Review: The Dark Vault – by V.E. Schwab

The Dark Vault


Title: The Dark Vault
Author: V. E. Schwab
Publisher: Titan Books
Format: Paperback Finished Copy
Pages:  697 pages
Publication Date: 13th November 2018
Rating: 5 Stars


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.


I received a finished advanced reader copy of this book for free from Titan Books in exchange for a fair and honest review. This has not influenced my opinions, or the content of this review in any way.

Trigger/Content Warnings

Violence, Self Harm, Discussion of Suicide.

My Thoughts

This book has made me feel nostalgic in all the right ways. Once I got into it, I found it almost impossible to put down again. It’s been a while since I last felt like this about a book, I simply needed to find out what happened next. It was so easy to sink into this world, to picture it. Even when I did put it down (unfortunately my lunch breaks are only so long) I found myself thinking about it. Trying to work it out. It’s been a while since a book has dug its claws into me quite like this one has.

I love the concept and the world building, its beautifully done and wonderfully atmospheric. Like all of V.E. Schwab’s books, I found this world really easy to visualise, and sink in to. I found the writing style very compelling, and was wanting to read just one more chapter. It’s a real shame that the series is so short, I can’t help but wonder about what could have been, if Schwab had been able to continue the series.

Mackenzie is a really interesting and well-developed main character. For me, she’s the sort of character I want to support and protect, she makes some pretty rash decisions, but they make sense for her. She has a very complex and well written emotional arc, and I really enjoyed seeing her grow as a character.

I’ve seen this book compared to Buffy, and that’s a big deal for me. I didn’t want to let it get my hopes up too high, but I’m so happy to say that this book does give me some of those feelings. In particular it reminds me of the early seasons, the characters have to keep their involvement with the archive a secret from everyone, including their parents, which sees them juggling commitments, and splitting of aspects of their identity.

Overall, this is essential reading for any fan of V. E. Schwabs work, and for fans of atmospheric paranormal YA.  I really enjoyed this bind up start to finish, I’m especially grateful for the short story at the end that adds a bit more of a resolution for the main characters. I definitely recommend picking this one up.

Want to chat, about books or anything else, here are some other places you can find me:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s