Review: “The Collector” by Victoria Scott

The CollectorThe Collector (Dante Walker #1) by Victoria Scott

Goodreads | Amazon

Dante Walker is flippin’ awesome, and he knows it. His good looks, killer charm, and stellar confidence has 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 10 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 long ago buried.

Thanks to NetGalley And EntangledTeen for this ebook! 

2 1/2 stars

When this book came out in April, I watched the blogosphere explode. Given the premise of this book, I thought that maybe there was something to it, so I tracked down a copy of it on NetGalley. you’d think I’d have learned after the Sweet Evil fiasco that maybe I should avoid books I hype up in my head.

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ARC Review: “Luminosity” by Stephanie Thomas

Luminosity (The Raven Chronicles #1) by Stephanie Thomas

Goodreads | Amazon

My name is Beatrice. When I was born, I was blessed with the Sight. I was immediately removed from my parents and enrolled in the Institution. At the age of twelve, I had my first true vision, earning my raven’s wings. And when I turned seventeen, one of my visions came true. Things haven’t been the same since.

The Institution depends on me to keep the City safe from our enemy, the Dreamcatchers, but I’m finding it harder to do while keeping a secret from everyone, including my best friend Gabe. It is a secret that could put us all in danger. A secret that could kill me and everyone close to me.

But the enemy has been coming to me in my dreams, and I think I’m falling in love with him. He says they’re coming. He says they’re angry. And I think I’ve already helped them win.

3 stars

Thank you to NetGalley and Entangled Teen for this eARC! This book is now available.

I have said it before, and I’ll say it again: Nothing frustrates me like a book that has awesome potential but fails to deliver.

Sadly, Luminosity was just another one of those.

When I requested this book, I thought it sounded so ridiculously awesome. I began to worry a little bit when the first chapter was really info-dumpy, but I calmed down as I kept reading. The world in which Beatrice, or Bea, lives is really neat, even if at times it seems very vaguely defined. (Yes, I know: info-dumpy and vague in the same paragraph. Trust me, I have no idea how that works any better than you do and I read the book.)

The idea was SO COOL. There are these Seers who protect ordinary Citizens, but only some Seers have really clear visions. Bea has seen the coming attack of the Dreamcatchers, people who can see into the past and see peoples’ intentions. Oh yeah, and Dreamcatchers can, with a single touch, kill a person and take their energy. The Seers are taken away from their families as young children and brought to live in something called the Institute where they are trained in everything from weaponry to art class. Bea is considered a hero, because she originally Saw the Dreamcatcher attack coming, but then a Dreamcatcher named Echo starts entering her dreams and telling her that they need to save each other, not kill each other.

Oh yeah, and Bea can’t decide if she’s in love with him or her long time friend Gabriel. Love triangle alert. *headdesk*

See, for me, Bea is where all the awesomeness started breaking down. The first thing is that, from the second she starts having her dreams with Echo, she is totally in love with Gabe while she’s awake and Echo while she’s asleep. Like seriously, she makes out with both of them and finds nothing wrong with it. She is also a total spaz, always freezing up right when the team of Seers she commands needs her. At the end of the book, the choices she makes seem to have absolutely no sense behind them at all. They just … happen.

Actually, that could speak for most of the book as a whole. Things just kinda happen, with not a lot of explanation or sense. Some of the characters are clearly just planted to be killed, and trying to invoke an emotional reaction for their deaths. Grief does NOT explain away everything that happens for the randomest reasons after that. Besides the Dreamcatchers, the other major people in the story seem to have no reasoning for why they’re doing anything. They’re just bad, or they’re just good. I hate, hate reusing this analogy, but SERIOUSLY, things need to stop feeling like a National Novel Writing Month novel, where the author was speed writing and got stuck and then just decided ______ would happen just so the story would start moving again. With that randomness in mind, however, I must say that none of the “revelations” in the novel surprised me. I had them pegged very early on.

Honestly, I’m mostly just frustrated because I know the book could have been so much better. There were all these spectacularly awesome pieces, but they just didn’t get threaded together very well. I appreciated that the book was always moving, but I wish sometimes things had made a little bit more sense or at least have been explained. Worst of all, I found Bea as a character to be flat and uncompelling, defined basically by the guys in her life. I would read book too, Evanescence, if it popped up on NetGalley, but I wouldn’t go looking for it.

Books 2 and 3 in this series have titles, Evanescence and Obscurity respectively, but no release dates.

ARC Review: “Greta and the Goblin King” by Chloe Jacobs

Greta and the Goblin KingGreta and the Goblin King (The Mylena Chronicles #1) by Chloe Jacobs

Goodreads | Amazon

While trying to save her brother from a witch’s fire four years ago, Greta was thrown in herself, falling through a portal to Mylena, a dangerous world where humans are the enemy and every ogre, ghoul, and goblin has a dark side that comes out with the eclipse.

To survive, Greta has hidden her humanity and taken the job of bounty hunter—and she’s good at what she does. So good, she’s caught the attention of Mylena’s young goblin king, the darkly enticing Isaac, who invades her dreams and undermines her will to escape.

But Greta’s not the only one looking to get out of Mylena. An ancient evil knows she’s the key to opening the portal, and with the next eclipse mere days away, every bloodthirsty creature in the realm is after her—including Isaac. If Greta fails, she and the lost boys of Mylena will die. If she succeeds, no world will be safe from what follows her back…

3 1/2 stars

Thanks to Entangled Teen and NetGalley for this eARC! This title is now available.

Okay, I’ll admit it. I was missing my fairytale lands. Yeah, I enjoy all this new and exciting stuff, but man sometimes you just can’t beat ogres, goblins, sprites and the oldie-but-goodies.

Given what I was told about Greta being a bounty hunter, I didn’t expect this book to open the way it did. I mean, yeah, it starts with her going out to rescue a goblin boy from a monster, but then instantly Isaac shows up and he’s like, “Hi” and Greta’s like “Ohmygod remember how we met like a fortnight ago and I was obsessed with you but now I hate you because you lied and oh by the way now for some reason you’re the king of the goblins you little liar.”

Ooookay then.

Of course I have to pick at the romance in this book. Of course I do. Because I can’t get through it without not. Because not only do Isaac and Greta have yet another annoying love/hate relationship that seems to be based on…uh…hormones? Let’s go with hormones since I can’t think of much else. I mean, after they meet for a fortnight he invades her dreams because he HAS to be bound to her. Knowing she’s a human. By the way, humans are blamed for all the ills ever on Mylena. So Isaac alternates from blaming all the world’s ills on her to being like I MUST HAVE YOU. Literally. His repetitions of “She’s mine” or “You’re mine” creeped me out.

And then of course there is the requisite love triangle. Which doesn’t seem to have any point at all, honestly. But I don’t like love triangles. At all. You probably know this, so I’m going to stop here.

The characters as a whole didn’t have much particular depth besides Greta. Many of their actions made no sense, or seemed forced. Isaac, especially, bothered me, both by the way he treated Greta and then the schizo way he acted at the end of the book. But I can’t explain that for fear of spoilers. Many of the background characters just popped on and off-screen, though I appreciate the attempt to give every member of the lost boys a little bit of personality.

The thing that kept me going was the plot pacing. As in, plot went GOGOGO! There’s no shortage of action in this book, and Jacobs isn’t afraid to put some blood into the pages. (No, not graphically, I promise.) I’m pretty sure even Greta herself is injured from like page 1 on. Fast pacing is always, always a plot for me. I mean, I finished this book in one day.

I’m still not sure what I think of the world building, though. On the one hand, I felt like I didn’t understand what was going on very clearly for the first part of the book. On the other, I really appreciated how Jacobs never info dumped. She even had the best opportunity, with the lost boys having no idea how things worked on Mylena. But Jacobs kept that to a minimal as well, and I really respect that.

All in all, I would recommend those who want to return to a fairytale land with lots of action and a lot of romance. It’s not one of those books you can read too deeply into, but that’s okay sometimes. It’s a fun, quick read. I don’t think I’d go out and buy book two, but I would certainly take the chance to request it on NetGalley.