Malibu Rising is an exceptionally well-written book, but its biggest drawback is that it comes after Evelyn and after Daisy, and at least in my humble opinion, it can’t hold a candle to either. Especially not Daisy. That is to say – my expectations were sky-high, and as good as the book may be, it did not meet them.
The characters are amazing, as close to real people as you can have on a page, and their emotional
journeys are complex and evocative. You can’t help but feel for them, especially Nina. Oh, Nina, how I want to give you a hug and tell you you are doing great!
True to her mastery, TJR manages to take Mick Riva out of his rather short role in Evelyn and create a grand story about relationships and what it means to care for someone just out of the vacuum of his absence. He might truly be, in his words, “a shit”, but he is also the pillar that holds the entire conflict in the book up and never crumbles, not even a little bit, not even at the end, when it all seems pretty straightforward. Mick Riva stays morally grey, even though we all want to agree he is the blackest black.
That said, I did not enjoy all the little backstories of famous people who attended the party. It seemed there would be a point to them, but in the end I guess the point was for us to feel like we have actually been at a party with a bunch of awesome famous people. I did not really fee their fates looming as warnings over the Rivas or their actions making any difference in the main characters’ mindset.
The other issue for me was the little time we had with the siblings. I liked all of them, I loved Nina and Kit annoyed me, but altogether I needed more time with all of them in the present narrative to really empathise.
The book is good and I would recommend it. However, its vibe is very close to Little Fires Everywhere and A Good Neighbourhood, both of which I don’t care much for.