Top critical review
I didn't enjoy this. Initially it wasn't terrible
15 June 2018
I'm just going to say it: I didn't enjoy this.
Initially it wasn't terrible; I enjoyed the prologue and starting few chapters. Plot was good. Writing was fantastic. They really gripped me throughout, but eventually the story started going downhill.
I also really loved the characterisation of Edie. Until her age slapped me hard across the face. And that's what bothered me about Scandalous. Amongst other things, but mostly the giant age gap between Edie and Trent.
I didn't want to read Scandalous actually, but I fell so hard in love with Vicious and Emilia, I needed more of them even if it was only in passing. I was hoping that this story would surprise me and it did, but not in the good way unfortunately.
Trent Rexroth is somewhat different from the other HotHoles. He wasn't born into money and privilege. Instead he's a self-made man. But he's just as arrogant. Where Vicious is loud and commanding, Dean laid-back and Jaime level-headed, Trent is known as the Mute. He doesn't say anything unless it has purpose and reason.
He's also a single parent to little Luna after the mother left without a single word. Luna doesn't say anything because she chooses not to, but no one, even Trent, knows why. Trent has never had a girlfriend or come close to falling in love. His parents have the kind of loving relationship he wants but never found.
Edie Van Der Zee, eighteen years old would have the world at her fingertips if her father didn't have a hold over her. She's a free spirit. She loves surfing, the waves crashing against the shore. It makes her feel alive. And she hates the wealthy. Despite her age, Edie is mature and her troubled upbringing may have pushed her to grow up faster than she needed.
Scandalous is Edie and Trent's story.
And it bothered me on so many levels.
First, the large age gap between them. I don't normally care about them. But there's something weird about an eighteen year old girl and thirty-three year old man. I would have felt better about the age gap if Edie was at least, I don't know, twenty something.
It would have also been even more helpful if Trent didn't compare Edie's legs to his four year old daughter, Luna's, legs. Never compare the girl you're about to have sex with with your child. Just don't.
Second, Trent telling Edie who she couldn't have sex with. He wasn't being jealous or possessive in cute ways, he was just being obnoxious and demanding. Trent didn't want to be anywhere near Edie, anyway. He also doesn't offer or promise her anything. He just forbids her to have sex with other men.
Third, the way the relationship started. Perhaps if it wasn't just physical the age gap wouldn't have bothered me as much. Even if there was alluding to insta-love. Something to soften the age gap and Trent's weird perversion towards Edie's child-like body.
Edit: Fourth, it saddens me to see that the tough heroines have been reduced in character in Scandalous. What happened to Millie, the savvy artist or Rosie, the one who was dedicated to helping others? It seems the women do nothing but host barbeques and take the kids out for ice cream.
I'm sorry but Scandalous didn't work for me. L.J. Shen did so well with Vicious and okay with Ruckus (it would have been better if history wasn't rewritten) as well, so it's sad to not continue enjoying the series.
However there was one good thing about this: Bane. The "Made in China" version of Vicious. I can't wait for him to have his own story.