This review is based on a complimentary book I received from Lola's Blog Tours. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.Scandal by Athena Grayson
Series: Scions of the Star Empire #1
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction
Release Date: March 30, 2017
Publisher: Uncharted Worlds Media
Source: Lola's Blog Tours
Purchase at: Amazon ◊ Barnes & Noble ◊ Google Play ◊ Kobo ◊ iBooks ◊ SmashWords ◊ Books2Read
When a princess who's no stranger to scandal runs afoul of the secrets of the most powerful cabal on Landfall, even her crown can't protect her from the consequences.
They have anything they want...except a future.Nothing infuriates Princess Ione Ra more than having someone else take control of her reputation from her, and her old nemesis--gossip journalist Jaris Pulne--is poised to do just that with pilfered pics of her caught in a compromising position with her power-couple partner. As someone who's no stranger to manipulating the markets on her own social life, Ione knows the wrong scandal means social suicide.
Privilege is a prison...For the other half of the power couple, Den Hades, his survival has depended on staying in his powerful father's shadow in order to protect his secrets. But on the very night of his one chance to earn a shot at becoming a Scion--and freedom from his father's ambitions, scandal threatens to tear him from Ione, or worse--force them together before their time.
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Scandal is set in a futuristic society where there are houses of power who run the show. Imagine if trust fund babies could use their scandals and accomplishments to manipulate the outcomes of Wall Street. In this story, using Social Capital the characters are able to influence fans in a set of strategic moves. This results in an outcome that would be profitable for the ones who knew when to buy and sell according to the index or financially crippling for those who don’t. Now imagine your entire future is determined by those outcomes. You would definitely want to be running those numbers to your advantage.
Princess Ione Ra is no stranger to scandal. In fact, she has been instrumental in starting them. It raises her social capital because everyone is wanting to know what she is doing and with who. Behind the Social Capital was the Probabilities Index. This index determined the likelihood of potential outcomes that fueled the engine of the economy. Given that her “who” is her long-term boyfriend Den Hades, they must play a game to keep their relationship interesting but not one that is a forgone conclusion. Otherwise their SoCap will drop and they will not have enough “status” to be considered for Scion.
The children of the great houses are given prestige, wealth and the best environmental qualities but they are not free. In order to gain their freedom, they must learn how to manipulate the social influence markets. If they are good at that and even better about betting for or against certain outcomes they can gain their own wealth and elevate their status enough for the Cultural Trust to grant them the title of Scion.
Scion is the title of freedom because whoever bears that title is free from the influence of control from the houses. They are able to make their own choices, and they can choose their own alliances, basically marriages. In this society, the privileged are not allowed to marry for love but their families choose strong alliances that are governed by the Cultural Trust. If the trust rejects the proposed alliance then the couple are forever denied access to each other and are forced into a different alliance, despite their feelings.
Ione and Den have been playing a long game manipulating outcomes and probabilities in order to achieve the title of Scion before their families petition for an alliance. If one partner does not have the title of Scion before an alliance is completed then they never have another chance to have freedom from their families. They want to be together but they want the freedom to make their own choices together. I really enjoyed reading about this couple’s plans to push the factors in their favor.
On the eve of Den really making a mark for himself and putting him close to achieving a high SoCap, Ione is caught in a compromising position and Den must do everything in his power to curtail the information from leaking. If she is ruined they will never be allowed an alliance and that is not something that he is willing to allow. Both he and Ione have worked too hard to achieve their goals and along the way they even fell in love.
Scandal is something that you would read slowly. There is so much going on! There is a ton of information that is given to you through conversations and interactions with the characters. So, a little at a time. There are three main characters and the story switches between their points of view. It creates a very complex story with a lot of moving parts so to speak but it is also utterly fascinating and will keep you enthralled until the end.
*Thank you to Lola’s Blog Tours and Athena Grayson for this complimentary copy of Scandal*
Excerpt from Scandal:
Denaat Hades held his blade extended, his arm outstretched. He held the lunge on one burning thigh muscle while he stood in near-complete darkness, waiting for the spectacle to begin. The landscape of the party had given way to the evening’s main event—an exhibition duel and bladework demonstration between himself and the Academy’s Blademaster with a twenty-five year record.
Gone were the ornamental topiary plantings that created nooks and alcoves for socializing, and gone was the impressive display of fine foods and the waterfall made from champ-ale bubbling and fizzing over cut-crystal held under pressurized glass until it burst out of the pursed lips of a crystal nymph into glasses for guests. They’d been discreetly cleared away for anti-gravity pods holding comfortable seating for up to a dozen guests. The pods jockeyed for position along x, y, and z axes based on the credit amounts donated by their occupants, except for the single, stationary pod holding his instructors and closest classmates, fixed to the floor at the edge of the ring of drones generating the light field for the dueling area.
Gone also was his shiny, holo-patterned suit and the starsilk shirt beneath it, and the ornamental lights in his hair. His finery—picked out by his class’s style consultant to display his status and wealth—was stuffed into a storage container in favor of light, form-fitting carbon-fiber armor, with a matching face mask. Gauntlets secured to his wrists generated power for the sensors emitting an electro-mesh shield around his body that shifted with the movements of his off hand. His weapon, an elegant blade of wire and light, derived its power from his main hand gauntlet and the glove that protected his hand. Tuned to full, the blade could melt steel or puncture the transparent alloy that made up the dome above his head.
Thankfully, this was an exhibition duel. The blades would sting, but not incapacitate or kill.
He waited, holding his ready position, as the banners came down, displaying his family’s banner, with the twinkling ribbons of support from classmates and other interested parties, and the Academy banner, under which Master Kenndar dueled. Tradition kept the Academy banner free of ribbons, but his neural interface told him the odds of his loss were just under fifty percent. The markets were calling this a close thing and the players in the markets were nothing, if not savvy odds-players.
The lights came up around the ring, plunging the shifting observation cars into darkness as Master Kenndar entered from the other side of the oval. He took his cue to step forward, meeting his opponent in the center of the ring. He executed the formal bow, hand-grip, and blade salute deserving of a worthy opponent and prayed his master’s teachings weren’t wasted. He returned to his ready position to await the chime beginning the match, but not before he glanced towards the stationary box and spotted her in the front row, the lights in her hair twinkling in time with the flashes of crystal on her dress.
Ione wore a small smile of bored amusement, echoing the expressions of probably everyone in the audience, and he knew their thoughts. Yet another Academy student, ready to show off for status and praise, as if the privileges of his born position didn’t already come with their own accolades. His gaze flicked to the VIP box and he saw another bored, slightly amused expression, only he knew this one masked keen interest. As if the man sensed his scrutiny, Invicti Hades lifted one eyebrow and Den heard the words as surely as if they’d been broadcast for all to hear. What new way have you found to disappoint me?
The lurking paranoia he’d lived with for ten years summoned itself to the forefront of his awareness as the lights in the arena changed to a soft blue. The chimes sounded for Ready and Arm, and his blade flared to golden life. Across the ring, Master Kenndar assumed his own ready position. Den felt the eyes of the spectators crawling over him, adding weight to his protective gear. Waiting for him to fail.
The last chime sounded. Engage!
He leapt forward, his awareness extended out to the blade’s end, as he’d been taught and trained by Kenndar to do for ten years. And knew he’d made a mistake.
There is a tour wide giveaway for the blog tour of Scandal. These are the prizes you can win:
– 2 paperback copies of Scandal by Athena Grayson (US Only)
– 2 $10 Amazon Gift Cards (International)
Enter to Win this Giveaway!