On the one hand I ate this book up. Started it and finished it in a single day. On the other hand, I very clearly know that this is not a well-written book. The events are eye-scortchingly INSANE and the plot is fast-paced but man is this going to be so much better as a movie. Yes, I still need to see the first one. But in my head this kind of conspicuous consumption works much better in a visual medium.
One of my biggest problems with this book is our presumptive leading lady, Rachel Chu. So often in these kind of works of fiction. the narrator is as much cipher for the audience as they are character in their own right. They are there to react because the reader isn’t there to react. The issue is that Rachel doesn’t really react, like, at all. Estranged mother-in-law crashes her wedding in a helicopter to say she’s located her birth father? How sweet. A group of women en masse purchase the entire stock of high end boutiques? I’m hungry. Is literally poisoned and hospitalized near death? No big. It blew my mind and made anything that happened to her a little harder to read.
Also, as much as I am rooting for Astrid and Charlie, man did they make Michael a dick. Maybe we should have seen it coming given that in book one he tried to passive-aggressively provoke a divorce by pretending to have an affair, but goddamn.
I’ve immediately added book three to my library hold list. I don’t know much about Kwan but the book strikes me as not so much his literary inspiration as the publisher going “Oh shit the first one sold like gangbusters, quick write another” and given that the total quantity of books changes from book to book (“The sequel! Oh wait it’s a trilogy”) I’m not expecting much, but I am gonna read the hell out of it.