I saw the movie first, which I try not to do for the most part, but I’m honestly glad I did it that way. The actors really brought a lot of dimension to their characters that was lacking in the book, and the movie also had a much more clear arc than the book, which doesn’t focus exclusively on Nick and Rachel’s relationship like the movie does, but floats from perspective to perspective, so we get a clearer picture of the whole cast of characters.
The one thing I liked more in the book was all the cultural detail we got about Singapore. I really don’t know much about that part of the world beyond what kinds of food they have there (I watch a lot of food travelers on YouTube).
While the book skewers the crazy rich characters, using Rachel (and to a lesser extent Astrid’s husband Michael) as contrasts and voices of reason, in some ways I don’t think the book went far enough in its satire. The book wants us both to be disgusted at the vast wealth of the characters and how none of them understand the actual value of money or how skewed their values or perspectives are. But it also wants to be a fun romp into a vast culture of wealth, where characters get to jet set and play around in expensive clothing, and live a fantasy princess lifestyle. It just makes it so the satire doesn’t hit as hard, and the fun is made bitter. Maybe that’s what he was going for, though.
Not sure when I’ll get around to the second two books. I’m not in any hurry to find out what happens.