ARC REVIEW: THE DARK VAULT – V.E. SCHWAB

Author: V.E. Schwab
Title: The Dark Vault (The Archived, The Unbound)
Publisher: Titan Books
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 697
Overall Rating: 5/5

I received a copy of The Dark Vault by V.E. Schwab from Titan Books in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts and opinions in this post are entirely my own.

The two novels from The Archived Series appearing together for the first time.

Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Mackenzie Bishop’s grandfather first brought her here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now her grandfather is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was: a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often-violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

thedarkvault_coverThis book is everything. It’s also perfectly massive – granted, it is two titles in one but what a read. I struggled to put this book down!

The premise of this book is fascinating; when we die we become part of the archive, though from this archive some of us escape. Knowing it isn’t right those escapees can start to slip and it’s the job of keepers like Mackenzie to keep them from causing harm in the world of the living. It’s almost like we go on to form part of a library, and what book lover doesn’t like the sound of that?

Once again the author creates unique and vibrant characters, each a little bit broken in their own way. Not quite on the level of Vicious; Mackenzie and Wes at least have reasonably straight moral compasses! But each are torn in various scenarios where their role as a keeper conflicts with their inner voice. In Mackenzie’s instance; just to see her little brother one more time.

The relationship the two develop over the course of both The Archived and The Unbound is beautiful, and I think the timing and pace of both books is fabulous. Though you do have to read book 1 before book 2 they almost stand separately. You need to know the background to fully appreciate The Unbound but in terms of story the two are very individual – a further credit to Schwab’s talent as an author. A new book and a whole new adventure and something not always displayed in a series. Mackenzie almost doesn’t know how to interact with her mother and father and with the added stress of moving away from her childhood home she is simply lost. I love that Wes helps her regain some confidence, and again continues to help her as she ventures into a new school in book 2.

The pace of both of these titles is superb; both balancing just the right amount if development and detail with gripping action and adventure. I really do hope that there is more to be discovered in this world because both stories, although containing an ongoing storyline were unique and special in their own way.

If you’ve previously enjoyed V.E. Schwab’s work I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending this book to you too. The characters are perfectly developed and complement each other well, the pace is brilliant, and the story is one of a kind.

Overall I’m rating this book 5/5, with 4.5/5 for The Archived and 5/5 for The Unbound. It just took me a little while to initially get into the first book but once I got going there was no stopping me!

Thank you Titan Books for giving me the opportunity to read and review these amazing titles.

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