Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Collector (Dante Walker #1) by Victoria Scott

The Collector (Dante Walker, #1)
The Collector by Victoria Scott
352 pages of hilarity (and a lot of nicknames)
Rating: 4/5 
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. (via Goodreads)

I first heard of this book months before it actually came out, so my expectations for it grew rapidly as the release date came closer. By the time I actually cracked the spine, I was expecting something wonderful enough to rival the complete works of Edgar Allen Poe (but that's a lie, because nothing beats my man, Poe). It wasn't fair of me to do this, but honestly, just read the summary on the back. It sounds like the fantasies of any nerdy girl out there come true.

The Collector had one of the most unique voices that I've read before. Usually, a first person story is told in a formal, light, and occasionally witty tone. This was Dante's straight thoughts, no holding back whatsoever. He'll insult, make references to anything and everything (including Voldemort, so bonus!), and act like a huge dick while he's at it. My hopes plummeted. How was this supposed to fulfill all my girlish book fantasies? I sat in my room, discussing the book with myself out loud - as I so often do - and while Me #1 flipped tables over the mindlessness of prose, impracticality of the plot, vanity of the characters, and all the selfishness, Me #2 argued, "But it was fun!" As a rule, I always make sure that Me #2 has the winning argument.

Dante was a douche in the beginning and I'm not sure how I feel about it. You'd expect me to say that it's obviously not a good thing, but his character was built so well! On a scale of villain to unfriendly stranger, I'd say Dante started out at around super-colossal-mammoth-sized asshole. I'm not completely sure how or when it happened, but within the ten days that he tried to change Charlie, he went from being this super-colossal-mammoth-sized asshole to a just your average, lovable, sexy jerk. I enjoyed reading how Victoria Scott managed to make those few short days feel like sufficient gradual change.
Charlie was...not what I expected. I hate to say bad things about myself because I am literally without flaws, but I was being really superficial in the beginning, and I don't think I'm the only reader who did that. Dante's first description of Charlie was that she was "hit with the ugly stick three times" and she was really irritating, so I didn't like her because of those little things. Then, when she started asking for beauty after selling her soul, I actually missed the things that I didn't like in the beginning. I thought she would look better had she not changed herself. It was like Dante was projecting his emotions to me, because he felt the same way in the book. I'm not sure if this projection was the author's intention, but I was really impressed by it.

The prose was a little too easy to read. I guess it's supposed to be simpler since they're the exact thoughts of the main character, but I found it annoying at times. Throughout much of The Collector, I started to miss those random boring paragraphs that each book has. Instead, I got constant descriptors like "Smurf-blue", and endless nicknames. Nicknames everywhere. It was a nickname minefield. One second you think you're clear of new ones, and POW! There's another right around the corner.

When Charlie and Dante got together, I couldn't help but think how improbable it was. See, Dante fell in love with Charlie's life before he actually fell in love with her (this is how I saw it, at least). And then everything seemed to fall into place for them, as if it were inevitable, anyway. I thought they were incredibly sweet together by the end, though, and even Charlie stopped being as irksome as she was before. However, seeing as Dante was so head over heels for the girl, he might have sugarcoated her a bit in the later chapters.

The plot reminded me a lot of Personal Demons (it's in the favorite series bar on the right, if you're curious), but it was executed in a much different way. Probably better. I was pleased with the difference. There was nary a moment that wasn't completely action-packed or filled with some sort of drama. It's one of those books that are so fast-paced that you forget that you don't have all day to sit down and finish it, so you just read, never mind the time or place. A word of advice, don't be like me, because I read this hardcore. Maybe too hardcore. Books like these affect my sleeping patterns.

I'm a crier. Once you get me going, it's like I force myself to think of all the other sad things ever. This book made me cry. Not a huge storm or anything - it just progressed from slightly wet to a light drizzle. Dante's got some pretty depressing things going on in his life and he blames himself it. Plus, he's dead, so that can put a pretty strong damper on your mood, though he doesn't seem bothered by it at first. I'm surprised that I teared up though, despite my annoyingly overactive tear ducts, because the prose was so carefree. It usually has to be a sad, dramatic, intense moment for that to happen.

So did The Collector make my Everest-sized expectation? Not quite, but I did have the my butt entertained right off. I would definitely recommend this book to other people, mostly because I want to see if they noticed their feelings for Charlie change at the same rate as Dante's. I probably would read the sequel, but it's not very high on my book priorities at this point. I'm satisfied where the first book ended.

Rating: 4/5

3 comments:

  1. Wonderful review, and I love the little timeline you have :) had me laughing.

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  2. Great review! I do not really like absolute jerks as protagonists so I do not know whether I'm going to read this or not..

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  3. I have wanted to read this book for a long time, but did not know if it was me. But now I will pick it up

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