|The Collector by Victoria Scott|
March 25, 2013
Source: NetGalley for honest review
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.
The first thing I noticed when I started reading The Collector was how awesome Dante was. Well, first of all, he tells us how awesome he is. But second of all, I believed him. I will say that his way of speaking isn't for everyone, and may feel over-the-top at times. But not for me. I loved the crazy things he said, and as the book continued past the halfway mark, and he seemed to be taming it down a bit, I missed his overly-confident, arrogant, call-it-like-it-is word choices. Now don't get me wrong, Dante still brings it, just things have shifted along with the plot, as a different kind of Dante begins to form. But when he talks about cats having "creepy little teeth and finger blades" and wanting to punt them because they're a freak show, I couldn't help but laugh. He describes a girl as looking "like a porcelain doll...beat three times with an ugly stick," and I admit I laughed instead of being offended. And when a woman threatens to call security on him and get him kicked out, he responds by saying, "For what? Being awesome?" And this was just in the first 6% of the book. All those things and many, many more made reading Dante's thoughts and dialogue...awesome. But then we see Dante's amazing progress throughout the story. He becomes more than just this superficial character and is forced to make big decisions and sacrifices and truly re-evaluate who he is and who he wants to be. I loved how his mindset and beliefs developed, taking him way beyond just being awesome.
Now Charlie was Dante's utter opposite. I really liked her and felt bad for her at the same time, the way Dante was using her. But I liked how Charlie seemed to be in touch with herself and she wasn't your typical 'perfect' teen heroine. She didn't have the traditional beautiful looks, hence the 'ugly stick' comment. She also beat to her own drummer, had loyal, quirky friends, and did not let her past traumas ruin her life, but instead used them as inspiration to be a better person and inspire others in the same way, but with subtlety. Some of the choices she made were out of character, with Dante's influence, but also made her a more realistic teen, wrestling with insecurities, attraction, etc. And watching the dynamic between her and Dante develop was well written. Though we are only in Dante's head, we can still see both of them wrestling with their thoughts and actions.
As for the storyline, I found it to be enjoyable and entertaining, but also with a moral story, which I appreciated. Now, I believe in Heaven and Hell, and not necessarily the way the author describes it, but I was still able to enjoy the story in spite of that. As the story progressed and Dante tried to win Charlie over, I felt the nagging in my stomach that evil couldn't possibly win over good. The author did a great job keeping my anticipation up, unsure of where things would go in each of the scenes and settings. And when one thing and then another happened, that I'd hoped wouldn't happen, I felt my heart sink a little. Then when something else happened that I wasn't sure about, my spirits lifted again. Then when that other thing happened...well, you get the picture. Ms. Scott kept me guessing at how things would turn out even until the very end. I was completely hooked and devoured this book.
The only downside for me was the second half seemed to slow just a bit for me, but as I said before, Dante's dialogue/thoughts seemed to mellow out, so perhaps that was mainly what I was sensing. The plot seemed to keep moving, however. Also, considering Dante and Charlie only knew each other less than two weeks, I felt like 'feelings' progressed rather quickly. But overall, I really liked this book and look forward to the rest of the series. Well done, Ms. Scott!