The Dark Vault by V.E. Schwab - Sprinkles of Dreams Book Review

The Dark Vault by V.E. Schwab // Book Review

The Dark Vault (The Archived #1-2.5) by V.E. Schwab


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.

mix11The Dark Vault (The Archived Series) by V.E. Schwab
Publisher: Titan Books
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publication Date: November 13th, 2018

Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books. Each body has a story to tell …

There is a reason why V.E. Schwab is so hugely successful, has earned herself such a loyal fanbase, and has taken not only the Young Adult, but also the Adult Fantasy genre by a storm—and that is her innate ability to create worlds, characters, and storylines that draw you in, mind and heart, and refuse to let you go.


The Dark Vault is, as expected, simply marvelously written, with a touch of uniqueness that’s so unmistakably V.E. Schwab; she so effortlessly paints such vivid and atmospheric pictures of the characters, their surroundings, and all the events that unfold, that you’re made to feel as if you’re a part of the story itself.

More than that, she’s able to evoke a wide range of emotions in you—grief, sadness, happiness, melancholy, worry, fear, surprise—and write scenes that give you the impression of standing on top of a skyscraper, teetering dangerously on the edge, immobilized, and waiting with bated breath for the next gush of wind.

Her wonderful storytelling is interspersed with numerous meaningful moments, and quotes that make you stop, and reflect on your own life and values, as well as witty conversations that are filled with smart quips, and heart-warming sentiments.

Everything is valuable, in its own way. Everything is full of history.


What’s always immensely important to me in books are the characters, and I couldn’t help but fall in love with them, and adore the character dynamics as a result.

Mac, the main character, makes for a very easily relatable, and admirable heroine. I felt so very deeply for her throughout the book, and through everything she experienced; torn between keeping to herself, and letting others in.

The funny thing about armor is that it doesn’t just keep other people out. It keeps us in. We build it up around us, not realizing that we’re trapping ourselves.

Her relationships with everyone in the book, including her parents, were portrayed in such a way that makes the world that is very much entangled in supernatural and fantasy elements startlingly real and tangible.

Wesley especially won over my heart. He’s the bright ray of sunshine in a drab, grey world filled with Histories, assignments, responsibilities, and struggles, never failing to light up everyone’s day with his mere presence—which resulted in the short story, seen from his point of view, being a definitive highlight of The Dark Vault for me.

It takes at least three assassination attempts to scare me off. And even then, if there are baked goods involved, I might come back.


The Dark Vault is compulsively readable, entertaining, and above all, a captivating, and immensely worthwhile novel that you don’t want to miss out on.

Life is always messy. It’s supposed to be.

Thank you so much to Titan Books for sending me a finished copy of The Dark Vault. It in no way influenced my opinion or rating.


You’re interested in this book?

You can buy the Paperback at Book Depository.

Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Sprinkles of Dreams - Let's Chat
Have you read The Unbound series? What did you think?
What is your favorite book by V.E. Schwab?
Does anyone else feel like this series is a more grown-up version of City of Ghosts?

xx, lily - Sprinkles of Dreams
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30 thoughts on “The Dark Vault by V.E. Schwab // Book Review”

  1. You write the most beautiful reviews Lily, where did you get that kind of magic and where can I get it, too? haha. I’m so happy you overall enjoyed that one, though I’m curious – I don’t see a lot of criticism as a whole, yet it’s a 3,5 stars and… I’m wondering what bothered you overall in the story? If you don’t mind sharing, obviously! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh you always boost my reviewing ego so much, Marie! ❤

      In general, 3.5 stars is a really great rating for me – I usually reserve 4 stars for books that I'd re-read, and while book two and the short story would have made the cut, book one just falls on the side of not. :/ I did think about giving TDV four stars, but I felt like the pacing in book one could have been better, and it all felt a bit,,, unpolished/a bit plot-hole-y, if that makes sense (and I didn’t quite know how to put it into words). 🙈

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ohhhh okay, I get it 🙂 it makes sense haha don’t worry! and of course, always happy to boost your reviewing ego haha it deserves to be really big because you’re way too talented. ❤


    1. Thank you so much, Caro! 💞💞

      Ohh I hope this gives you the final push in the right direction, hehe. And you’ll have to read the second book as well to get to many of the characters I liked. 😇

      Thank you for your sweet comment, I hope whatever you’re reading is amazing! 💗💗


  2. Awesome review! I’ve only read City of Ghosts by VE Schwab, but I have the first book from the vengeful duology in my book stack and I intend to finish that and her darker shade of magic series next year😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh I remember pushing City of Ghosts your way haha, I’m so glad you ended up loving it! And yess, Vicious and its sequel are really good! I still need to finish the ADSOM series, but everyone I know loves it, too. 🙂

      Thank you so much, Prachi! I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend. 💜

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, you are my VE Schwab recommender and I’m so glad you did!
        I am having a very relaxed weekend so far, with my family😊 I hope you’re getting a little bit of me time from your studies too😊

        Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s a lovely review but I’m just a little bit confused. While 3 and a half stars is still a good rating, there must have been a few things that kept the book from being as perfect as you described it? What exactly bothered you? Haven’t read it yet but it’s on my tbr.


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