Friday, March 21, 2014

The Liberator (Dante Walker #2) by Victoria Scott

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Bad boy, meet bad girl.

Dante has a shiny new cuff wrapped around his ankle, and he doesn't like that mess one bit. His new accessory comes straight from Big Guy himself and marks the former demon as a liberator. Despite his gritty past and bad boy ways, Dante Walker has been granted a second chance.

When Dante is given his first mission as a liberator to save the soul of seventeen-year-old Aspen, he knows he’s got this. But Aspen reminds him of the rebellious life he used to live and is making it difficult to resist sinful temptations. Though Dante is committed to living clean for his girlfriend Charlie, this dude’s been a playboy for far too long…and old demons die hard.

With Charlie becoming the girl she was never able to be pre-makeover and Aspen showing him how delicious it feels to embrace his inner beast, Dante will have to go somewhere he never thought he’d return to in order to accomplish the impossible: save the girl he’s been assigned to, and keep the girl he loves.

Seriously, why do I love the bad boys so? And this bad boy in particular is such a prize, it’s remarkable I don’t want to punch him in the face. But it’s Dante, and Dante gets away with it because even though he’s a certifiable ego maniac, shallow and overbearing at times, he owns it and manages to surprise us at the same time. Yeah, he’s special.

Dante is now in the very unfamiliar and uncomfortable role as Liberator, working for the good guys now as opposed to being a Collector and working for the underworld camp. It’s like he’s entered bizzaro world and he can barely recognize himself. He’s constantly reminding himself that he IS one of the Good Guys and that he should shed his notorious past but he’s unable to let it go. He feels like a poser essentially. His new assignment to liberate a teenager in Colorado means taking him away from Charlie, the girl whose soul he was previously assigned to take. Who would have thought that Dante could be whipped? Charlie keeps him in check and encourages him to fulfill his assignment and return to her.

It’s not that easy of course. Aspen is rough, very rough around the edges and Dante’s usual charms don’t work on her. Still he manages to infiltrate her social circle and winds up caring about this lost girl. He has no clue as to her importance to the good guys or that somehow she and Charlie are connected. When the worlds collide and the Collectors send their minions after Dante and company, Dante takes a stand not just to protect the girl he loves but also for what’s right.

Dante has come a long way. This continues to be about his story and it's told in his singular voice. Because of this, Charlie feels a bit distant which is what I struggled with slightly with The Collector. However, this time around it didn’t bother me at all because I enjoyed being inside Dante’s head. He’s so full of bravado, incredibly amusing, even making his own eyes roll at his antics. He’s definitely no angel and he has no pretensions to that end.  But he’s evolving into a better man - that fact is alarming to him but endearing to the reader. Despite his deep love for Charlie and his belief in her purpose, there’s a small part of him that feels unworthy of her and of his own redemption. It’s only when he’s finally forced to confront his personal demon that he can be liberated. 

The Dante Walker series is simply fantastic. It has a different pulse that I just can’t get enough of. Just the very first sentence in The Liberator had me all giddy and excited again. It’s hard not to fall for Dante and his ridiculous persona. I think what draws me to the books and to him especially is that every thought in his head and everything he says is honest – even the cringe-worthy, socially incorrect remarks. He can’t help who he is and now that he has figured out who he is becoming, I am eager, no wait, chomping at the bit to read The Warrior that comes out this May.

~ Bel

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