Wednesday, March 27, 2013

ARC Review - The Collector (Dante Walker #1) by Victoria Scott

He makes good girls...bad.

Dante Walker is flippin’ awesome, and he knows it. His good looks, killer charm, and stellar confidence have made him one of hell’s best—a soul collector. His job is simple: weed through humanity and label those round rears with a big red good or bad stamp. Old Saint Nick gets the good guys, and he gets the fun ones. Bag-and-tag.  Sealing souls is nothing personal. Dante’s an equal-opportunity collector and doesn't want it any other way. But he’ll have to adjust, because Boss Man has given him a new assignment:  Collect Charlie Cooper’s soul within ten days.  Dante doesn't know why Boss Man wants Charlie, nor does he care. This assignment means only one thing to him, and that’s a permanent ticket out of hell. But after Dante meets the quirky Nerd Alert chick he’s come to collect, he realizes this assignment will test his abilities as a collector…and uncover emotions deeply buried.

Release Date:  April 2, 2013
Publisher:  Entangled Teen
Pages:  352
Genre:  Young Adult, Paranormal 
      Fantasy, Paranormal Romance

Oh, Dante!  Where should I begin?  Dante Walker is a rebel with-a-cause Collector.  As in, he is sent from Hell to collect the souls of sinners.  He's a full-on demon.  Every time he, or one of his fellow Collectors notices a person committing a sin, they tag that person's soul.  Once there are enough tags to make a soul black, that soul is taken to his Boss Man.  Dante is up for a promotion - one that he wants badly since it will assure him a permanent spot on Earth.  That means no more slumming it in Hell.  To be promoted, the Boss Man sends Dante out to perform a special task  - collect Charlie Cooper's soul.  Only problem?  Charlie has one of the brightest and cleanest souls he's ever seen.

I liked Dante from the beginning, although I think many readers will not.  This is a dark story, and Dante is definitely a dark character.  I love his darkness and his underlying vulnerability.  He begins by being manipulative, egomaniacal, shallow and selfish.  He's incredibly full of himself - thinking he's the hottest, smartest and coolest cat around.  When he first meets Charlie, his disdain is obvious.  She's too skinny, not pretty enough, has bad teeth and skin, and he thinks she's an all-around nerd.  But Charlie has one of the brightest souls he has ever seen.  Charlie has great friends, although not popular friends, and has created a charity that helps every day people.  

Dante begins his conquest of Charlie.  After spending some time with her, he decides that Charlie isn't that bad, but he needs to find a way to collect her soul.  Her laugh draws him in, and her honesty and loyalty are his un-doing. Dante befriends Charlie and her friends and after some time without any progress, Dante tricks Charlie into changing some things about herself.  

Although Dante begins as a terrible person, he grows throughout this story.  He begins to value Charlie as a person, not for her appearance or cool-factor.  He goes as far as to miss the old Charlie once too many changes occur.  Dante also goes through an understanding of his human life.  He was a spoiled rich kid but learns that there are other things more valuable to him.  By the end of this story, Dante is still the self-assured, bad boy demon, but he is infinitely more swoon-worthy.

Charlie Cooper also shows character growth throughout this novel.  Charlie is the geek with a heart of gold.  She fills a role that we are still unsure of by the end of The Collector.  Charlie at times was a bit too sweet, and too naive for me in the beginning.  It's almost sad to say that after all of her transformations, her confidence builds.  Charlie was always happy with herself - it was Dante that pushed her to be more.  And because of Charlie's affections for Dante, she changed herself.  

I think this book was extremely well written.  The dialogue is tight, young, current, and at times, laugh-out-loud funny.  Victoria Scott does a fantastic job showing growth in her characters - there is a definitely change in both Dante and Charlie by the end of this book.  I would like to see more of a spark or a connection between Dante and Charlie in the future.  Yeah - this couple liked one another but it lacked that butterflies-in-your-stomach spark that is noticeable in other similar YA/PNR books.  

This book ends with a complete set up for the next book in this series.  There was a bit of well-written violence at the end, and we finally see the "real" Dante Walker.  I predict that many, many ladies will swoon over Dante - he's the kind of YA character that can carry a huge following.  I also think that many people will relate to Charlie and find her extremely likeable.  If you are a fan of Paranormal YA, then you will enjoy this bad boy-good girl story.


Aleksandra said...

From what I've seen, there are already a lot of girls that are swooning over Dante :) I'm not sure if I'll be one of them (I rarely swoon) but I'm interested in reading this because of the laugh-out-loud situations & the great dialogue :) it does sound like a fun read :) Thanks for the review, I'm glad you enjoyed it :)

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