This review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
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.