**I received this book for free from the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**
Series: Dante Walker
Published by Entangled Teen on April 2, 2013
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
AMAZON • B&N • BOOK DEPOSITORY • Goodreads
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 was really looking forward to the release of Victoria Scott’s THE COLLECTOR for two reasons. First, I rarely read male POVs so I was interested in reading a paranormal where the male voice would take center stage; second, by all the buzz around the book, I knew that said male voice was, well, not going to be a nice guy and this intrigued me – a narrator you might not like? Ballsy. I wanted to see where Scott would take us with the infamous Dante Walker, soul collector for the Boss Man (the Devil to you and me). For the most part, I found THE COLLECTOR entertaining and, in some parts, genuinely moving but overall, it was less than I expected. Let me explain.
Dante Walker is an a-hole. He’s one of those guys that’s such a douche you have to laugh. At him. In incredulity that someone can actually be such an ass. Arrogant, selfish, and superficial, Dante is the perfect soul collector for the guy below the ground. You know, Hell. He has one big assignment: bring in the soul of Charlie Cooper, a 17-year old girl who, while not physically the most beautiful girl in the world, is smart, sweet, and has a beautiful soul. Dante is really going to need to turn up the charm to get Charlie to sin enough so he can claim her soul for his boss. Scott did a great job of turning this ass into a hero by the end of the book. His character goes from A to Z in a very nicely paced arc. The stakes are high for Dante and to fail at this assignment means losing his ticket out of Hell, so he is constantly pitting his selfish urges against his growing concern for Charlie. I like the fact that this change is a constant struggle and that it doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, the book is almost done before you see real change in Dante and taking the time to develop that transformation made it more impactful.
You would think that with a main character like Dante my biggest issue would be with him. But it’s not. It’s with the treatment of Charlie. While I don’t think she is as developed a character as Dante, and that may be because the book is told entirely from Dante’s POV, what I really didn’t like were her choices.
**START SLIGHT SPOILER**
Now, the character of Charlie would have been a great opportunity to create a female character that challenged Dante even more than she does here. She is awkward. Acne, frizzy hair, crooked teeth, the whole nine yards. She’s the type of girl Dante would never have noticed in his past life. She’s given the option to change and…she does. I wanted her to say, “F*ck you, Dante! I don’t need to change how I look to feel good about myself.” Instead, Dante conveniently gets a beautiful girl on the inside and the outside; therefore, he can love Charlie without having to look past the pesky issue of her glasses, bad skin, frizzy hair, crooked teeth, and beanpole body. Dante says he prefers the old Charlie but it doesn’t matter does it? Because now he has the upgraded Charlie. Huh?
**END SLIGHT SPOILER**
What I’m really hoping is that Scott flips the switch a bit on Charlie by the end of this trilogy. What you find is that Charlie is a game-changer, for everyone involved, so the stakes are high and I do wonder how Scott is going to move forward with her character.
In terms of world-building, I found myself less interested in the dynamics of the reapers and the rules as they weren’t very compelling to me. What kept me reading was Dante Walker, who he was becoming, what the ramifications would be for him, and how he was going to survive it.
I’m so on the fence about this book. While Dante was entertaining in all his douchey splendor, I don’t think I would read book two. I had such problems with Charlie and very little interest in the world itself.
Though well-written and entertaining, this one is right down the middle for me: 2.5 Howls.