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The Collector - Victoria Scott Yay! Dante Walker just satisfied my craving for another douchey male narrator. I mean, THIS:
My eyes widen at the sight of her. This is the girl Boss Man is after? She looks like a porcelain doll...beat three times with an ugly stick.

I’m really not a mean person. But come on, isn’t it fun to live the life of a mean girl (or boy) vicariously through a fictional character?

Dante Walker is a Collector. Basically, Collectors are like parking enforcers who give tickets to the misbehaving motorists. In their case, they give out seals instead of tickets. These seals are differently coloured mini-rectangles that latch on to a person’s soul. They come from being bad, so the person who does more bad stuff gets more seals. And once those seals encompass their entire soul, they are ready for collection and it’s the Collectors such as Dante who take those souls to Boss Man, otherwise known as the leader of hell. There’s a treaty between Boss Man and Big Guy (yep, the Big Guy upstairs) however, and that means they can’t hurt physically hurt a human.

There are six Collectors out there, Dante being the best among them, or so he says. Technically, they’re all dead, but with the aid of a prison-like cuff attached to their ankles, they’re able to go back and forth between the underworld and the land of the living. This cuff also gives them the ability to be invisible when they want to. Presently, Dante is the Boss Man’s right-hand guy. He trains the newbies and collects more souls than any other Collector. Presently, he’s one assignment away from getting promoted as Soul Director and permanently planting his ass on Earth. This assignment is Charlie.

Charlie is a seventeen-year-old girl who is just overflowing with social awkwardness. She’s not what one would call a universal beauty, what with her frizzy hair, gapped teeth, spotty skin and slight limp. She’s also somewhat of a social outcast in school but has great friends in the form of Annabelle and Blue. Dante has ten days to complete his task but collecting her soul appears to be more challenging than he thought. You see, Charlie is practically a saint. And so Operation Corrupt Charlie ensues.

Hmm... I’m giving this book a 3.5 rating (rounding up to 4) due to finding some parts 5-star worthy and other parts just okay, hence, 2 stars. Obviously, I gotta hand the 5 stars to Dante and his awesomeness. I think it’s pretty challenging to create a teenage boy with all that humor and snark and cynicism and come across convincing instead of eye-roll-inducing. I was relieved that he didn’t succumb to sappiness and high levels of melodrama once his inner conflict surfaced *ahem Jace Wayland ahem* Truthfully, I enjoyed the first half of the book more than the latter, primarily because of Dante’s egotism and his amusing habit of scoffing at practically everyone. He is confident, self-absorbed, tactless, and quite shallow, to be honest. However, there is a lot more good to him than he cares to admit. I thought it was funny how he tried to get the three friends to go wild and sin freely while in Vegas but ended up looking after them. And Dante as a narrator? Flawless. He sounds exactly like a teenage boy.
My mother. She may not be the world’s best, but she’s mine, damn it. And I love her something fierce.

What I found lacking in the story were two things: 1. Charlie as a love interest. Maybe this is just the jealousy talking but I didn’t like her for Dante! As a person, she’s great! I especially loved Charlie 1.0. I love it when an author is able to realistically convey the awkwardness and the longing-to-belong-feeling through social events such as high school parties and daily interaction with the in-crowd. I wished that there was a way that she could’ve physically remained the same, yet gained confidence in the end. Charlie 2.0 disappointed me, especially the way she reacted after finding out that she had to be on the run with Dante. Why was she so easily agreeable? Why was she not angry enough? And why the self-blame? I would have wanted to wack Dante in the head after he tells me that I can no longer proceed with my life as I wanted. I just couldn’t feel the love between them, especially when Dante was initially a Mr. Miyagi to Charlie. It was just... weird. Hopefully she grows some spunk and attitude in book 2.

2.Charlie’s role in the eradication hate, jealousy and selfishness. I just can’t grasp the magnitude of this idea! Plus, all it takes are a few vanity-wishes in exchange for one’s soul upon signing the soul contract? I would think that the qualifications call for something graver. Oh well. Maybe that’s how soul contracts are.

Lastly, I found the ending to be a little lackluster. Blue’s death seemed so trivial! I thought that was just unnecessary. I’m saddened by this turn of events :( I still liked the book in its entirety. I’m hoping that Dante doesn’t lose his snarkiness and badassness by being a Liberator.