Title: The Collector
Author: Victoria Scott
Publisher: April 2nd 2013 by Entangled Teen
Format: Paperback, 352 pages
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.
Dante has been a Collector for 2 years; he jaunts around town minding his own business, and when he sees someone committing a sin (or just being a jerk), he gives them a “tag,” a black square that sticks on their soul. Once someone’s soul is completely covered in black squares, it can be collected. They continue to live normally, but after their death, they head downstairs. Dante’s tired of having to go back to hell when his collections are done, and this latest mission comes with a nice promotion: a permanent home on earth from which to supervise other Collectors. But his last collection, Charlie, is not making things very easy.
If there’s anything I can say now to sum up my thoughts on this book, allow me to show you the very articulate message I sent the author, Victoria Scott:
The characters were so different! Dante was a cocky, uncaring asshat. He was very confident in his abilities and in his looks. He was good at his job, and he knew that part of it was the effect he had on women. He knew he looked good and he enjoyed spending money to keep himself in the high life. I’m the first to admit I like the sweet boy next door much more than the bad boy, but Dante had my heart from the beginning. I’m not sure why that was, maybe I saw something in him before anyone else did, or maybe because he was so good at being bad. At any rate, I loved him from the get-go.
Charlie was a spectacular person, pretty much the girl we should all be. She was not traditionally pretty, but she was beautiful on the inside. She was kind, thoughtful and selfless. Even when someone made fun of or bullied her, she still managed to be happy at something as simple as the weather. The secondary characters were just as entertaining; Charlie’s 2 besties and Dante’s fellow Collector bestie, who was almost as arrogant as Dante.
A lot of times in the bad boy/good girl type of stories, you don’t often get the bad boy point of view, so I loved getting Dante’s POV as he changed from an egotistical self-centered badass into something else. It took him a while to understand what was going on, and he fought it mightily, which only made me like him even more. And Charlie was content with being his friend. There was no flirting or insta-love.
I loved lots of little things: the dialogue, the way Dante always said what he was thinking, the way Charlie always managed to see the bright side of things, the way Max stood by Dante and even seemed to look up to him, Blue’s (not so) secret love for Charlie, the incredibly slow way Dante figured out what was happening, Valery’s no-nonsense approach… All of it added up to one big ball of amazing entertainment.
The story started out with a bang, as we’re introduced to arrogant Dante, then Scott’s writing just drew me in and kept me hanging on until the end. There was a touch of religious talk, but it wasn’t overwhelming. There was a bit of mystery, as Dante wondered what was so important about Charlie, why his boss wanted the soul so badly. Will he manage to collect her soul? Will Blue finally tell Charlie how he feels? There wasn’t any sex, but there was passion and romance. And also, lots of cussing. Definitely not a book for the kids (though there were a few nice life lessons hidden in there).
If you like your bad boys very bad, this book is for you. And, this is probably only the third time this has ever happened, even though I’ve already read the eARC, I will also be purchasing the paperback copy. I need Dante on my bookshelf.