Series: Dante Walker #1
Published by Entangled Teen on April 2nd 2013
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 352 (Paperback)
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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.
Okay, let’s start this review off with some straight-up trufax. On my own, it’s possible I may not have chosen this book to read. That’s not because the blurb didn’t sound interesting, it’s just that out of all the other YA sub-genres, Paranormal Romance is the one I have a very inconsistent streak with. Which is unfortunate because when it’s done right, I fall in love with the story. My start with The Collector reminds me of what happened with Obsidian. I kept seeing it all over other’s twitter avatars and hearing about it on a few blogs I follow (you know the drill), but somehow that simply wasn’t enough for me to actually say, “Hell yeah. Sign me up.” But that was a mistake because The Collector had me LOL’ing from beginning to end.
The thing about this book is that you are not going to like Dante at first. He’s an anti-hero who will partly grind your nerves so bad you’ll see red. He’s the most conceited, selfish, slightly womanizer-ish, sarcastic little prick. And he knows this. Hell, he’d probably respond by saying:
But the thing about Dante is, that deep down he has a good heart. Throughout the story, we see his good growing stronger and stronger through his interactions with Charlie. When he first meets her, he’s pretty mean to her. I mean, she’s the sweetest girl and he’s preying on her like a vulture. I just wanted to toss him out a window, for real. But thankfully, Dante has tons of character growth and becomes somewhat of a standup guy by the end.
That’s not to say this is a perfect book. While the writing style and characters were all right up my alley, the second half did seem noticeably weaker than the first. I really think this may have been due to the Big Guy vs. Boss Man mythology. The Collector isn’t preachy at all, if you’re worried. But I did have a hard time believing that Dante’s BFF, Max, didn’t know how his Boss got kicked out of heaven. Another thing: there are only 6 Collectors for the entire earth? They must have been putting in some serious overtime.
Still, I really was enjoying myself so whatevs. I’ll allow it.
The best part is Dante’s voice. HILARIOUS. Scott created a very entertaining character who was really distinctive. When I first read the blurb, I thought it was a little ambitious:
Dante Walker is flippin’ awesome, and he knows it.
All that sentence did is make me turn my head to the side and emit an, “O RLY?” But the thing is, that blurb really shows the tone of Dante and the novel (unlike other blurbs that mislead people).
So here are 3 very good reasons why Dante Walker is flippin’ awesome:
1. What up, gangsta?
I’m trying to think of the best way to describe this guy. The one thing that sticks out in my mind every time is that he’s like a mini gangsta. Which, I guess, makes sense considering he does work for Hell and he calls his “employer” Boss Man. And seriously, all I needed was for him to start rapping.
But unlike Jamie Kennedy from Malibu’s Most Wanted, Dante is cool. Know why? Well, that brings us to the second reason.
2. Check my swag, yo.
And I’m not talking about that fake wannabe stuff. Sure Dante’s a bit full of himself, but he backs that shit up. Because he possesses one thing I think it was incredibly smart of Scott to include. It allowed me to like just a small piece of him until his redeemable qualities showed up.
“Girl, I got swag for days.”
And then Dante says things like “fo’ shizzle” and I start thinking that he’s secretly one of Snoop Dogg’s love children.
Park it like it’s hot, Snoop!
3. His relationship with Charlie and the gang
Charlie and Dante are the most unlikely PNR couple I’ve ever encountered so far. I really didn’t expect sparks to fly between the two because their first interaction began with Dante turning his nose up. He considers her undesirable, “unpretty”, a waste of his time and good charm, etc. Charlie’s beauty is something he doesn’t understand at first and tries convince her a change is in order. Fortunately, Charlie’s lovely qualities have an effect on him and he not only starts to develop a conscience, but feelings for her. He sees how much her friends love her, how despite her background she made something better out of it. It causes him to really look at his own life’s actions.
I’ll never understand the friendships Charlie has. Friendships where it doesn’t take cash or hookups, or saying the right things to stay in the circle. No, Charlie’s friendships are different. She tries to protect her people, and they in turn protect her. They accept each other’s imperfections and support one another. My friends weren’t like her friends, which makes me wonder if I ever had any at all.
I loved seeing his character develop.
And then you have his interactions with the other characters. Scott really brought everyone to life with her wit and charm. I kept bookmarking my favorite quotes until I realized I was damn near highlighted every other page. She spread her awesome out evenly and it resulted in hilarious dialogue, a lot of the times between Charlie’s best friend, Annabelle, and Dante.
“In this trunk,” she says with a serious face, “is God’s gift to women.”
“Stop guessing,” she says.
Reading The Collector was like listening to a great rock CD. There are songs I love more than others. There are songs where I find myself singing along. There are ones that make me laugh and the ones that pull at my feels. And let’s not forget the slightly annoying ones with the lead singer screaming into the mic. But every last one of them is memorable. I think The Collector will appeal to a lot of readers, especially those with an awesome sense of humor. Even the reluctant ones like myself.
ARC was provided by the author. No favors or monies were exchanged for review, but wouldn’t that be awesome?
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