Wednesday, 3 April 2013

2013 Belongs to Dante blog event: Review + Giveaway

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!

Title: The Collector (Dante Walker #1)
Author: Victoria Scott
Release Date: April 2nd 2013
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Format: eARC
Pages: 400
Source: Review copy from YA Bound
Purchase links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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 will protect this girl with everything I have, because if something happens to her, I will lose myself. I will cease to exist. And I will take everyone with me.
I literally freaked out when I got an ARC of this in my email! I opened it, started reading immediately, and didn’t stop until I finished it. Yeah that’s right, no breaks! It was that captivating. The Collector is definitely the 2013 debut everyone’s been looking forward to, and trust me, it does not disappoint! It's even better than I imagined it would be. I read this book all in one go, and I loved every second of it.

Victoria Scott has really stepped out of the mainstream YA books with this one, which I found absolutely fascinating. I’ve rarely come across a YA book written by a female author in a male point of view, but Victoria pulled it off so well that I found myself inside Dante’s head, connecting with him and of course, falling for him.

Dante Walker is a collector. That means he works for Lucifer, a.k.a. the devil. He’s definitely working for the bad side, but he’s such a sweet guy that you can’t help loving him. Dante’s freaking hilarious too, and I found myself laughing out loud at pretty much everything he said! Especially his initial thoughts about Charlie. Here’s one of them –
As Charlie is leaving the house, she somehow trips on the threshold and nearly face-plants onto the ground. I roll my eyes. How is it possible out of all the people in this world, this is the soul I’ve come to collect?
Man, how can you not love this guy? Dante’s character grows so much in this book. He really steps up and thinks about who he really wants to be. He’s so protective of Charlie, and so concerned. He’s not superficial, and he’s not shallow. I loved how he stood up for Charlie every time someone brought her down. Of course, his ego is humongous, but he has a right to that! Yeah, Dante’s vain, but he’s also the sweetest guy ever.

I honestly loved Charlie so much. She’s very different from typical YA heroines, in the physical sense. She’s awkward, with glasses and bad skin and a limp. But her personality shines through all of that, and it’s what makes Dante fall for her in the first place. Charlie is bubbly, talkative, and just so sweet. She’s such a good person – she started a charity organization and volunteers there with her friends every week. This charity is growing and growing and will soon become huge nationwide. Charlie has an innocence to her that made me like her immediately, and which also fueled Dante’s protectiveness over her. I really felt for Charlie, even though we didn’t get a peek inside her head. I hated the way people treated her, judging her on her looks. I think Victoria Scott captured that really well – the typical high school popular crowd, and how they look down on everyone else. Charlie doesn’t deserve to be treated that way – no one does. And Dante realizes that.

The thing I loved most about this book is Dante’s slowly developing relationship with Charlie. He started out with an indifference to her – she was just his assignment. Then she sparked his scorn, and later, curiosity. Then they became friends, and he began to care for her. As he did, nothing else mattered to him but who she is inside. Dante forgot about her outward appearance; in fact, he grew to like it. Charlie agrees to sign a soul contract with Dante, where she can wish to make herself beautiful, and I found it so ironic when every time Charlie wished for some part of her to improve, Dante would think that it wasn’t necessary.
They do have some ups and downs, though, courtesy of Dante. He’s hurt Charlie, and because of that she doesn’t know if she can trust him. Thankfully they get past that, because that’s how much they care for each other!

I loved the other characters in this book too – Annabelle, Blue, and Max. Annabelle and Blue are Charlie’s best friends, and it is easy to see how much they care about her. Blue is actually in love with her, and I felt really sorry for him every time she was with Dante and he knew it. Blue is an awesome character. He overcomes his fear and trepidation whenever someone he cares about is in danger, and Charlie really wouldn’t be alive if it wasn’t for him. Blue is utterly selfless, and you don’t find people like that everywhere. Not even in books!
Annabelle is pretty fantastic too. She’s a no-nonsense kind of girl, and can cheer Charlie up no matter what. She’s also very protective of her, especially when it comes to Dante. But I liked that they finally became friends. Same with Dante and Blue – they had a love-hate relationship pretty much throughout the book. They can’t be friends because they both love the same girl, but I liked the fact that they respect one another.

The Collector is just filled with so much awesomeness. V. Scott, I bow down to you as your worthy follower! I needed more Dante as soon as I finished the book, and I honestly cannot wait to read The Liberator later this year. This book had it all – amazing characters, a very original and spellbinding plot, an ass-kicking protagonist and, of course, heart-warming romance! Seriously, EVERYONE should read this book. I demand it. You will fall so hard for Dante, and love Charlie so much! Charlie’s great for Dante, and I can’t wait to see how their relationship develops in The Liberator.

*Thank you to YA Bound for picking me for the 2013 Belongs to Dante blog event and for providing me with an ARC of The Collector for review*

Rating: 5/5

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.

Find Victoria on:

Website | Blog | Twitter | Goodreads | Dante’s Website


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