-telling is undeniably seamless. I loved the picture of excess that Kwan drew when he spoke of manicured gardens, gowns of iridescent silk and silver-leaf latticework. The main problem I had with this novel was the underwhelming characterisation where each person seemed to fill a certain stereotype. Rachel is the unassuming sweet girl, Nick is a brainless hot guy all the girls have a crush on, Eleanor is the mother-in-law from hell and Peik Lin is the unattractive best friend who acts like the sassy token black woman.
Crazy Rich Asians felt like a guilty pleasure read for me, and would suit younger readers but more so young adult readers, given all the f bombs and sexual innuendo. Nonetheless, I had a lot of fun reading this book as the premise is one that never fails to entice the reader. It also offered a very intriguing look into Chinese culture and history, in particular the aristocracy of Singapore without the burden of too much exposition. However, the generic characters and partial ending or cliffhanger ending serving no means other than to set up the rest of the series, inhibited my enjoyment of the novel and so I rate Crazy Rich Asians..
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