Wednesday, August 7, 2013

REVIEW: THE COLLECTOR (Dante Walker, #1) by Victoria Scott

Title: The Collector
Series: Dante Walker, #1
Author: Victoria Scott
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Publication Date: April 2, 2013
Genre: YA, Paranormal Romance
Reviewed by: Books4Tomorrow
Source: Purchased
My smiley rating: 5/5


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.


I guess this story was bound to leak one way or another. At least from me you know you’re getting it straight.

That is, if you trust a demon.
-Dante Walker

With such a powerful intro, how can you not be hooked? I saw all the hype about this book on a lot of other blogs and just laughed and pointed, scoffing at the ridiculousness of yet another fictional character being fawned over. It’s a paranormal romance for crying out loud! Everyone knows I avoid paranormal romance wherever possible. And so it happened that I kept seeing gushing reviews about the awesomeness that is Dante Walker frigging everywhere I clicked on the interweb, mocking me. Being a naturally curious reader, I grabbed a copy of The Collector and challenged this Dante demon to bring it.

And boy, did he bring it!

Needless to say, I was left speechless…and very much won over to the dark side. Between Scott’s exceptional writing and Dante’s smart-mouthed charm, I never stood a chance.

Collecting souls is nothing personal. I’m an equal-opportunity sealer. I’m not sure I could do it any other way.

The world has always been his for the taking and nothing mattered more to Dante than him and his wants. A child relatively ignored by both his parents, he imagined this to be the perfect excuse to do whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted…until the day he died and was given a choice: be stuck in hell 24/7 or become a collector and drag others down with him. “…because that’s what I do. I choose me. I choose the ease of sin over hardship.

I liked Dante Walker. No, I really liked Dante Walker. He’s a cocky, outspoken demon with a self-confidence stronger than a bull’s determination. He’s the best soul collector hell has ever had, and he knows it. Bag and tag – that’s his motto. Pow! What I liked most about him is that I could imagine him any way I wanted because the author didn’t make a big deal about his physical attributes. He’s just Dante and you can make of him what you want. So in my mind, he rivaled the looks of Matt Damon. It’s not often I get to read a YA book where the story is told exclusively from the male point of view, and seeing things solely from Dante’s perspective, worked like a charm. To sum up my attraction to Dante, I’ll say this: if there’s a war between heaven and hell and I have to choose a side, I’ll choose the side Dante’s on. Yep, he got under my skin. For me to gush over a fictional character is completely unlike me, so I’m sure you understand this “man child” (so called by Charlie’s very entertaining grandmother) is a walking phenomenon.

I realize Charlie could be attractive to the right person. It’s in the way she sees the world. Like she’s lived a hundred lives before this, and now she’s got it all figured out. When in fact, she’s just a seventeen-year-old girl

Now Charlie on the other hand, is not your typical teen. She brims with dorkiness and naïveté and she’s the butt-end of many pranks at school, and yet she’s the girl in the middle of a heaven versus hell tug-of-war. Unknowingly, of course. Though the reader isn’t made privy to Charlie’s innermost thoughts and feelings, Dante’s observations of her reactions to his actions paints a clear picture of her emotions, and thus helps the reader to get a better understanding of her. Seeing how her friends, Annabelle and Blue, stay close to her side and witnessing their devotion to her, and hers to them, attests even more to her character.

There are a million little reasons why someone could fall for Charlie; I just have to remind her of those things.

I loved how things developed at a leisurely pace between Charlie and Dante. It wasn’t love-at-first-sight, or instant attraction, or anything like that. The mere fact that Dante’s attraction to Charlie stemmed from small, and what might seem insignificant, qualities – such as her laugh, the way the corners of her eyes crinkle when she smiles, her enthusiasm for life, taking life’s knocks and getting back up again to move on – makes this book stand apart from ninety-nine percent of YA paranormal romance books where the boy and girl is always attracted to each other by physical beauty. The developing romance between Charlie and Dante was absolutely heartwarming. I can see why so many fall for Dante’s charm. He gives new meaning to badass with a hint of heart, and considering how narcissistic he is, this speaks volumes. Especially at the end.

But the book is not all romance and there is much to be discovered in this multifaceted story. Refreshingly unique, wholly engaging and sinfully entertaining, I give this splendid novel two thumbs up and fifty gold stars for creativity, and two rare protagonists that shines with individuality. I dare you to read this book and not beg for more Dante Walker goodness. Now I have to get a copy of The Liberator!


The Collector by Victoria Scott has 778 reviews on Goodreads. Read it here.



Victoria Scott writes teen fiction and is represented by literary agent, Sara Crowe. She's the author of the DANTE WALKER trilogy (Entangled Teen), and the FLOOD & FIRE series (Scholastic). Victoria has a master's degree in marketing, and lives in Dallas with her husband. She hearts cotton candy and chubby cats.

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