Friday, April 5, 2013

2013 Belongs to Dante blog event: review & giveaway

Welcome to our stop on the ‘2013 Belongs to Dante’ blog event hosted by YA Bound. Click HERE to see the rest of the blog tour schedule!

The Collector (Dante Walker #1) by Victoria Scott
YA paranormal*Paperback/e-book, 400 pages
Publisher: Entangled Teen (Release Date: April 2nd, 2013)
Buy: Amazon | B&N

Dante Walker is flippin’ awesome, and he knows it. His good looks, killer charm, and stellar confidence has 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 10 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.

Coming in August 2013, Book #2
Add The Liberator to your Goodreads shelf:

About the Author
Victoria Scott

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.

There are books which are so hyped up that after I finish reading them I have to wonder what the fuss*cough cough*marketing was all about because I found the book to be "Meh." Okay, I had to quote Dante simply because he is not easy to forget and for once the hype is correct. 

I really liked and enjoyed The Collector. I haven't been sucked into a story so quickly as I was with this book in some time. Dante has an extremely strong voice from the get-go and as smug and snarky as he is, I couldn't help liking him after awhile. I didn't love him but as his story progressed I totally understood him as he tries to finish his assignment and collect the soul of teen girl Charlie Cooper. 

Kudos to Victoria Scott for giving us a female character in Charlie who is not beautiful in a conventional way. She may be average but her nerdy ways, huge heart and joyful way of looking at life and at things makes her instantly lovable and believable. She is selfless and pure (her charity is wonderful) until Dante convinces her she wants to be striking so he can tighten the noose around her to make her sin--his stamps tagging and darkening her soul light. Despite the temptations, her character retains her unique sense of self with the exception of her wanting to look more desirable to better attract Dante. Charlie is the rainbow to Dante's cocky, corrupt, bad boy ways. These two didn't suffer from insta-love and I appreciated how it took Dante longer to fall for Charlie whereas she was immediately smitten by him. Her best friends, Blue and Anabelle, and their friendship was another strong point in this story I liked.

The concept of stamps and soul lights was very cool. What I really enjoyed about The Collector was how easily I visualized it in my mind as I read. The story reads like a movie, flowing easily from scene to scene. The story itself was well written. Dante's voice was humorous and his use of slang encompassed decades. Many times I had to laugh out loud at his one-liners. He was like a comedian on crack with the sheer amount of humorous commentary. His voice totally drove the story, making him one of the most memorable leading guys of Young Adult books for 2013. And yet, surprisingly, there are tender and poignant moments as well. As he realizes how deeply Charlie is affecting him--those lips, her smile--he regards her differently and doesn't want her to kiss any other guy (like Blue). When he walks through a certain house in Chicago I teared up. Under the layers of this arrogant playboy demon lies the heart of a decent guy. Dante is a multi-faceted character which is revealed during those ten days as he gets closer to Charlie and her best friends.

There were some aspects I'll mention here. I found the way he literally walks into Charlie's house and life implausible. I honestly expected demons to have more powers but I will mention the author convincingly explains why they don't (the Bosses of good and evil didn't want their minions to be too powerful). There were only six Collectors in the entire world. Really, that's it? Even with a fast pace, I found the plot lacking at times. Since Dante was a demon from Hell, I wanted to see more of the paranormal aspect. A quick trip 'home' would have been cool (and not Dante telling me about it). This aspect fell flat for me until the climatic battle at the end where the antagonist suddenly makes an appearance. 

Dante Walker is the James Bond of YA paranormal: hot, a fantastic dresser, funny, a gentleman, smooth talker and he gets the girl. As much as I had figured out the story beforehand, the author snuck in some surprises--some happy, some sad. The cast of characters was also strong and each stood out as individuals, particularly Charlie's friends. The world of collectors and liberators is intriguing and Victoria Scott has a hit series on her hands. I expect to hear of this series being picked up by a film company and I would be one of the first in line to see the movie. Now who would play Dante? I'll get back to you on that. For now, I'm intrigued with the Dante Walker series and await the summer publication of book two, The Liberator

Rating: 4

Cover comment:
I'm not crazy about the cover. The model's okay but it's those grey and black lines remind me of some '60s bad music video which throws me off. How about some flames or some of those soul collecting stamps? That would have elevated this cover and turned my "Whatev" reaction to instant appreciation (yes, I quoted Dante again).

Book source:
I received a promotional copy in return for my honest review.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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