Audiobook Review- A Song of Ice & Fire

This isn’t a book review as such, as George R. R. Martin doesn’t need my recommendation to help promote his books….or anything like that. But these are just my reflections, since I’ve invested more than 8 years of my life on his book series.

So after more than 8 years, I’ve finally finished listening to George R. R. Martin’s audiobook series ‘A Song of Ice & Fire’ – for those who only followed the HBO TV series, I’m talking about ‘Game of Thrones’ of course. I honestly can’t believe it, looking back it hasn’t felt as long as that? And I’m pretty certain that I’d started listening to the audiobooks before the TV series started? As I still remember the conversation with friends who were gushing about the book, who subsequently talked me into listening to it. And at no time did they speak of a TV series, so using that logic I must have started the books before the adaptation went to air? Which means pre-2011.

But 8 years of my life? Pales in comparison to 28 years! 28 years ago George R. R. Martin started writing the first book in the series, and 28 years later the Game of Thrones chapter in all of our lives has been closed out with the airing of the last scenes on HBO. Can you imagine living in that mind-space for almost 3 decades?

I’ve only learnt of these facts today, as long as I’ve been listening to the books I’ve been avoiding all spoilers. Which means I’ve never watched an episode of the Game of Thrones, nor have I even visited the Wikipedia page fearing that I’d accidentally see something I ought not to see. 

So life after the books…. I’ve read up on George R. R. – have to admit, I never knew he was American! I just assumed that he was British as the books were so…… Um……British? and I’m now listening to a podcast which re-caps every episode of the HBO series, as I want to learn how this epic story ends.

All I want to say to George R. R. Martin is, thank you! Thank you for entertaining me over the past 8 years of my life, it had allowed me to escape to a different world, taking me away from my everyday problems, but at this stage you’ve left me with more questions and unresolved plot-lines than ever before! Haaha.

Like what happened to Sanwell Tarly? What about the undead Catelyn Stark? What about Rickon? Where did Gendry disappear to?  Sandor Clegane, dead or alive? Mance rayder and his spear wives? Where did Jaime Lannister go with that wench? What about Sansa and Petyr Baelish? What about Benjen Stark? What about? What about? What about?!!!!!

Half of the time I think it was me, that I must have skipped a chapter by mistake or fallen asleep one night and had missed a critical chunk of the book? But if half of the above plot-lines are truly unresolved? Even after the finale of the TV Series? No!!!!! You can’t leave us hanging George R. R.! Grrrr!

Audiobook Review- Robert Langdon series Books 1-3

I hope you’re not thinking that I’ve stopped listening to audiobooks due to the long gap in between audiobook reviews! As it has been almost 3 months since I’ve last posted an audiobook review. However it’s only due to the fact that I wanted to post this review as a single block, rather than monthly posts on a similar topic.

Oh my goodness! We’ve spent the last 3 months listening to the first 3 books of the Robert Langdon series by Dan Brown! Imagine that? Every night for the past 90 days, we’ve been ending each evening with Robert Langdon running around in our minds! And are we worst off for it?

Angels & Demons (2000)

This all came about when we finished Dan’s fifth and most recent book (Origin) in the Robert Langdon series, so now my wife had heard 3 out of 5 books and was now well and truly invested in the series. Thus it made sense to go back and listen to books 1 and 3 (Angels & Demons, and The Lost Symbol), to complete the story for her. While for me, I had listened to all 5 titles shortly after they were first released, so I was up for listening to them again.

When Angels & Demons commences, you’re reminded of how much Dan Brown was a newbie author back in those days, and how far he’s come since then (although he’s still far from perfect today). But for a book which is now 19 years old and was quite ground-breaking at the time of its release, (exploring the powers of antimatter; revealing insights into the Vatican; and a rush across Rome following the path of illumination), it still felt fresh and new all these years on. We can certify that it’s still a suspenseful page-turner, and although Dan’s formula is predictable enough, it was amusing to hear my wife’s guesses on who she thought the shadowy mastermind was, and Dan succeeded in keeping her in the dark right to the end, finishing his first Langdon book with a twist-on-top-of-a-twist (I had totally forgotten about the second twist)!

The Da Vinci Code (2003)

And like everyone in the English (and non-English) speaking world, we both had read/listened to the Da Vinci Code shortly after its release back in 2003, so although there wasn’t a need for either of us to re-listen to the book, since we were going right back to the beginning, it made sense to re-visit the Da Vinci Code as well. And a decade and a half on, there were definitely parts and details which we had forgotten. However on second listen, it actually felt a bit draggy at times, not as compelling of a page turner as it had felt all those years ago.

But learning of hidden secrets within Da Vinci’s most famous artworks, and re-visiting heretical claims of Jesus’ continued lineage……You can see why there was such an uproar at the time. But as a fictional novel it was fun enough. And it reminded us of how much time had passed between listens, the first time we were both at university, now we’re well and truly middle aged!

The Lost Symbol (2009)

And the last of Dan’s first 3 books (which we just finished) was the most divergent from Dan’s other books. Instead of being in Europe or the UK, Robert was based on home soil (be that at the Nation’s Capital); and instead of a story driven by hidden meanings in artwork, this time the novel was based around a single fraternal organisation. Although I’ve previously made the claim that The Lost Symbol was the worst book in the Robert Langdon series, on second listen it was actually better than I had remembered it to be. Again Dan delivered a twist on top of a twist, and again my wife was unable to work out who was the mastermind until their identity was finally revealed! And wasn’t it SHOCKING!!!

So now that we’ve gone back down memory lane with the early works of Dan Brown, I have to admit it has kept us entertained for three entire months! And I think it’s been long enough that you too can re-visit his books, it’s highly likely that you actually read (the physical novel) of his works the very first time, so this time why not try them out as audiobooks?

To listen to Angels & Demons, click HERE!

To listen to the Da Vinci Code, click HERE!

And to listen to The Lost Symbol, click HERE!

Audiobook Review- Origin

Where do I begin? There’s so many thoughts and angles running through my mind when I was listening to the audiobook, and same now as I attempt to write this audiobook review, I honestly don’t know where to start. But starting from the beginning? From the origin, would be a good start? Right? Hehehe.

So the latest audiobook my wife and I have just finished has been Dan Brown’s ‘Origin’, the 5th and the most recent (released in 2017) instalment in the Robert Langdon series (can you believe it! Dan has been writing the Langdon series for over 17 years now!). So now I can say that I’m officially up-to-date with all of Dan’s books.

Trying not to give away the entire book’s plot and ending, but let’s just say Dan’s fifth book also follows his nearly predictable story formula, that being someone dies (dies, dies, loses a hand, dies, dies) and Robert has 24 hours to solve an art/literary-centric problem, or something very bad would happen…..not just to him, or the city he happens to be in, but something bad would happen to all of mankind! The book format is so cookie-cutter predictable/replicable, that I wouldn’t be surprised if Dan has an excel spreadsheet template where every 3 years he sits down and inserts a new country, notable artist and secret society in his macros enabled workbook, and then it spits out a result! The bare bones/building blocks of his next multi-million dollar best seller!

Don’t get me wrong, ‘Origin’ had us entertained for the entire 18 hours 10 mins duration, but was it one of Dan’s better Robert Langdon efforts?

Ok, first of all I’ll tell you all that I liked about the book, before discussing the things that I didn’t like.

Like! It was thought-provoking – that is one enduring feature of Dan Brown’s writing,  you can be confident that a lot of time has been invested in devising a unique and controversial/shocking grand idea! And that Dan (and his wife) had spent a lot of time researching all that is connected to the area of discussion, the location and the artist/artwork. And I imagine all readers greatly appreciate him for that. And to date, each of his ‘grand ideas’ has sent ripples through society, so much so that after the Da Vinci Code, the church had to publish a counter-claim book to refute all that Dan had claimed to be fact in a fictional novel. Each time it amazes me how he has this incredible way to weave in just enough truth among all of his own imaginations, so that the gullible might just believe, putting their faith into doubt. That’s some incredible power of influence one man has over the world’s population. And it’s obvious that ‘Origin’ has received just as much of Dan’s brain-power as his previous books, that the grand idea from ‘Origin’ might just be explosive and compelling enough to change some people’s minds/behaviours after reading the book.  

Like! Dan’s ability to evolve with the times- I don’t think anyone could ever say that Dan is behind the times- although his main character is so caught up with things from the 15th Century.  But Dan has shown through ‘Origin’ that his books and his fictional characters interact with the book’s present day, which deeply resembles the real present day, e.g. embracing smart phones, social media, AI, autonomous vehicles, and online conspiracists, all of which played a prominent role in the book. But not only has Dan kept up with the times, but is ahead of the curve, take Winston for an example (AI Smart Assistant) – Winston played an almost leading role in the book and he’s a computer! You might be thinking now, “So what?” AI Smart Assistants is nothing new, we interact with these things almost on a daily basis today. But remember, this book was released 2 years ago, and Dan probably started writing this novel 2-3 years before that, so he was imagining a highly intelligent Smart Assistant in 2014-15, you’d have to admit that he was ahead of the technology curve there!

Like! Transported virtually to another place – the last overwhelming positive of ‘Origin’ was Dan’s ability to take reader’s on a virtual visit of another notable location, this time to Spain! His ability to describe visuals in words is something remarkable, which transcends all other authors in the game today. From the opening chapters of the book I felt as if I was with Langdon at the feet of the giant spider at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, and later I felt like I too was craning my head to see better in the merky darkness of the crypts within Sagrada Familia! And maybe it’s just me, but I’ve learnt much about Spain since listening to the book, afterwards I spent some time Googling if there was actually a Spanish Royal family and if the Palmarian Catholic Church really exists (BTW, they both exist and I’m surprised that Dan doesn’t get sued more often for defamation….. but I guess if he’s willing to make up rumours about Jesus, I guess everyone else below that is a much softer target). So yeah, I loved being transported half way around the world without leaving the comfort of my own home, and I’m actually surprised that no tour company has tried cashing in from Dan’s books, and has designed a guided tour package around the locations Robert Langdon has breezed through in the books thus far. Now that’s a business concept you can take to the bank!

However the dislikes that I have against the book, is just as long as the ‘likes’.

Dislike! Too many inconsequential characters and side stories – in my opinion, Dan introduces too many minor characters, for which he invests time and chapters to build up their back-story, and cuts away to these side stories too often, sacrificing the flow of the book. At times it felt like every third chapter (and there are 100 chapters or more?) cuts away to another inconsequential character, none of which adds any value to the overall story. In my opinion, this unnecessarily dragged out the book by at least a quarter, and it felt a little tough going at times?

Dislike! The lack of action, famous works of art, and deciphering symbols/artwork/literature – Dan’s books are known for being like a scavenger hunt for clues hidden in famous artwork and symbols, but in ‘Origin’ this element was missing, by and large. Aside from the need to crack a 47 character PIN, the book lacked the same level of deciphering we’d come to expect and enjoy. So from the usual mad dash, rushing from point to point, clue to clue, it felt more like dropping down to the convenience store for some milk, meaning that it was way too easy to crack this code and it wasn’t suspenseful at all! I mean it, at all!

Dislike! Unbelievable fiction in a fictional book – I know that if  you’re writing a fictional novel, the author has a certain freedom to embellish and stretch what is considered believable, to suit the story – as hey, you want something a bit out there to help you escape from the reality of life! I get that. But there were 3 details or scenes in the book which I found too hard to believe (or it was just annoying!). The first was the fact that Edmond Kirsch (the source of all the book’s drama) was a self-made billionaire! This was hard to believe as by profession he was a computer scientist and futurist. At no time in the book did they mention anything he was able to discover and sell to the world which made him his wealth, but it only positions him as a well-known futurist. I’m sure other futurists in the profession would also like some of that fake cachet and cash Dan was liberally bestowing on young Edmond’s shoulders. The second unbelievable element was a particular scene, although small and not having any impact on the story, but it really annoyed me! This was when Langdon and Ambra were fleeing from the authorities and they had a plane to catch, in 8 minutes they had to run up a mile long grass hill – even in the book they voiced their disbelief that they could make it (considering Langdon was in tails and dress shoes, while Ambra was in a fitted dress and no doubt heels). But low and behold, the power of literary license to bend time and space, so the next time the book cuts back to Langdon and Ambra, they’ve made it to their rendezvous point never expressing any exhaustion or complaint that they’d run a mile up-hill on grass in inappropriate foot wear!? I’m calling BS here!!!! And the last unbelievable detail which was the power and authority given to Mónica Martín, Public Relation Coordinator for the palace. I work in a corporate environment and I’m quite familiar with job titles, if someone’s job title is a ‘Coordinator’, they haven’t progressed very far up the corporate ladder and should not have much authority (for goodness sake, she’s not even a PR Manager!). And in the book she was able to have the Commander of the Guardia Real (that’s like the top dog of the most elite security force in the land) arrested??? That’s like having the sous-chef of the Whitehouse, ordering the arrest of the President of the United States! Unlikely, right? It’s these details which made it hard to fully immerse myself into the book, as my BS radar kept going off, intruding into the story.

End verdict – although we enjoyed the book, and it had us metaphorically turning the pages, and we were left wondering “Who dunnit?” right to the very end…unfortunately after 5 books spanning 17 years, Dan hasn’t gotten better at this ‘story-telling thing’, and if I had to rank ‘Origin’ among his other 4 Langdon best sellers, unfortunately I’d put it last, behind the ‘Lost Symbol’ (Book 3 in the series). However if you’re a Dan Brown fan, and you’ll sleep better knowing that you’ve read all of Robert Langdon’s tweed-suited escapades, by all means appease your feelings of FOMO, as I was in the same position as you!  But if you’ve never been into DB’s books before, then don’t start here, ‘Origin’ is an easy miss. If there was any saving grace, at least the narrator Paul Michael did another fantastic job as the voice of Langdon, if Tom Hanks was half as convincing as Paul Michael, the movie franchise would be in a much better state…. Ouch! Shots fired!

To listen to ‘Origin’ by Dan Brown, click HERE!

Deciphering Dan Brown: excel spreadsheet template

Not only Langdon can decipher patterns, this is my attempt to find patterns and break the code of Dan Brown’s literary formula! Keep reading on to see what I predict to be the structure to Dan’s 6th instalment in the Langdon series!

Locations to date:

Rome/Vatican city; Paris/Zurich/London; Washington D.C.; Florence/Venice/Istanbul; and Bilbao/Barcelona.

Featured Artists:

Gian Lorenzo Bernini; Leonardo da Vinci; Giorgio Vasari; Sandro Botticelli; Dante Alighieri; and Antoni Gaudí.

Unmasked Secret Societies:

Illuminati; Opus Dei; Free Mason; World Health Organisation (they’re the worst! Haaha); and the Palmarian Catholic Church.

Female leads:

Vittoria Vetra (adopted daughter of murdered CERN scientist); Sophie Neveu (granddaughter of murdered Louvre Curator); Katherine Solomon (sister of kidnapped Smithsonian Secretary); Sienna Brooks (doctor/bystander); and Ambra Vidal (work associate of the deceased).


Middle Eastern Hassassin; albino giant Catholic monk; tattooed steroidal Free Mason; leather clad female assassin; and fanaticised former Spanish Navy Admiral.

So reading into the pattern, the 6th book will be set in a modern Western city – Melbourne, Australia, with cuts to the Vatican City. Now that Dan is trying to explore more modern artists- my code deciphering skills say that the next featured artist will be Australia’s Pro Hart! The shadowy Secret Society which will be unmasked will be the evil ‘Brotherhood’ of the Companion of the Order of Australia, as they try to protect their own, the main puppet master (George Pell). The female lead will be the sister of one of Pell’s young victims, and the day-to-day villain will be Robert Richter – disgraced Pell barrister. Shameful guys, shameful. *headshake*.

Nah, my deciphering is just tongue in cheek, no one would buy/read a book featuring these clowns!    

Audiobook review- The Girl on the Train

Oh wow! Note to self, avoid spoilers! Avoid Wikipedia! I’m glad I only visited ‘The Girl on the Train’ novel and movie Wikipedia pages after finishing the audiobook. As the Wikipedia pages literally give away the entire story from start to suspenseful finish in the plot summaries. Don’t you hate that? Especially when it’s a suspenseful-thriller with or without a twist at the end??? Hey hey? Did you like my use of the word ‘twist’ to hint at a potential twist or a “twist” at the end of the book?*Winks*.

So in my review of the Audiobook, I’m going to try my best to avoid spoiling the story for you, but I’m sure many many of you have already read the book and/or watched the movie by now.

Okay, here goes, a super quick summary of ‘The Girl on the Train’ by Paula Hawkins. The book is set in the suburbs of London, where the main protagonist of the novel (Rachel Watson) catches a London-bound train into work each morning. At the same time, at the same set of signal lights, the train slows/stops and during this short interval most mornings Rachel spies out the train’s window on a young married couple out on their home’s back patio. Struggling with issues of depression and alcoholism, Rachel idealises this young couple’s lives, imagining their perfect relationship with each other, until one morning when Rachel sees something she ought not/didn’t want to see. The next day the wife (Megan Hipwell) is reported missing, and Rachel might be the only one who has vital knowledge to her disappearance. And the story/intrigue/suspense builds from there!

I hope my wife doesn’t mind me disclosing this, but her pet hate is cringe-worthy situations, be that people, shows, books etc. etc. So much so that if she finds something cringing she’d avoid the real-life scenario, stop listening to a book, or stop watching a show if her cringe monitor is set-off. And initially ‘The Girl on the Train’ set-off her “That’s so cringing” alarm bells. Yes, Rachel is pretty cringing. So ‘The Girl on the Train’ soon became ‘Your book’, rather than ‘Our book’, and she would listen to something else or do something else when I was spending alone time with the girl on the train.

And this segues nicely to my discussion of the ‘flawed protagonist’.  What do I mean by this? Okay, in most fictional novels most of the time (let’s call it 85% of the time), novelists construct a main character who is near perfect! Be that smarter than the average man/woman, possesses above average physical attributes, a strong sense of awareness and astuteness, maintains a healthy dose of confidence, and generally makes good, well-thought-through choices. As writer’s naturally project their best selves into their main character, as what author wants to spend the next 6-18 months inside the head of a flawed protagonist? However I believe what is a good measure of a good author, is their ability to go against the norm, and bring to life a troubled character, carefully juggling the character’s negative and more positive traits; so that the reader is torn between being constantly frustrated by the main character, while cheering them on at every opportunity! As Rachel really is the quintessential flawed protagonist, making many bad choices along the way, which eat away at her already shattered self-confidence and spirals her further into a funk. I found myself muttering many-a-times “Oh no, oh no, don’t do it Rachel!” and then the inevitable headshake from me when she does what she ought not do, getting herself embroiled deeper and deeper into the mess she’s found herself in. It was these sections of the book which my wife disliked, as they were so cringe-worthy. However Girl on the Train was so alluring, that my wife eventually came back, no matter how frustrating Rachel was as a protagonist. 

And we’ve rarely done this before, but on Australia Day we just sat there on the lounge and binge-listened to the audiobook (we usually just listen to 15 mins before bed). But on this day we just wanted so badly to find out who? Why? Where? What? When? Considering it had taken me almost a month to reach the ¾ mark, but we utterly smashed out the final 4 hours of the book in a single epic sitting! The Girl on the Train is suspenseful, thrilling and will have you guessing all the way to the end; the audiobook is around 11 hours long, and even into the final 90 minutes we were still pretty clueless as to how the book might end!

So I now know why the book and the movie were such successes, as it’s a thriller for the ages!

The only tiny critique I have for the audiobook experience, was the inconsistencies with the Narrators. The book is a first-person narrative following 3 different female characters, the producers actually went to the effort and expense to use 3 different Narrators (Claire Corbett, Louise Brealey, and India Fisher) to narrate the three parts- which was a nice touch. And each narrator were suited perfectly to their characters and it was their voice and their acting which brought each character to life, giving them each a unique personality. However my one critique of the experience was the inconsistency when characters crossed over into another narrator’s sphere. If you’ve heard the audiobook, you’ll be nodding by now. This inconsistency was most evident with Kamal, a psychiatrist in the novel. In Megan’s interaction with him, Megan’s narrator gives Kamal an Eastern European accent, giving him a thoughtful gentle cadence to his tone and character. But when Rachel encounters him, the Narrator for Rachel gives him a broad British accent, and lowers her voice to make him sound like an overweight rotund fellow! It kind of ruined the mental image which I had developed for the characters of the book. Surely they would have flagged this and considered re-recording those segments of tapes in post-production? *Shrug*. But I’m nit-picking here.

In conclusion, awesome read! You’re left guessing all the way to the end of the book (as long as you don’t check-out Wikipedia), and no matter how flawed a character Rachel is, you’ll still get behind her!

For the audio book of ‘The Girl on the Train’, click on the Audible link below:

And if you like The Girl on the Train and would like to listen to other similar titles, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn is also a good one (the audiobook experience is very good and uses multiple narrators). BTW, have you heard of the term ‘Unreliable narration’? Um, whatever that means……. They say both ‘The Girl on the Train’ and ‘Gone Girl’ utilises this narration method, taking a swing in the dark (perhaps with or without a heavy stone in hand) I’m thinking the term means when there are multiple first person perspectives in a book, like as if they are diary entries. However later on you find out that the diary entries weren’t entirely true which brings into question everything else which proceeded it? Comment in the comment section below, have I correctly understood the term ‘Unreliable narration’? But in short, Gone Girl is also very very good, similar, and very good! To listen to Gone Girl, click on the Audible link below:

And my all time favourite ‘Flawed protagonist’ is LAPD’s Harry Bosch, but I’ll leave that discussion for another day…….

Crazy Rich Asians- Audio book

I think Crazy Rich Asians is one of those books which many aspiring writers wish they wrote, as it would have been so much fun writing it, transporting yourself and immersing yourself into this fictitious world of the uber rich! And in the process of living vicariously through your fictional character, becoming extremely rich in the process!? As the book becomes a global best-seller, movie rights being picked-up, and the movie adaptation breaking all sorts of box office records!!? What an extraordinary journey that would be!!?? And Kevin Kwan has joined this select few in turning their casual scribbles into a global phenomenon. First there was J.K. Rowling who managed to become a self-made billionaire, then Stephenie Meyer soon followed, then it was E.L. James who had a spanking good time of it, and now there is Kevin Kwan!!!?? But from all accounts, it sounds like Kevin Kwan was already in the world of the uber rich before this book, as the story he told was loosely based on his own childhood upbringing. Like, what the! There are really people who are that ridiculously rich in real life, and it’s not just a figment of someone’s imagination? CRAZY! RICH! ASIANS!  

So after 6 months since we first started the audio book (we started shortly after the movie was released) I’ve finally finished listening to Kevin Kwan’s book, Crazy Rich Asians. And here are my thoughts, but just before I do so, let me give you a super quick and short synopsis (as I’m sure most of you have either read the book or seen the film by now). So here goes, essentially the story surrounds an extremely wealthy Singaporean family/clan, the book is written in the first person perspective of 5 different characters, the 2 main characters being Rachel Chu and Nicholas Young (Yes, that Nicholas Young of the ‘Young’ family). Rachel and Nick reside in New York and they have been dating for several years, but Rachel is blissfully unaware of Nick’s generational wealth and the life he was accustomed to in Singapore where he originated. However the penny (or gold bullions) start to drop for Rachel when they travel to Singapore for Nick’s best friend’s wedding and she gradually learns of Nick’s family’s wealth and how affluent all of Nick’s friends and associates are. The story follows Rachel’s discoveries, Nick’s naivety, and his family’s response to having this ‘commoner’ intrude on their exclusive world. And weave in some infidelity, ex-jilted lovers, scandal, and old money Vs new money, racism, fashion, and excesses of the wealthy, and you pretty much have Crazy Rich Asians!       

To tell you the truth, I’m divided in what I think about the book. On one hand, I enjoyed it as a fictional story; it was satirical in nature; like the British Royals, but insert Asians here! So the book has created much Asian pride among us Asians living in the West, as this is a depiction of Asians which we’d like to hitch our wagon onto, i.e. being seen as wealthy, powerful, and extravagant, beats the alternative perception of Asians being cheap, subservient, and frugal (although that might be closer to the truth). But on the other hand, the book was crude at times, a bit over the top, and if you were ever one who was bullied by ‘Mean girls’, it could be a  difficult read as it can conjure up some bad memories for people.

When my wife and I were listening to the audio book, we went through patches where we were absolutely powering through the book, but then we’d hit a bump in the road (it could’ve been a section of the book, or just the stuff going on in our own lives) and we’d stop listening for a few weeks or even months. And as we’d usually listen to the book just before bed, there was this patch where I’d keep falling asleep, so my wife continued on without me. And then one morning my wife told me that she didn’t want to listen to it anymore! I was perplexed as I thought we were enjoying it, and I wanted to listen to the whole trilogy, how could we achieve that if we gave up on the first book? So that was that, Crazy Rich Asians lay unopened in the cyber world on a virtual bookshelf for a number of weeks before I decided to finish the book on my own.

So as I had mentioned, I had kept falling asleep during the book and it had been a while so I had to track back 4-5 chapters until I found the last spot I had clear recollection of; and as I made my way forward to where we had left it I finally found the part which turned my wife right off the book. Yeah, it harks back to the ‘Mean girls’ element of the book which I had touched on before, Kevin Kwan does do such a great job of capturing the essence of Mean girls, that he made it a bit too real? So when my wife and I had a chat about this, she told me that she “listens to books for escapism, not to be reminded of reality”.

So yeah, the book perhaps isn’t for everyone. However if you’re able to push past these segments of the book and these themes don’t concern you, then by all means go right on ahead and read/listen to Crazy Rich Asians, as it  makes for a scandalous indulgent read. My personal complaint was that it was annoyingly difficult to work-out the kinship between the characters and who was whose mother or aunt or just relation by marriage. What it probably needs is a family tree diagram in an appendix section of the book explaining some of the relationships (which the audio version does not have). And my second gripe about the book, is the constant use of Chinese/Cantonese/Mandarin/local dialects, which they don’t always translate back into English for the benefit of the reader/listener. Again the book would probably benefit from a glossary of slangs used within the book (which the audio version also does not have). Thus to this day I still don’t know what ‘Ala-Mak’ means? Apologies if I’ve just sworn at you or offended, I really don’t know the meaning of that saying!

Now that I’ve finished the book, I was brave enough to read the Wikipedia post about the movie (I was avoiding spoilers all of this time), and there are some differences from the book and the movie. So if you’ve seen the film but haven’t read the book……Go for it! As they’re different enough and I’m sure the book contains detail which the movie just can’t cover in 2 hours. And vice versa, I’m interested to watch the movie now, but I just have to get over my ‘First world problem’ of not having a working DVD player. Haaha. And after giving it a bit of a rest, the plan is to listen to the sequels (China Rich Girlfriend, and Rich People Problems……Have to admit, those titles just doesn’t have the same ring to them!).

So if you want to read more about Crazy Rich Asians, the Wikipedia page for the book and film is quite informative and detailed:

And for the audio book version of Crazy Rich Asians, here is the Audible link:

And the narrator, Lynn Chen does a pretty good job of narrating the book, nailing all of the canto/mando/Malay/Hokkien parts, she even has a pretty good singing voice. (Check that out at 9 min 14 seconds into chapter 54!)

Yeah, let me know what you think of Crazy Rich Asians, do you prefer the book or the movie?