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Bonus Book Review – The Dark Vault

Hi, Hey, Hello!

And so we come to the end of the 2018 V.E Schwab love in. It ended with a two for one. Full disclosure, there was a rocky period where I didn’t quite think that I was going to hit 70 books and well, this is two books in one and so there was a moment where I was honestly going to split these books and count them as two. Because technically they are.

It doesn’t matter anyway because on Tuesday last week I hit 70 so this year’s challenge has been hit. Go me.

But back to this. The closing of the 2018 love affair, which will continue well into 2019, no worries about that one.

First things first because after a while it became the only damn thing I could think abut. This book reminded me of City of Ghosts. Just aged up and a little edgier.

It wasn’t a bad thing, it was just a thing I noticed.

I loved the premise of this book. The idea of there being this in-between place for people who were confused by what happened to them, which was made all the more heartbreaking by the fact that for the most part the Histories were all children. That aspect was then made all the worse by the fact that McKenzie was still very much mourning the loss of her brother and you can see the impact that her current job and the ‘real’ world has on her and also her family, although that it is only in the real world aspect of it. I liked the way that somewhat recent loss affected the family and how you could see the subtle ways that it informed all 3 people who had been affected by the incident throughout the two books. This also links to the fact that I enjoyed the way that the relationship that Mac had with her parens, it felt very real, especially during Unbound when Mac started acting quite strangely.

I loved the world building in The Archived. The logistics of it all took a little getting used to because there was no info dump (thankfully) so it did take a little getting used to when it came to figuring out exactly how everything worked in-between the two worlds, but once you for there it was great. And it doesn’t take all that long to get there. I loved the library and the way that it operated was fascinating. I could honestly read a whole thing going in to how that was created.

Let’s move onto the characters though shall we?

McKenzie was really well written, especially in The Unbound where her PTSD was such a prominent but well handled aspect of her life. It really came across how insular and isolated everything felt to her. It was hard to read sometimes because it had this level of realism to it. Especially as she started experiencing some kind of disconnect from her body and mind. The juxtaposition of the two on the page was so well done and well sustained. I liked that there was no neat, happy ending with it. It ended the way that it should have for her, which was on some level a little sad, but ultimately right.

Wesley. Somehow he remained a full enigma even though he was kind of in it a lot. Or maybe he actually wasn’t in it all that much and it just felt like he was more present. It’s odd and clearly I’m a tad confused by him. Come the end of both books there was still a lot about Wesley that was unknown because there was a lot that McKenzie didn’t know about him. I loved the extra short story that came with this edition because it gave you a quick glimpse into his head and the way that he felt about everything. It was brief, but it was delightful.

Owen, now I knew kind of early on that he was a wrong’un. However, what a great wrong’un he was. He was the kind of villain that made sense. He existed in that wonderful grey area where what he was doing was wrong, but the motives behind them weren’t the worst. In The Archived. Come The Unbound he was a completely different beast and honestly he became the very worst. But he was a great villain. We all know how much I enjoy a good villain and Schwab writes good ones a plenty.

I enjoyed these two books. They were great. I loved the world that was created within them and the characters. I enjoyed the development of all the relationships within them, especially between Wesley and McKenzie. I liked how the story arced both in the individual books and also across the two. I liked the ending, the overall one, to be honest I don’t remember the ending to The Archived properly because I just went straight into The Unbound. I would recommend this book for sure, it would be a great introduction to V.E Schwab’s work if you’ve never ventured there before. Plus, I like the fact that the over echoes that of my actual fave duology by Schwab, Vicious/Vengeful.

3/5 stars

Parentheses count: 0. See you tomorrow!

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