I’m going to say this right off the bat: this is going to be one of those reviews. This is a book that I saw get a ton of praise on a bunch of YA blogs that I follow and for the life of me I can’t figure out why.
Let me back up.
A few months ago I started seeing the praise for this book everywhere. I even know a few bloggers who have added him to the list of their “book boyfriends.” I downloaded the sample to see what the hype was about.
I wanted to punch him.
He comes off as such a vain and arrogant asshole that not only did I want to punch him, it quite literally made me not to want read the book, let alone buy it. I gave it a second chance because I won a copy and I read a few places that the character gets better and more likable as the book goes on.
Does he get more likable as the book goes on? Yes, but when you consider where he started, that’s not exactly something to write home about. It really didn’t take much to make him seem at least some-what human.
So I don’t keep you here all day, I’ll boil down my complaints and discuss the major levels this book failed for me:
1. There is no chemistry between Dante and Charlie. None. If anything, I felt like the love that was developing was actually platonic. For much of the book, Dante seemed more like a protective big brother than a possible love interest. It doesn’t help that the author made Charlie SO innocent and SO naive and SO inexperienced that she loved him because he paid her attention (and why she ignored her friend Blue – who genuinely loved her as she was – was never discussed)
2. There is literally no reason for Dante to have fallen in love with Charlie, except this is a Paranormal Romance novel and the conventions of the genre says he has to. He does not find her attractive – at all. Yes, he does eventually come to appreciate her looks as beautiful in their own right, but that’s largely after she’s already began to change. And even then, he has a moment where he worries that she might move on because she’s now so beautiful which begged the question whether he really did like those looks for what they were, or did he prefer them because it meant less competition? Character development on the part of Dante and Charlie is pretty shallow, so as far as I can tell, there really don’t have anything in common at all. If it weren’t for the plot, would he have fallen for her?
The book also follows some other tropes: both Charlie and Dante have Tragic Pasts. Hers seemingly to make Dante sympathetic towards her (and because this genre does love its heroines to have sad backgrounds) and his seemingly to make the audience sympathetic towards him. I can’t even say that it does. Is it sad? Yes. Does it account or excuse his behavior? No, because it seems like he was a jerk even before died.
At the end of the day, Dante comes off as one dimensional to me and as such I feel like I am absolutely missing whatever it is that is making so many YA readers swoon for the guy.
Verdict: Die-hard fans of the genre will probably enjoy it, but for the rest of us, you can probably just Skip It and not feel like you’ve missed anything.