Wednesday, April 3, 2013

2013 Belongs to Dante Blog Tour: review of The Collector (Dante Walker #1) by Victoria Scott + GIVEAWAY

Hey guys! Welcome to my stop on the ‘2013 Belongs to Dante’ blog event hosted by YA Bound. Click HERE to see the rest of the blog tour schedule!

Goodreads rating: 4.21
Published April 2nd 2013 by Entangled Teen
e-book, 400 pages

Dante Walker is flippin’ awesome, and he knows it. His good looks, killer charm, and stellar confidence has 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 10 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.

The first thing to say about this book is that Scott created a character voice that stands out. Not many YA books written by women are from the POV of the guy, but I can't imagine this awesomeness any other way. Also, the guy on the cover is super hot... just sayin'. This is the story of Dante Walker. He didn't lead the best life when he was alive, but then he died and became the ultimate bad boy. Basically, he gets to roam around earth, looking for people that have done something bad, and he puts a stamp on them. Too many stamps, and your soul is tagged for hell. No, you don't die right then, but whenever you do die, your soul will go to the devil, the guy who Dante works for. He's set Dante on a new mission, giving him a specific soul to tag. Dante figures that whoever this chick is must have done something really bad for his boss to be interested in her, but when he meets Charlie, he sees it's the opposite. But Dante's not about to give up his awesome job for some chick that needs a serious makeover and is a total nerd. But he begins to realize that there's a lot more to Charlie than he first realized. I loved Dante's journey to becoming a real person. I mean, he's dead and works for the devil, so you can't expect much good character in the first place. Charlie makes him want to change, though. The problem is that he's changing her too, in a very permanent way.

The romance was slow-going. When we first meet Charlie, she's everything Dante is not. She's sweet and caring, a total geek but proud of it. She has a limp and has acne because of all the Skittles she eats. But these are the little things that Dante starts to fall in love with. I honestly did not see any of the attraction that Dante would eventually have for Charlie in the end. I can't really say much, but Charlie becomes more attractive to Dante not just in personality. Dante becomes conflicted: he needs to complete this tag and bag in order to be on earth 24/7/365, but he's also finding himself falling for the Charlie that he first met before he set out to corrupt her (he needs her to do some things that would earn stamps because her soul is way too pure to be tagged for hell in a week). I was glad that we got to see a softer, more protective side of Dante, and also the side of Charlie that really wants to fit in and be beautiful and popular. Dante turns out to have a conscience, which becomes a problem, being a Collector, and the devil's best one at that. Charlie found her way under his skin though, and I loved watching that slowly happen. I can't wait to see what happens to these two, especially with seeing the synopsis for the second book.

There's also something else going on that Dante's not happy about, and he sees that some of his stamps have been replaced with weird pink ones. But he doesn't really have time to focus on it because he's having problems getting Charlie to do anything bad. And the pink ones make any stamps he put on these people obsolete. Charlie's also dealing with some things. Her grandmother, who she's staying with, is actually very sick. It was so exciting seeing Dante not care about anyone but himself, and then coming to love all of these people. It's obvious he eventually starts to feel things for Charlie, but he becomes more human the more time he spends with her and he comes to care for the people in her life and the people he left behind when he died. Dante also has to face the past, something he never planned on doing before meeting Charlie. Charlie changes him in every way, which I loved. I guess the only bad thing I would say is that the ending came together too perfectly. I can't really explain why because I don't want to give anything away, but Dante lost a lot of his edge (for obvious reasons) and things just came together to easily. Also, sometimes Charlie felt a bit flat. Dante burned really brightly, but Charlie was really a secondary character at times when she was supposed to be the main focus. But I love these characters and I'm really excited to see what happens next!

Add The Liberator, the second book in the Dante Walker series to your Goodreads shelf:

About the Author
I'm a YA writer represented by Laurie McLean. Author of THE COLLECTOR (Entangled Teen, April 2013) and THE BRIMSTONE BLEED (Scholastic, 2014). I have a master's degree in marketing, and live in Dallas with my husband. When not writing, I can be found munching cotton candy and snuggling obese cats.

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