Whew! I’m still buzzing! If you jumped onto the Crazy Rich Asian train a couple of years back, then you needn’t get off said train because there’s more where that came from! I took a mini break from the series, because I wanted to drag it out, but also because I wanted to live in the high of all that’s Rachel & Nick, but this week’s blog post- we FINALLY share our book review on the next installment of the Crazy Rich Asians Trilogy. Read on!
This is the second part of the Crazy Rich Asians Trilogy and like the first installment, it doesn’t disappoint on the fashion, opulence and drama. This time Rachel and Nick are back in China to spend the summer with her newly rediscovered wealthy, politician father (Bao Gao Liang), his wife (Bao Shao Yen) and Rachel’s half brother, Carlton; but things aren’t as they seem when they land and instead of getting to know and meet the side of her family she’s always dreamed of, they are taken on a whirlwind of parties, fashion shows, private jets all in an attempt to distract her from what is really happening. Her father’s wife doesn’t want to meet her and has threatened to divorce him if he has anything to do with Rachel and even more drama ensues. A whole new and interesting cast of characters are introduced, with the same whit, freshness and humour as Crazy Rich Asians, but this time they are a bit more villainous.
Break it Down:
Ok! So I’ll start out by saying that I was a little bit disappointed with this installment, because I didn’t think it featured enough Rachel and Nick, I understand that the drama this time around isn’t to do with them but with the other characters in their lives. But, it still left me a bit starved. It’s later revealed that Bao Shao Yen, Carlton’s mother doesn’t want anything to do with Rachel, whom she calls the bastard child, she flies off to Hong Kong within hours of Rachel and Nick’s eminent landing and they don’t actually meet till the very end of the book. A lot of the book is centered around Colette Bing, the daughter of the 4th richest man in Asia; she’s a style icon, but also a massively affluent, control freak and love interest to Carlton, Rachel’s half brother. Colette orchestrates all the plans in an attempt to distract Rachel and Nick from the fact that their presence isn’t 100% welcomed by the Baos, all the while Colette is dodging her own drama as her parents would like her to marry Richie Yang who is from one of the richest families in China. After turning down Richie’s well planned proposal Colette’s parents cut her off and then things begin to get real serious. Fearing she would be cut off from Calton’s inheritance as well as her own, due to his being reckless and his damaging of his and his father’s reputation, Carlton’s father, Bao Gao Liang decides maybe it’s best to include Rachel into the family business, as she’s an economist and much more mature than Carlton. Upon eavesdropping on the Bao’s conversation, Colette loses her cool, confides in her assistant to find a way to fix it and eventually Rachel is then poisoned and almost dies. After an investigation where Carlton suspects his mother has to do with the poisoning, it is revealed (at least in this book, I’m not convinced by Roxanne’s story) that it was in fact Roxanne who arranged to have Rachel poisoned in an attempt to get her to leave China and thus spare Carlton’s inheritance. It all comes to a massive head when Rachel accepts to meet Colette for a conciliatory meal, (Colette insisted), but in Colette’s attempt to say sorry- it all goes pear shaped when Rachel says she feels sorry for her. A tirade of verbal assault spews from Colette and finally, FINALLY Rachel has had enough and gives her a piece of her mind…the only catch? Due to Colette’s fame, someone records the whole exchange and it goes viral. I couldn’t stop laughing at this, because 1) I was tired of Rachel’s character being so understanding of EVERYTHING and essentially a push over and 2) because Colette needed putting in her place- for it to be public added a cherry on top.
Michael, don’t you know by now that my grandmother and Uncle Alfred are the largest private shareholders of Singapore Press Holdings? We’re not going to be in the papers. We’re never going to be in the papers.
Another massive development in the book is Astrid and Micheal’s relationship; he goes from a character that was so fully in love with his wife, to becoming a verbally abusive, obsessive person. Astrid goes about doing whatever he’d like her to do for a simple life, but no matter what, she gets blamed for it all- where he used to love her fashion, he attempts to change her and tries to use his family as a way to show off his wealth, which we know it very much the opposite of Astrid’s family’s taste. He then suspects that his wealth is not his own because of a quip his father-in-law says after digging further, he finds out it was Charlie Wu, Astrid’s ex and closest confidante who purchased his company a few years prior. Micheal loses his temper and reveals that he’s been eavesdropping on her conversations and emails and threatens to drag her and her family’s name in through the mud because he believes that Astrid is having an affair with Charlie. I’ll be honest and say that I didn’t really rate Micheal’s character in the first book, so this didn’t do much better for him in my eyes. What I struggled to accept was how “clueless” Astrid seemed to be about the fact that Charlie was still in love with her. And I really didn’t like how she became such a push over and a shell of her confident self, especially when she found out about Micheal leaving their son Cassian in a closet for 5 hours because he accidentally scratched one of his cars. No matter how much you care about someone, that is abuse and it really irritated me. But Kevin Kwan had something up his sleeves because when Astrid was confronted by Micheal and him being out of control, she finally pushed back when he made the threat to ruin her name and that of her family, she simply replied that her family essentially owned the papers. This seemed to shut him up very swiftly and I couldn’t help but smirk.
I didn’t feel like the book left me with the same feeling of exhilaration the 1st book left me with, maybe because it ends with some dramatic parts, Rachel vs Colette, Kitty vs Bernard, Astrid vs Micheal- I suppose it’s the penultimate lead up to the third and final book, but I was left feeling a little meh. I didn’t really touch on the story covering much about Kitty, mostly because I didn’t get the purpose of it but also because they villainize her so much in the 1st book, I didn’t get what the point of trying to change her and give her a new persona was going to do…I’m not sure if in the 3rd book it’ll clarify things, but I just didn’t get it.
Would I recommend the book?:
I would recommend this book, merely because it continues on from the 1st instalment and it adds more characters and somewhat adds a layer to Rachel’s story, as opposed to the 1st book being more about Nick’s side of the family.
The RnR Rating: