Before we get started on the actual review, I have something to say. First, this is the first book in a while that has actually inspired me to sit down and write and it’s obviously for all the wrong reasons. However, I have already tried writing a positive review to renew my review-writing passions and it didn’t work, so maybe it’s time to try the opposite. That being said, THIS REVIEW WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS. Also, given the one-star rating, it should be apparent that I did not enjoy this book, but in case there is any doubt, I didn’t, so this isn’t going to be me being positive about how you could like it. This is going to be me being real about how I felt. Victoria, if you ever stumble upon this, don’t read it. Seriously, just skip it. I love you and I loved Fire & Flood, but Dante Walker just rubbed me the wrong way.
Summary from GoodReads:
War between heaven and hell is coming, but Dante Walker makes it look damn good.
Dante’s girlfriend, Charlie, is fated to save the world. And Aspen, the girl who feels like a sister, is an ordained soldier. In order to help both fulfill their destiny and win the war, Dante must complete liberator training at the Hive, rescue Aspen from hell, and uncover a message hidden on an ancient scroll.
Dante is built for battle, but even he can’t handle the nightmares where spiders crawl from Aspen’s eyes, or the look on Charlie’s face that foretells of devastation. To make matters worse, the enemy seizes every opportunity to break inside the Hive and cripple the liberators. But the day of reckoning is fast approaching, and to stand victorious, Dante will have to embrace something inside himself he never has before—faith.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane, shall we? Back at the beginning of 2013, there was a book that was EVERYWHERE on the blogosphere. It was getting so much love and people were ecstatic over the Daemon Black-esque character that had emerged in YA. The Collector by Victoria Scott was all anyone could talk about. Dante Walker was the new badass that absolutely everyone as in love with. So when I saw it up on NetGalley, I knew I had to read it. I got approved and started reading it immediately. I am always in need of more Daemon Black style awesome, ALWAYS. But I quickly realized that Dante Walker was nothing like my dear Daemon. Dante Walker got on my nerves. Dante Walker was a jackass. I couldn’t really understand the appeal, but I kept reading. I have a difficult time DNF-ing books, so I pushed through. I ended up enjoying it enough to give it 4 stars. I never did understand the magical Dante Walker appeal, but to each his own. I should have stopped there and left well enough alone, but I like to think that authors expound on what I like and get rid of what I don’t further down in the series. So I read book 2….and I don’t love it. What irked me about Dante in the first book just gets worse in it. He’s cocky and mean and immature. He is supposed to be a demon from hell and yet the boy uses no swear words. He uses the fill-in, politically correct versions. Nothing can kill my love quicker. He has no redeeming qualities to me. Then I see book 3 is up for review and think “well, maybe this will be a big finale and things will be better” and I get it. Judging by the fact that it took me over a year to get around to start reading it and over a month to complete it, you can guess how that went. So, here are my thoughts!
As I said, Dante Walker is not the character for me. Everything the guy did just had me rolling my eyes at his antics. I didn’t find him endearing or amusing and I had enough of his shit pretty early on in book 1, so you can imagine how annoyed I was with him by the end of book 3. The boy just doesn’t know when to quit. He just keeps on and on like a moron.
The rest of the cast isn’t much better. Charlie is too much of a goodie-goodie for me to really love and the remaining liberators and collectors are all respective jackasses. And most of the die, so don’t get attached. Max, one of the few characters I enjoyed dies. Of course, Dante, Charlie, and Aspen come through fine…ish. Annabelle doesn’t die, but I found her survival unbelievable. During the epic end battle, she is apparently pregnant (WHEN THE FUCK DID THAT HAPPEN?!?!?) and she gets stabbed in the stomach, but somehow both her and baby survive.
I’m sorry, but you get gutted and YOU are lucky to survive. There is no way in hell that the fetus in your womb comes out unharmed as well. I’m sorry, I know this is a fantasy type thing, but I call BULLSHIT.
I think, beyond Dante being annoying, that was my biggest problem here. It all felt like bullshit. You are going to war with the collectors on the fate of Earth. Either the Collectors win and demons are set free to torment human kind or you win and it starts the Trelevator, a hundred years of peace. So the collectors have a massive army of sirens and quite a few collectors on their side. You have less than 50 people and over half of them are humans who have only had a few days worth of fighting training?
You expect to win like that? I knew from the moment the war really started that I’d have a hard time buying into them winning. And the way they win was very dues ex machina. Dante just asks for help and God gives it. Simple as that. I’m not the religious type to begin with so I have many a problem with that scenario, but on a strictly fictional level, couldn’t you think of anything better? You back Dante into a corner and then BOOM, God empowers him and he wins the thing? LAME.
Dante also just seemed too involved in EVERYTHING. I get it, okay? He is the golden boy. Even though Charlie is supposed to be the savoir, it’s played out a lot like he is a bit as well, because nothing happens without a little of Dante’s input. There is unlocking the scroll and creating a battle plan and recruiting Lincoln and training and actually interpreting the scroll and a million other tiny things. Are there not a bunch of other people involved? Can we not let them take on some of the workload? If Dante is a star player, we don’t want him exhausted before the big battle do we?
Another little thing? If you are going to shorten someones name into a nickname, can we please be consistent and use the same spelling? Don’t shorten Kraven into Crave please. At least make it Krave. There is no reason to change that consonant because they make the same sound.
Basically, this got on my nerves…a lot. In order to complete it, I had to read it in small bursts of a chapter or two at a time because that is all of Dante’s nonsense I could take in one sitting. I did want to see how it all wrap up, but it was so unbelievable for me that I find myself to be wholly unsatisfied. My advice to you? Go with your gut feeling on this. If you really enjoyed both The Collector and The Liberator, then you’ll enjoy this as well. If either of those annoyed you at all? Steer clear, because this will too.
****Thank you to Entangled Teen for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****