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

Rating: **** / 4 out of 5
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Published March 25, 2013 by Entangled Teen
 

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. 

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Okay. Let’s be realistic and honest here. If you’re looking for a profound book, or a dramatic plot that could easily rival those latin soap operas, or a title that would leave you wondering, pondering and thinking about the cosmos and the meaning of life for days on end, then I advice you right now to turn your heels around, walk away, and don’t look back, because this book isn’t it.

BUT!!

If you’re itching to read a fun book, a novel that will leave you giggling, chuckling, and laughing inside, a read that will make you all warm and fuzzy, a plot quite predictable but will still keep you going nonetheless because it’s that good, then buckle up and get this book, ’cause you’re in for a fun ride.

I didn’t expect anything at all when I started The Collector. I read the synopsis and immediately thought “Mmmmeh. The dude’s probably a jerk, and the love interest’s a whiny girl who can’t get enough of him.” Man, did it prove me wrong, and for some odd, otherworldly reason, I just couldn’t get enough of it. Yes, it is a bit formulaic; yes, it probably won’t win the next nobel prize for literature, but damn, the lasting impression it left on me was just formidable. All I can say are three words – love, fun, and awesome!

Dante, the main character, is one of the funniest and snarkiest narrators out there

The narration is the best asset of this book. It’s so made up of win. At first glance, it may seem like Dante’s a jerk or a douchebag, or even a wannabe gangster with all the “yo, got swag, yo!” vibes, but if you read further, you’ll find out he isn’t really all that bad. He’s just a really funny sometimes sarcastic individual who somehow has the ability to find humor in any situation, and you’ll love him for it. I certainly did! Pages upon pages, I was giggling like a lunatic. I think I took note of a couple of quotes here and there for future references, as a lot of them were that memorable. The narration is spectacular, especially in the first half, where Dante’s absolutely confident in himself. The second half has less snark and more angst, but the quality of narration didn’t deteriorate at all. I found the turn of events highly interesting, the character growth of Dante deeply satisfying, and the blossoming romance between him and the love interest absolutely intriguing. Needless to say, by the end of it all, it left me feeling all giddy and warm inside. He’s actually way better than Daemon from Obsidian.

The love interest, Charlie, is just so adorable!

Girl characters can easily be divided into a couple of categories. There are the feisty ones full of snark, wit, and rudeness; in this corner are the angsty ones who wallow in their own self-pity; over at the left side are the dramatic ones who a.) can’t believe this hot guy likes her because she’s so plain or b.) how dare that bitch steal him away from me?!; and over at the right side are the Mary Sues who are just so good at everything, who are loved by everyone, who are so gentle and brittle they couldn’t possibly have the heart to kill a ladybug. I’m sure there are others out there, but let’s just say these are the four main archetypes. And truth be told, a lot of YA heroines right now are Mary Sues BUT there is a fine line between being a Mary Sue, and being someone with innate goodness. Charlie’s one of the latter.

Charlie is one of the most endearing love interests I’ve ever had the pleasure to read. She’s insanely sweet, kind, caring, and loving, but even though this is so, there’s no air of “trying hard” in her. She’s just naturally good, and you feel it, making her so hard not to like. I guess I could put her up there with Meg Corbyn from Written in Red by Anne Bishop, or Mikan from the graphic novel/manga Alice Academy, who are also both very innocent and kind, but not a Mary Sue. Like Meg, they are both vibrant, and the things they do are always out of a genuine kindness we don’t see much in our society nowadays. Even though we see the story from Dante’s perspective, I applaude the author for still having captured Charlie’s sincere personality in paper and words.

The romance is swoon-worthy and nicely developed!

I love how the romance was portrayed here. The development and blossoming between the two is just astoundingly well-done. Dante starts off as an overly confident and egotistic individual, someone who couldn’t care less about others if it doesn’t benefit him. He thought that Charlie would be someone who he could easily fool and forget, but the girl’s innate kindness and sincere goodness have won him ten times over. Slowly, but surely, he develops a kind of fondness for her, and finally realises how big her worth is – more than himself, more than the freedom he was promised if he could continually deceive her.

I appreciated the development and the romance a lot. It gradually made Dante show the goodness of the world; it made him discern about himself and his actions. It was like seeing a cold-hearted individual learn to love not just someone else, but himself as well. Many times throughout the book, I found myself going “Awww!” and melting due to the sheer romantic-ness. I definitely can’t wait how it will continue to unfold in Book 2 :)

I only had one problem with the plot, though…

By the second half, we find out that there’s more to the story than what we initially thought. It’s bigger than Dante, bigger than Charlie, bigger than the whole world. To be honest, I couldn’t really appreciate the twist because it seemed a bit superficial and… I don’t know, random? It felt like it came from out of nowhere. Yes, it was unexpected to a certain extent, but it evoked an empty reaction from me. I don’t really want to spoil it here for the rest of you, but let’s just say I just found it a bit out of place.

OVERALL…

I recommend this book to those who’s looking for a paranormal chick lit that will tickle your funny bone. The narration is not something to be missed. To be honest, I can easily imagine this book being turned into an entertaining chick flick movie (if it does get turned into a film, please have Kevin Zegers as Dante!!!). The romance is heart-warming, and the changes Dante undergo are deeply satisfying. A solid 4/5 stars from me!

An ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley for reviewing purposes. This did not influence my review in any way.

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Faye

Faye

A 21 years old Filipina who loves books, games, languages, and most especially, food. Secretly wishes to be an astronaut so she can explore the stars. Has a love-hate relationship with Philippine politics. To get in her good graces, offer her Foie Gras, Or shrimp. Or a JRPG. A YA sci-fi book works, too. You can follow her on twitter here: @kawaiileena

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  1. says

    Great review! I’ve read some other reviews and it seems like it’s either a love or hate thing with Dante. I’ll have to pick this one up very soon, to see what I think. It sounds like my kind of book! :)