Review for The Warrior (Dante Walker #3) by Victoria Scott

The Warrior by Victoria Scott

TITLE: The Warrior
SERIES: Dante Walker #3
AUTHOR: Victoria Scott
PUBLISHER: Entangled Teen
PAGES: 352 pages
FORMAT: E-ARC / Paperback
SOURCE: NetGalley / Purchased
RATING: 1 bow

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.
Suits WHAT gif
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?
Veronica Mars headtilt gif
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****

1 bow
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Review for Salt & Stone (Fire & Flood #2) by Victoria Scott

Salt & Stone by Victoria Scott

TITLE: Salt & Stone
SERIES: Fire & Flood #2
AUTHOR: Victoria Scott
PUBLICATION DATE: February 24, 2015
PUBLISHER: Scholastic Press
PAGES: 320 pages
SOURCE: Publisher
RATING: 3 bow

Tella Holloway has become much stronger than she was at the start of the Brimstone Bleed. A trek through a jungle and across a desert will do that to you. Now, as she prepares to go into the second half of this deadly race to save her brother, she wonders if she is really strong enough to make it through. Can she really defeat all these people? Can she, a girl who spent her life in search of the perfect dress and cup of coffee, really go head to head with a group of adults and really come out victorious? And could she have survived the first half without Guy’s help? This second installment of the Fire & Flood series comes with just as much peril and self-doubt, but an altogether stronger Tella. Let’s see if she can haul ass and save her brother’s life.

It’s been a while since I read Fire & Flood, so my love for Tella had to be made over. I remember loving her sassiness in F&F as well as her pandora, but I didn’t quite remember her exactly as she is. At the beginning of this, I was annoyed at her. She keeps trying to step out from underneath Guy’s shadow and lead the group and that isn’t what I wanted to see. I wanted to see her follow Guy’s lead and maybe watch a few hidden make-out scenes. Every time she went against him, I wanted to smack her. And then she learns that he doesn’t believe she can stand on her own, that he isn’t sure she could have made it this far without him, and she’s is devastated…and more determined than ever to stand on her own two feet. During that whole speech, I was a little conflicted. I mean, on the one hand, you kinda have to agree with him. She doesn’t know how to survive on the land and may well have starved or died of dehydration without him. On the other, that is a harsh thing to admit and Tella is always stronger than anyone gives her credit for. Then, she starts making smarter decision and slowly earns everyone’s respect and I was finally okay with her stepping out. But it wasn’t an immediately response. The thing that always won me over from moment one was her love for her Pandora and that is amplified here. She reaches out to all the Pandoras and does what she can to protect them as they would her.

Despite his harsh words and general unwillingness to talk, I still love Guy. He’s constantly doing whatever he can to keep Tella safe, even when Tella doesn’t want him to risk his neck for her. Even if his actions are misguided, he still shows a great deal of care for Tella’s well being and it’s obvious that he cares for her, even if he can’t bring himself to say the words.

One of the things I applauded Scott for in my review of Fire & Flood was the novel’s brutality. This is no different than that. While I still applaud Scott for not holding back, it still broke my heart in many ways…as I’m sure it broke hers. We get more character death here and that’s harder to take because I’ve become even more attached to them by now. You all know I’m not a fan of character death. While I am aware that at story of this caliber requires character death (because it’s preposterous to believe they can all make this deadly trek without casualties), that doesn’t make it any easier for me to read. Besides the character death, the Pandora deaths are what really brought me down to a sob-worthy level. Just to be clear, I don’t want novels to make me sob. I respect that it takes a certain skill to bring your readers to such a state where they feel the need to shed real-world tears over a fictional event, but that is not what I seek when I look for a new novel. ANYWAY, by the time you reach the end of this, you know where it’s going Pandora-wise. We’ve really all felt it heading this way since the first introduction of the companions, but we were just hoping we were wrong, that Scott would find another way to devastate us. Trust you’re instincts on this because that is exactly where it’s going and you were spot on. And it’s heartbreaking. Devastating doesn’t seem a strong enough word. I won’t say more than that and the fact that it broke me.

Beyond the character death and the brutality, this novel is spectacular. I was able to continue reading it and enjoying it despite my issues and that’s saying something. The writing and plot blew me away, just like they did in the first novel. This is so very different than Scott’s Dante Walker series and I really liked that. It’s a very intense little book. I was one I could never binge read because it’s too potent. That is, until the last 100 pages when I didn’t care if my brain melted because I had to know what happened next. Does Tella win? DOES SHE? I’m not telling! But I’m excited about what comes next. Though this ends on a cliffhanger (is anyone really surprised by that?), I’m excited to see how the group works to take down this crazy company that is killing people for sport.

The low rating here is mostly due to character and animal death. I can be forgiving at times and I know some think it’s unfair to rate a book I enjoyed 3 stars because it’s a mediocre rating, but that’s just how it works for me. Animal death is something to grabs me more than character death. That’s my real-world personality showing through because I’m a big animal lover and I don’t like the thought of them being abused. Beyond that, this is a great follow-up to Fire & Flood. If you enjoyed that, you’ll love this. Just, you know, be prepared because no one is safe and everything can change in the blink of an eye.

****Thank you to Scholastic Press for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review****

3 bows
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Review for The Liberator (Dante Walker #2) by Victoria Scott

The Liberator by Victoria Scott

TITLE: The Liberator
SERIES: Dante Walker #2
AUTHOR: Victoria Scott
PUBLICATION DATE: August 27, 2013
PUBLISHER: Entangled Teen
PAGES: 331 pages
SOURCE: Purchased
RATING: 3 bows

Dante Walker has officially jumped sides. He is no longer a badass collector of souls for Lucifer. Instead, he liberates souls for God. He’s first assignment? Liberate Aspen’s soul. Aspen is exactly like he was before he jump sides and it is hard to fight the desire to lapse into his old ways of partying and sinning. He has to stay strong because if he fails this assignment, he’ll have to say good-bye to his liberator cuff and Charlie AKA the love of his life. Can he keep his cool or will he blow his chances to stay on Team Heaven?

Dante is still a character that irritates me. Actually Dante may irritate me more here than he did in The Collector. Everything about him bugs me. As a Collector, I kept hoping I would see him actually be the “man” he claimed to be. You know, the bad guy? Swearing and being a general jackass. Once he became a Liberator, I knew that wouldn’t happen. Call me crazy, but I hate censored swearing. When something happens, all the real words help and anything else sounds stupid. Either commit or don’t do it at all. I obviously curse like a fucking sailor and I hate moments when I have to reel that in for work or other reasons. I like colorful language and, in the end, they are just words. Either way, Dante drove me up a damn wall. He’s so fucking cocky and annoying and I really began to hate him here.

Charlie wasn’t much better. She goes all stupid in the beginning, doing things that are so far out of character that I had a very difficult time believing she would do them. Charlie is the “good girl” and that mentality is ingrained. It’s not something that you can just shrug off. I was never a huge Charlie fan, but I liked her well enough in The Collector and I wanted that to continue here.

Then we have Aspen, the soul Dante is meant to Liberate. I don’t have an opinion on her. I don’t feel like we know enough about her by the end to really form an opinion. All we get is what Dante sees and thinks and I feel like there is much much more to her than that. She is hiding things and I wanted to slap her and tell her to let go. She also jumps onto the Charlie bandwagon very quickly in my opinion. Chick is basically a heathen. She shows no religious affiliations, but I’m supposed to believe that she just trusts Dante enough to believe his and Charlie’s story and the existence of deities? Okay, this may have been more a problem for me and my atheist ways than the average reader, but I felt like she needed more convincing.

The whole God/Devil thing is actually a bit difficult for me. The fact that Dante rarely ever calls them by their names, instead referring to God as Big Guy and Lucifer as Lucille, drove me fucking nuts. Dude, you are agent of God now, at least say his damn name properly. I’ve read angel and demon books before and I have no problems with them, so I can’t say exactly why this irritated me, but it did. Dante also plays that whole tortured, I don’t deserve to be saved because I’m a “bad” guy card here that made me want to scream.

Really, I should have never requested the eARC of book 3 of this series, The Warrior. While I enjoyed The Collector, I didn’t love it like everyone else did. I did love Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott (and I’m desperate for the sequel), but this series just irks me. I did give in, however, and was approved for it, so I had to muddle through this one first. I figured it would be the same 4 star level The Collector was, but it irritated me a lot more. Or maybe I was just more forgiving when I read The Collector? I really don’t know, but either way, this got on my nerves.

It gets 3 stars because it wasn’t horrible and it had it’s good moments. The writing is pretty good. It just wasn’t for me. I took me almost a month to finish it and that speaks volumes. Basically, if you liked The Collector and Dante in it, you’ll like this. If Dante irritated the fuck out of you in The Collector, then that is only going to continue here.

3 bows
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Cover Reveal – Salt & Stone (Fire & Flood #2) by Victoria Scott (& Giveaway)

I’m excited to show you guys the new cover for Salt & Stone! To match this cover, they are also giving a new cover to Fire & Flood and I’ve got that to show you as well.

Salt & Stone

TITLE: Salt & Stone
SERIES: Fire & Flood #2
AUTHOR: Victoria Scott
PUBLICATION DATE: February 24, 2015
PUBLISHER: Scholastic Press
PAGES: 320 pages
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What would you do to save someone you love?

In Fire & Flood, Tella Holloway faced a dangerous trek through the jungle and across the desert, all to remain a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed for a chance at obtaining the Cure for her brother. She can’t quit–she has to win the race, save Cody, and then fight to make sure the race stops before it can claim any more lives. In the next legs of the race, across the ocean and over mountains, Tella will face frostbite, sharks, avalanche, and twisted new rules in the race.

But what if the danger is deeper than that? How do you know who to trust when everyone’s keeping secrets? What do you do when the person you’d relied on most suddenly isn’t there for support? How do you weigh one life against another?

The race is coming to an end, and Tella is running out of time, resources, and strength. At the start of the race there were one hundred twenty-two Contenders. As Tella and her remaining friends start the final part of the race, just forty-one are left–and only one can win.

Fire & Flood

TITLE: Fire & Flood
SERIES: Fire & Flood #1
AUTHOR: Victoria Scott
PUBLICATION DATE: February 25, 2014
PUBLISHER: Scholastic Press
PAGES: 305 pages
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Time is slipping away….

Tella Holloway is losing it. Her brother is sick, and when a dozen doctors can’t determine what’s wrong, her parents decide to move to Montana for the fresh air. She’s lost her friends, her parents are driving her crazy, her brother is dying—and she’s helpless to change anything.

Until she receives mysterious instructions on how to become a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed. It’s an epic race across jungle, desert, ocean, and mountain that could win her the prize she desperately desires: the Cure for her brother’s illness. But all the Contenders are after the Cure for people they love, and there’s no guarantee that Tella (or any of them) will survive the race.

The jungle is terrifying, the clock is ticking, and Tella knows she can’t trust the allies she makes. And one big question emerges: Why have so many fallen sick in the first place?

Victoria Scott’s breathtaking novel grabs readers by the throat and doesn’t let go.


Victoria is giving away an ARC of Salt & Stone, as well as other books. Click the link below to enter.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Review for Fire & Flood (Fire & Flood #1) by Victoria Scott

Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott

TITLE: Fire & Flood
SERIES: Fire & Flood #1
AUTHOR: Victoria Scott
PUBLICATION DATE: February 25, 2014
PUBLISHER: Scholastic Press
PAGES: 320 pages
SOURCE: Publisher via NetGalley
RATING: 5 bows

Tella Holloway’s brother is sick. He’s deathly ill and the docs say they don’t know what’s wrong or how to fix. Despite their rather smack-talk filled relationship, she loves him to death and can’t imagine life without him, so when a mysterious blue box appears offering her a chance to compete in a competition for the ultimate cure, she doesn’t hesitate. The Brimstone Bleed is a treacherous competition where competitors must fight their way to survive over four different equally deadly planes and every single competitor is out for someone they love. With little to no survival skills, Tella knows her chances of winning aren’t likely, but she has to try. Can she overcome the odds?

I was excited and terrified to start this. Scott claims it’s wildly different than The Collector and I wasn’t sure how accurate that was. I enjoyed The Collector, but it wasn’t my favorite thing in the world and I was expecting this to be about on the same level, great, but not stay-up-all-night-reading amazing. I couldn’t have been more wrong. This is the adventure I was desperately needing without actively seeking it out. On VC’s website she has a blurb by Kendare Blake (If you don’t know who that is, we’ve got problems, k?) that says ““If The Hunger Games and X-Men and some Pokemon had a baby, it might turn out almost as awesome as this. But probably not. Read this book!” and that’s so accurate that it renders me nearly speechless. POKEMON! Perfect, just fucking perfect. I really can’t say anything that lives up to that succinct description, but I’ll do my best to provide something entertaining anyway.

Tella is the best kind of heroine. Initially I sympathized with her while finding her a tad bit annoying. Her parents literally drag her away from her life and then ban any form of electronics…cell phones, tablets, laptops, the works. Being a reviewer and a blogger and active aficiando of wasting hours on the interwebs, I can understand the massive frustration that would entail. I’ll be the first to admit that it would be heaven at first, having an inordinate amount of free time to spend entangled in the magical world that is fiction, but at some point your going to need something else, anything else. Any task gets monotonous after months of doing it repeatedly. But her fashionista-ness was out of my league of interest. After the games start, though, she’s my kind of heroine. Any chick who can manage to maintain her snark even in deadly situations will win my heart. She reminds me a bit of Sophie from Tellulah Darling’s Blooming Goddess Trilogy and that’s a high compliment indeed. Her ability to roll with the punches and still be so fiercely protective of her new adopted family was beyond endearing. Her defense of the Pandoras was another thing that had me loving her to bits. Animal cruelty and abuse is something I cannot tolerate and her determination to protect these creatures and me cheering her on like nobodies business.

Speaking of Pandoras…..

They are like Pokemon, but possibly cooler. They all have different abilities and are fiercely protective of their owner, well as long as their owner isn’t a psychotic abusive asshat. Tella’s fox, Madox is probably the most powerful of the bunch and DAMN. Can I have him? I can’t even come up with adequate adjectives to describe their awesomeness.

The other characters are all equally interesting, especially Guy (though he could probably use a better name), who gets to have that whole strong silent type thing going on. Harper had the whole big sister vibe down, and then there was Caroline who I won’t even really comment on because I can’t decide how I feel about her. The later addition of Jaxon provided a great amount of comic relief. He’s quirky and amusing and adorable, following Harper like a lost puppy.

Something else I liked (and maybe disliked, depending on when you ask me) is the brutality of this race. Scott doesn’t shy away from the violent edge a competition like this would inspire. Some contenders are down-right evil, twisted in ways that are shocking and grotesque. Death is also something that has to be dealt with here because conditions like the jungle and desert are difficult to traverse if you don’t know what you are doing. Even if you do, the elements and predators still may catch you off guard. Scott does a great job of straddling the line of cruelty without going so far as to make us feel overwhelmed. Or maybe she makes use feel just the right level of overwhelmed because there is a particular scene where extreme measures must be taken to combat a snake bite and that was overwhelming but somehow it worked well in the setting.

Scott manages to make me adore this even though it has quite a few character deaths. If you follow my reviews at all, you know I hate character death, so that’s quite the accomplishment. She really pushes the questions of how far you would go to save your loved ones. That is the best motivation that you could give and she really pushes the envelope a bit here with just the right level of savagery. This novel has something for everyone, for anyone brave enough to give it a try. It’s got snarky comments galore, a quiet romance, adventure aplenty, and a plot that will surprise most. As with Scott’s The Collector, it’s gloriously free of love triangles and cliffhangers, which would make me love it even if it wasn’t as awesome. But it is! And if you aren’t afraid to get your proverbial hands dirty, definitely give this a read!

****Thank you to Scholastic Press for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****

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Review for The Collector (Dante Walker #1) by Victoria Scott

The Collector by Victoria Scott

TITLE: The Collector
SERIES: Dante Walker #1
AUTHOR: Victoria Scott
PUBLISHER: Entangled Publishing, LLC
PAGES: 352 pages
SOURCE: NetGalley
RATING: 4 stars

Dante Walker is living the dream. He’s a soul collector with an unlimited Amex credit card. Life couldn’t be any better….unless he got that promotion he wants and could walk the Earth unhindered by this stupid cuff that tracks his whereabouts for Boss Man. All he has to do is collect one soul in ten days, the soul of Charlie Cooper. Why the boss wants this particular soul, he has no idea, but it’s his job to deliver and he’ll do whatever it takes to secure that promotion. But then he starts to fall for Charlie and learn that maybe she’s more important than his wants. This can’t possibly end well.

I started this book rather irritated. Over half of the blogs I follow (and that’s quite a few) have been raving about how amazing this book is and how badass Dante is. I was overly excited to read about another Daemon Black type character (and if you don’t know who Daemon Black is, you need to fix that, like NOW) and quickly realized that Dante is nothing like Daemon. They both have that jackass cocky vibe, but that’s where the similarities end. The more I read, the more irritated with Dante I became. He acts like his the shit, but I don’t ever really see him back it up (well until right at the end), he thinks he’s a bad motherfucker, but he never curses (again, until the end and even then, only a little), and he talks like a gangsta. He’s opinionated, judgmental, and all around just seems like an overconfident jerk. And then, miracle of miracles, he started to change. The more he was around Charlie, the more we see something good shift in him. He even loses a bit of that gangsta attitude which is great, because that’s just unattractive. Then he starts getting protective of Charlie and I finally start to see the swoon-worthiness of this guy. Granted, he’ll never be on my list of top ten male characters, but I genuinely started to like him. Basically, it was something like this:


But then I was:

And maybe just a little of this:

As for Charlie, I initially didn’t like her either. I’m not too big on goody-goody’s and she reminded me too much of Anna from Sweet Evil and I was none too pleased. I like a girl with a little spunk. Just like with Dante, though, she grows on you. Her ability to stay positive after all the bad shit that has happened to her was admirable and she actually does have a bit of spunk buried in there. The more of her I saw, the more I wanted her and Dante to end up together. I wasn’t in love with any of the side characters, either…except maybe Annabelle who had that kickass girl vibe.

The plot was both predictable and not. I knew a few key things were going to happen ****SPOILER****like that Dante was going to switch sides and become a Liberator before it was over with****END SPOILER****, but there were definitely some surprises mixed in there too. Victoria Scott manages to make me eventually like a character I initially hated and that alone requires a great deal of talent. Add to that the fact that she doesn’t play up the love triangle aspect and the fact that she actually ends this book with a solid ending (not a horrible cliffhanger) and well, you can imagine my reaction…and just in case you can’t, I’ll give you some visual aids.

…okay, so maybe the Casper gif wasn’t entirely on topic, but I just love it anyway. So basically what I ‘m saying is that love or hate Dante, this book is a pretty great read and I think most people would definitely enjoy it. I certainly did.

****Thank you to Entangled Publishing, LLC for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****