Reviewed by: Jo
Rating (out of 5): 4 stars
Hands up if you like a bad boy. Well they don’t come much badder than Dante Walker. The Big Guy downstairs has six Collectors, damned souls that walk the earth leaving his stamp on the soul of any living person that sins in a big way, and Dante’s the best of them all. Now he’s got the biggest opportunity of his afterlife, the chance to be the big guy’s right-hand man and earn a permanent ticket out of Hell.
All he has to go is collect one soul. He has 10 days to make sure that the light of 17-year-old Charlie’s soul is covered in sin stamps, ensuring that when she dies her soul is heading one way. Piece of cake.
Dante’s never been interested in the why or the how, but as he gets to know Charlie he starts to question just why her soul is so special. What’s more, the longer he spends with her, the more he starts to question the entire Collecting gig. Dante’s got his eye on the prize though and is determined to do the job he was given.
I’ve haven’t read many YA series where the main characters is a guy, although I know this is something that is rising in popularity, and I have to say I really enjoyed following Dante as a character. There are two types of bad boy (okay possibly more, but I’m sticking with two for this): the silent broody ones and the arrogant snarky ones. Dante is definitely the latter. He’s got a line for everything, he’s not shy about talking himself up and he’s got some serious swagger. At the beginning of The Collector this front is what you see of Dante, but once he starts his mission to corrupt Charlie, layer upon layer is peeled back until this becomes a story of redemption.
I loved that Charlie wasn’t the geeky girl that when-you-remove-her-glasses-and-a-ponytail-she-becomes-super-hot. She lanky and awkward with terrible hair and bad teeth. Basically I loved the fact that she was real. She’s sweet, naive and looks like an easy target to Dante, but his arrogance causes him to underestimate her. Both these main characters go through huge changes, making epically bad choices but ultimately help each other find a part of themselves they thought was lost.
This isn’t just a story featuring the two main characters though. There is colorful supporting cast, from Charlie’s friends and grandmother to Dante’s fellow Collectors and others that step in to make this an engaging world. It took me awhile to fully understand the ins and outs of the seals (or stamps), but once I got there I loved the idea. The mystery of why Charlie, as well as other plot threads builds nicely throughout.
Interesting world building, colorful characters and a fair amount of action come together to make this a great read, but what ultimately got me to read this is in one sitting was Dante. The character arc his goes through is profound as his worldview begins to change. He goes for selfless to noble, and does this with just the right amount of sarcasm. He kinda reminded me of a YA guy version of Richelle Mead’s Georgina Kincaid… If you can imagine that.
Sexual content: Kissing, references to sex