Gwendolyn and Estella have always been as close as sisters can be. Growing up in a wealthy, eminent, and sometimes deceitful family, they’ve relied on each other for support and confidence. But now Gwendolyn is lying in a coma, the sole survivor of a poison that affected their whole family.
...if Crazy Rich Asians was all about the luster and the shiny surface, The Majesties is focused on the grit and ruthlessness that makes the opulence possible ... It's certainly a fascinating premise, and it drew me in right away. The decision to reveal the answer to the mystery at the beginning of the novel was a daring one, but it necessarily forces readers to focus on the events that led to this drastic event, rather than treating it as a traditional thriller ... a fascinating and well-written story ... Every character involved is despicable in their own way, including the narrator, Doll, but the book is never difficult to read ... Tsao excels at delivering biting social commentary while also telling a riveting story ... a resounding success. It's shocking how enjoyable and delicious this dark, disturbing novel was, and that unease will sit with me for a long time to come.
The novel sometimes slides tentatively into fantasy ... the tale’s thriller elements and twisty ending might strike some readers as tacked onto a more conventional story rather than organically part of it. Still, Tsao deftly juggles a large cast of characters, and her thorough examination of the life of a wealthy Chinese-Indonesian family, as well as her insights into the false assumptions those in the Chinese, Indonesian, and Western communities make about its members, are intelligent and lively.
It’s a fantastic hook for a novel that is described as a 'thriller' (for want of a precise description), a book that is more a psychological study of people raised with a golden spoon in their mouths ... Together the sisters track down a long-lost favorite yet rebellious aunt who appears in a photo well after she supposedly 'drowned' on a boating excursion; alongside the sisters, the reader feels the excitement and suspense of finding this aunt years later ... The book is written in an easy style of prose that is both taut and descriptive, the characters sympathetic, the elevated lifestyle so easy for the reader to soak up from this side of the page ... The Majesties, although it rolls out easily, troubles deeply, haunting and even chilling its reader well beyond the final page.