The Dark Vault – V. E. Schwab

Isbn: 9781789090857. November 13th 2018. With thanks to the publisher, Titan Books, for sending me a paperback copy.

Two timeless novels, now bound together in this thrilling collection.
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.

I started reading this after having to reshelve my last two reads. I really wanted to enjoy it, but given my recent attempts of reading, I was a little dubious. This book ended up pulling me out of my health induced slump, and I loved it.

The Archived. 4/5 stars.10929432.jpg

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.
Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da 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.
Being a Keeper isn’t just dangerous—it’s a constant reminder of those Mac has lost, Da’s death was hard enough, but now that her little brother is gone too, Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself may crumble and fall.
In this haunting, richly imagined novel, Victoria Schwab reveals the thin lines between past and present, love and pain, trust and deceit, unbearable loss and hard-won redemption.

I really enjoyed The Archived. The plot was great. I found myself binging this book and when I /HAD/ to put it down, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I loved that I didn’t see the twists coming. The writing has such a unique prose, with a great flow to it. This world has so much potential and would love to know more about the lore.

The characters are likeable, and realistic. I thought Mackenzie was a well-written character. She took everything in her stride, was fierce, and loyal and a good friend. She cares where many people wouldn’t. I loved her relationships with Wesley and Roland. Roland reminded me a little of the ‘big brother I wish I had’ kind of character… And a little of David Tennant as The Doctor in BC’s Doctor Who. Wesley is a great character, fun and lighthearted, the kind of person people are drawn too, but I want to know more.

Overall, I thought The Archived was a great start and I looked forward to being able to dive right into The Unbound.

The Unbound. 4/5 Stars. 13638131.jpg

Last summer, Mackenzie Bishop, a Keeper tasked with stopping violent Histories from escaping the Archive, almost lost her life to one. Now, as she starts her junior year at Hyde School, she’s struggling to get her life back. But moving on isn’t easy — not when her dreams are haunted by what happened. She knows the past is past, knows it cannot hurt her, but it feels so real, and when her nightmares begin to creep into her waking hours, she starts to wonder if she’s really safe. 
Meanwhile, people are vanishing without a trace, and the only thing they seem to have in common is Mackenzie. She’s sure the Archive knows more than they are letting on, but before she can prove it, she becomes the prime suspect. And unless Mac can track down the real culprit, she’ll lose everything, not only her role as Keeper, but her memories, and even her life. Can Mackenzie untangle the mystery before she herself unravels?
With stunning prose and a captivating mixture of action, romance, and horror, The Unbound delves into a richly imagined world where no choice is easy and love and loss feel like two sides of the same coin.

The Unbound continues straight on from The Archived, and follows Mackenzie starting a new school, and dealing with her PTSD from her experiences over the summer. It was really nice to see her interact with new characters, they seemed to help her open up a little more than she had in the previous book. There was a lovely character arc, and so much development, in this book. It was great watching Mackenzie grow into a mature character. It was so much fun to learn more about Wesley (and his first name! Haha). He seemed to be shoved a little into the background this time, which was a shame. Having said that, I loved seeing more of Roland, and him acting like the (grand)fatherly role in Dad’s place. I hated Agatha! Wanted to have a go at her on many occasions.

I enjoyed the plot for this novel. Loved the twists and turns, but more than anything, I admired the way Schwab death with the PTSD.

The Short Story: 4/5 stars.

The short story was only about 10 pages long, but in my opinion it wasn’t enough. It followed Wesley’s point of view after the events in The Unbound and I loved it. You could easily tell it was another character’s voice, and even though there wasn’t much, it was nice to see a little of the way Wesley thinks.

These books were great, and I thoroughly enjoyed the journey they took me on. I am very thankful I had the chance to read these as a bind up, because the having to wait between the stories would have driven me mad. I love how the bind up cover (featured photo) fits into the current run of Schwab’s UK covers, and yet manages to stand out as separate.

4.5 out of 5 stars for the whole bind up.

You can buy The Dark Vault bind up here.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. I’m glad you liked it! I need to order this book. I’m slowly collecting all of VE Schwab’s books, and it needs to join my hoard.

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