The Dark Vault (The Archived #1-2.5)
Author Victoria Schwab
Publisher Disney-Hyperion | 2018
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. (from Goodreads)
This review is spoiler-freeeee! 🙂
It’s a little weird to be combining this into one review when it’s technically two separate books, but I’m still gonna. I gave 4 stars to The Archived and 5 to The Unbound, so I rounded it up and gave the combined books as the full five, because Victoria never disappoints me and she deserves it.
“Trust is like faith: it can turn people into believers, but every time it’s lost, trust becomes harder and harder to win back.”
I really enjoyed this! These were my last Schwab books I needed before I could say I’ve read all her work, and I’m so happy that I love yet another one of her series. The concept is so cool and Victoria’s worldbuilding is always awesome. The plot was entertaining and there’s never really any slow sections because there’s always some sort of action happening, especially in The Unbound. Mackenzie was an interesting narrator (even though she is the WORST at communication and her decision-making isn’t the best), I still enjoyed reading from her perspective. Even so, she takes a bit of a back seat when you realize that the other characters are EVEN BETTER.
“You sound like thunderstorms and heavy rain, did you know that? I never liked bad weather. Not until I met you.”
Wesley was amazing. I thought he was super mysterious and kind and I loooooved him and Mackenzie together. They were super cute and there were a lot of great moments in The Unbound that I loved. If Victoria ever ends up writing the last book, which I would totally be on board with, it’d be great to get more of his backstory, though I did really like reading the short story from his perspective. His feelings about Mackenzie were so pure and caring, to the point where I just wanted to shake her and be like WHAT ARE YOU DOING, CAN’T YOU SEE HE’S IN LOVE WITH YOU GOD!!!! I also LOVED Roland and his friend/mentorship to Mac. I lived for every one of their moments together because it was refreshing to see her let her guard down a little bit when she was around him. Dallas was another favorite character and I even enjoyed the moments with Cash, though I don’t think I really needed the love triangle. The villain was creepy and believable and he’s TAINTED “You Are My Sunshine” SO THANKS FOR THAT.
Given that Victoria hasn’t gotten the chance to write the next book, these two actually wrap up pretty well! I was getting a little worried towards the end that it would end on a total cliffhanger, but I’m actually fine about how it’s currently left. I would obviously welcome the closure that a third book would bring and I’m sure there’s a lot more character/relationship development that could occur in that, but if it never happens, I’d be OK with it.