Victoria Scott reinvents the bad boy in The Collector as a paranormal soul collector whose arrogance and swag have helped him become Satan’s #1 guy.
I know it’s irrelevant, but whenever a new “heaven vs hell” type book comes out, I always think of this (because my life revolves around Office quotes):
Book Review: The Collector by Victoria Scott
Title & Author: The Collector (Dante Walker) by Victoria Scott
Genre: YA – Paranormal, Angels/Demons
Release Date: April 2, 2013
Series: #1 in Dante Walker series
Publisher: Entangled Teen
How I Got the Book: ARC via NetGalley
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.”
Making Good Girls Go Bad
Although I definitely enjoyed reading The Collector it had a few problems. Mainly in the form of obnoxious characters and inconsistent messages. Let’s talk about the good things first.
What The Collector has going for it is the un-put-down-able-ness. (I can’t think of a better word, so I’ll use this long one instead). I started reading and didn’t want to stop. The pace of “omg, what’s going to happen NEXT” was magnetic.
Dante is a human-turned-demon after he lived a terribly selfish life and ended up in hell working for the Devil, aka “Boss Man.” He’s on a special assignment to roam Earth and mark people’s souls with “seals” when they’ve sinned and collect people for hell when seals have completely covered the light of their soul.
Dante is that hot guy in high school know who knows how good looking he is and doesn’t mind tossing around a sly grin to get any girl he wants. The Collector is told from his perspective and was interesting because of his extreme confidence yet was painful to read at times because of his super-amed ego and cockiness.
It’s like if a young Donald Trump wrote an autobiography. Although I found Dante to be extremely annoying at times with his I’m-so-awesome attitude, I could appreciate how he got that way and how it fit in with the overall story.
The real problems came in whenever there was dialogue. Call me out of touch, call me old (I swear I’m not that old yet), but do kids really talk this way?! I can understand the occasional “whatev” and other now-current lingo, but sometimes how Dante, Charlie and Charlie’s friends talked just seemed too forced. Like, “Hey, this is for realz how teens talk, ok? Believe us!”
I think I’m more sensitive to this than most though. I can’t take too much cheesiness when it comes to book conversations.
The other thing that bugged me about The Collector was how “sin” (the reason to add a seal to a soul) was inconsistent. Dante’s assignment is to try to add as many seals to Charlie’s soul as he can and get her “bagged and tagged” for hell. He’s not sure exactly why…but he just follows what the Boss Man tells him to do.
The problem is the reasoning behind getting to seal or not getting to seal her don’t make sense. For example, Dante convinces Charlie to steal something from a store. He gets to place a seal on her soul for that sin. But, at a party where Charlie is underage and drinks alcohol and GETS DRUNK, she gets away seal-free. His goal in helping her get drunk is that THEN she’ll make a bad decision.
Whether you’re morally conservative or not, if we’re basing “sin” on a set of principles presumably set out by God (which, to be fair, is not clearly referenced in the book), then stealing and drinking too much to the point of drunkenness are the same, aka sin, and are therefore seal-worthy. Sorry, Charlie.
Although I did talk about the things that rubbed me the wrong way in the book, don’t let me confuse you: this is a highly-interesting, addicting read. It’ll go by fast and go down smooth. Despite my issues with inconsistent “sin” logic and a little cheese in the conversation, I did really enjoy The Collector.