Review: The Collector by Victoria Scott

Author: Victoria Scott
Series: Dante Walker #1
Publication Date: March 25, 2013
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Reading Level: Young Adult (14+)
Pages: 352 (Paperback)
Source: Gifted

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.
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

 The second I saw the premise for this book I knew I had to have it. And while I'm happy to report that I greatly enjoyed this one, it wasn't as great as I was hoping it to be. Let me explain...

Firstly, I really enjoyed Dante's characterization. He's pretty much an anti-hero because he's a demon, and a damn good one at that. He's attractive, he's rolling in dough, he knows his way around the ladies--and he'll remind you of it constantly. Dante gets what Dante wants. And while his obnoxious personality easily fit in with his ex-party-boy-while-he-was-alive persona, it was a lot to throw at the reader immediately in the story because it was unexpected. I love the arrogance, the confidence and the high self-worth, but I hate the demeaning of other people. Put it this way...Dante's one of those people who could be a massive jerk since his regular personality is set at normal level jerk. He's the guy who hasn't reached the point of referring to his greatness in third person because he thinks so highly of himself, but one step up the jerk-ladder and he's right there. I mean, imagine a pretty girl walking buy and that random jerkwad going "Dante likey." Yeah, he's right under there. But again, I freaking loved it because, somewhere buried way down deep, our demon has a heart and it's still a-beating for a girl named Charlie.

I do want to point out that I feel like Scott's attempts to make him seem careless were futile. When you have this badass character that's oozing sarcasm, you sort of ruin it when you have him say "whatev." Nobody does that, not even Dante Walker.

Charlie Cooper was great. To put it simple, she was purity in Dante's wake of evilness and darkness. She wasn't the prettiest, but she had a body hiding under there. She's not the smartest and the most confident, but she has the best friends a girl could ask for and she's one of the few people who are genuinely happy with her place in the world despite the fact that she lost both her parents to a fire when she was twelve that gave her a limp. To put it simply, Charlie's going to change the world. And couple her unique characterization (really, when do we see young adult heroines that are realistically insecure) with Dante's confidence and you have one helluva interesting and entertaining ride.

I have to say that one of the best aspects of this novel was the romance. It takes place over only ten days because that's how long Dante has to collect Charlie's soul, but it seems realistic. It's slow-going and legitimately believable compared to many other novels these days. Dante first viewed Charlie as an assignment, then he viewed her as a companion and eventually he slowly developed feelings that had him warring with himself. The flaws that he was so quick to point out in the beginning--like the fact that she hid her body from view, had crooked teeth, and some acne--were the things he missed in the second half of the book when she started to alter her appearance slightly. It was really interesting. You could see he truly did slowly care about her and he went from an insensitive prick to a guy who was willing to give up his entire existence to continue hers. That's true love right there.

But realistically, my biggest problem with this book was the plot pace. I thought that the amazing action in the end was way too fast and the middle was too slow. The beginning, I must admit, was just perfect. But a solid little chunk of the middle of the book was spent with Dante's wishy-washy attitude regarding Charlie. There was this constant battle within him to either collect her soul or to protect her soul, so there wasn't much plot progression. He would do many things in the hope of making her take one step farther into the dark side, but than he'd do everything in his power to halt her from doing so because his feelings for her caused him to worry and question his admittedly negative intentions. While I thought it was necessary to the plot, I would have loved more true plot development, action, and surprises instead of slight predictability because of the aforementioned repetitive pattern.

The literature nerd in me wants to point out one last thing and that's the Dante's Inferno references. I've read all of the Inferno and I really loved the connection with Dante's name to the author, as well as using his Hell as the Hell in the story. There are nine circles of Hell with the Boss Man residing frozen in a block of ice closest to the 9th circle. Hell is full of ice instead of fire because ice is ten times more terrible. Not the traditional Hell, eh? I found this aspect interesting. I also found the fact that every Collector has a seal that they place on people when they witness them sinning to be interesting--though this is something that Scott was genius enough to come up with herself. The bigger the sin, the bigger the seal that covers your soul light. If your soul light is fully covered, a Collector collects your soul and you're going to Hell when the time comes. If you manage not to get your soul light covered, than you go to Judgement day. I found this to be extremely interesting.

Perfect for those looking for an amazingly unique anti-hero, this is an angels vs. demons war and romance story that will make it stand apart from the rest. This is also great for those who try to avoid any religion in novels centering around angels and demons. While very little is mentioned to set up the back-story, it's barely existent and I think what little there is is presented in a very tasteful manner by Scott instead of the type of manner where it's shoved down your throat and in your face. Bravo! I'm eagerly awaiting book two releasing in August!



4 stars

~*~Links~*~

5 comments:

  1. I enjoyed this one, too, but wasn't blown away. I had a hard time with Charlie just accepting all these "gifts." Still, it was a fun one. I do love the bad boys.

    Jennifer
    YA Sisterhood

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  2. 4 stars ain't bad! Not at all. I am absolutely looking forward to this book. Especially after all of the Dante loving that it has received! I like that he is an anti-hero. That is a nice change of pace honestly! The Collector is sitting on my Kindle, and I can't wait to get to it already!

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  3. Excited to read this soon! It does sound unique and I appreciate you sharing some of the creative details with us. I'm curious what I will think of it since I always fall for the bad boys.

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  4. I loved the idea of the seals as well...and Dante IS the perfect anti-hero!

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  5. This one sounds interesting, the take-off from inferno sounds neat and the characters seem to be good ones. Thanks for the review, I want to read it more now :P

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