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A Reader of Fictions: Sadie Hawkins Sunday Review #11: The Collector

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Sadie Hawkins Sunday Review #11: The Collector

The Collector
Dante Walker, Book 1

Author: Victoria Scott
Pages: 352
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Source: Gifted - Thanks Steph!
Recommended by: the ever-amazing Steph of Cuddlebuggery

Description from 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.

In this breathtaking conclusion to Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden trilogy, everything Rhine knows to be true will be irrevocably shattered.

First Sentence: "I'm in a slump, off my game, throwing up bricks, swinging and missing."

Before I get to the book, check that sassy banner of awesomeness up there. Many thanks to Giselle of Xpresso Reads, Book Tours, and Design!

Listen, I won't lie to you guys. I full expected to hate this book. I mean, that cover and the description. Those things do not scream "CHRISTINA WILL LOVE THIS," and, in fact, generally send me screaming in the opposite direction. However, Steph put this in the Sadie Hawkins list, and even generously purchased a copy for me, so I went into it with as open a mind as possible. Well, surprise! The Collector actually turned out to be a highly entertaining read, full of humor and a unique protagonist.

Okay, so Dante is just as much of an ass as he comes off from the description and the cover. Since I hate cocky guys, I expected to want to kick him in the balls all the way through the book, but he really wasn't as bad as I was expecting. He's a cocky jerk, but really no worse than your average pampered, neglected teen. What's cool about his perspective is that Scott takes a risk with him as a narrator. If Charlie narrated this, The Collector would be a standard formula paranormal romance and Dante would appear a nicer guy overall.

See, I feel like Dante's just like a lot of the paranormal heroes in YA, only we have unrestricted access to his thought processes, not all of which are pleasant. He judges women on their appearance, often using derogatory terms like fugly. He also thinks shit like this: "If Charlie doesn't dig my get up, I'll expose her for what she is: asexual." The latter does keep me from ever really rooting for him. On the other hand, I don't completely hate him, because most of what he says and does is polite, even defending Charlie's looks to a rude salesperson, early on enough in the book that it's not because he's matured yet. If you're really in someone's head, you're going to see a lot of non-flattering thoughts, so if you judge Dante on his actions more than his thoughts, yeah, he's still not a great guy, but he's redeemable. This seems more realistic than the mysterious hot new guy finding all of a girl's flaws adorable right from the get go. For the record, though, I don't think he's hot and would never want him to be my book boyfriend.

The best aspect of The Collector is Victoria Scott's talent for humor. A lot of lines made me smile or snort. The tone of The Collector stays pretty light and the book doesn't take itself too seriously, which is another way Scott's novel distinguishes itself from the bulk of paranormal romance offerings.There's an element of tongue-in-cheek to Dante, in which he exaggerates his own personality to make fun of himself and lighten a tense moment. He's not always entirely serious when he says outlandish things, just mostly serious.

Though predictable, I also really appreciated the way Dante learned from Charlie's friend group. She has two best friends, Annabelle and Blue. They let Dante into their group pretty readily, after making sure he knows they'll defend Charlie with everything they've got. The moments where the three of them just hang out together are brilliant, and I especially loved the tentative friendship between Blue and Dante, despite their rivalry for Charlie's affections.

Where The Collector lost me somewhat was everything about Dante's relationship with Charlie. Thought I don't hate Dante, I still don't think they make a good couple, and shipped her more with Blue. The fact that their relationship is forced into such a short time frame only exacerbated my disinclination towards their relationship. Instalove is a huge turn off, especially when I already wasn't digging them as a couple. Sure, Dante didn't like her at first, but Charlie claims to have loved him from the start and falling love in less than ten days is still instalove to me anyway. While I did buy some of Dante's emotional arc, I never felt sold on his feelings for Charlie and they definitely came on too strong and too fast. It's also pretty questionable that they came on stronger in proportion to her attractiveness.

If you're a fan of humorous paranormal romance, you will most assuredly want to seek out The Collector. Though The Collector was not a perfect read for me, I am curious enough to pick up the next installment in the Dante Walker series, The Liberator, if I can get my hands on it.

Rating: 3/5

Favorite Quote: "Ah, our touching love-hate relationship strikes again. Tear."

Up Next:
The next Sadie Hawkins Sunday book will be Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson, which was suggested by Dragana of Bookworm Dreams. So excited for this one, because I have heard only awesome things, and I've enjoyed the other two Sanderson books I've read!

Want to tell me what to read? Fill out the following form with a suggestion! For more details, check this post.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

You and I pretty much felt the same way about this one, eh. I agree that it made The Collector so much different to have it narrated from the perspective of a seriously arrogant protagonist. I disliked Dante throughout most of the book and felt that his relationship (and his road toward becoming "good") escalated too quickly! Definitely looking forward to the sequel as well.

May 5, 2013 at 10:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Loving the new banner, btw!

May 5, 2013 at 10:07 AM  
Blogger Angie F said...

I'm reading this one now, and my first thought was "Wow, this guy is an asshole!" but I love it so far! I definitely agree that I wouldn't want him as a book boyfriend, but he is highly entertaining as a narrator. :D

Angie @ Pinkindle Reads & Reviews

May 5, 2013 at 11:01 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Yeah, I really liked the honesty of the perspective, even if Dante is a bit of an ass. With a slower progression this could have been super duper excellent, but it was fun either way.

I love it too!

May 5, 2013 at 11:16 AM  
Blogger Danielle said...

I loved Charlie in this, she was the star, I was kind of gutted that she didn't change back tho, I kinda wanted the whole "inner beauty will prevail" message to come through which it did to a certain extent but I wanted more which probs would have happened if the relationship hadn't been pushed into such a short time frame. I fully expected to hate this and eyeroll my way through it so was pleasantly surprised that I ended up enjoying it!

May 5, 2013 at 12:15 PM  
Blogger Kimberly @ On the Wings of Books said...

When I saw you were reading this I was more than a little surprsied but I'm so glad you ended up liking it! This is one of those on the fence books for me but the fact that it is humourous paranormal is a point in its favor.

Love the new banner!

May 5, 2013 at 2:10 PM  
Blogger Maja (The Nocturnal Library) said...

A great sense of humor tends to put me in a VERY forgiving mood, so I guess a few flaws here and there won't bother me too much. I've come to expect predictability.
I've had this book for a while now, but I also had this strong feeling that i wouldn't like it. Now I'm ready to admit my feelings aren't always right.
I'll be meeting Dante very soon.

May 5, 2013 at 2:12 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Yeah, I agree. He's definitely a bit of a jerk, but he at least seems like a real person.

May 5, 2013 at 9:35 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Yeah, I kept hoping she would change back, because that seems very shallow that she stays. Maybe she'll be able to wish her way back later in the series?

May 5, 2013 at 9:57 PM  
Blogger KM said...

Awww yay! I'm glad you liked this one more than you thought you would! I feel like you and Steph tend to agree on a lot of things, but she seems to tolerate the cocky guys better than you sometimes (a la Daemon Black). I thought about reading this one because it sounded funny, but I'm just not really drawn to it on blurb alone, even if it IS amusing.

May 5, 2013 at 10:06 PM  
Blogger Eileen said...

Fantastic review, Christina! I've been hearing mixed things about this one; on one hand some people LOVEEE Dante and his attitude and on the other hand people hate it so I'm glad that you didn't hate him, but I'm sorry you didn't really enjoy his character rather than just felt neutral. (I fell like that sentence made no sense) however, the humor sounds hilarious and I love a truly funny book! But I still think I'm going to have to give this one up because of the aspect of insta-love that you described and the predictability of the plot. They're the two things I hate the most!

I'm glad you still liked this one though :)

May 5, 2013 at 10:13 PM  
Blogger Jaz said...

Nice review! You pointed out some things I never really noticed - like the instalove, I never really saw it as that. I think I was divided on the issue as the book was spread out over 10 days so I didn't really feel it was that short, and that their relationship had really developed. On the other hand, seeing the number 10 really makes it insta-love aye?

Still, I absolutely loved this book. I've never read anything like it. I'll be reviewing it soon :D mine will be quite different to yours hehe <3

May 6, 2013 at 9:25 AM  
Blogger Scott Pilgrim said...

I have heard alot of positive things about this book. I don't think this is the book for a guy like me! Thanks for the review.
-Scott Reads It

May 7, 2013 at 2:07 PM  
Blogger Renae M. said...

So even though I couldn’t finish this, I totally love what you said about this just being a look inside your typical paranormal love interest’s brain—it’s SO TRUE. Agh, just, perfect thought process, let my love you. Of course, since I’ve never ever liked a paranormal love interest even without being subjected to his inner thinkings, this book was just douchebag overload for me. But. I freaking love what you said here. *huggles review*

May 7, 2013 at 6:17 PM  
Blogger Kayla Beck said...

I love your banner. And you make me feel better about having bought the book.

That is all. :-)

May 7, 2013 at 7:10 PM  
Blogger Molli Moran said...

I MIGHT give this one a try someday, but jeeeeez. The cover/synopsis makes Dante out to be SUCH a d-bag, and I just don't think I could really care for or cheer for a character like that. So I'm still circling it. But I will admit to be very curious about it being from his POV, and wondering if it might be a refreshing change.

May 9, 2013 at 1:56 PM  

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