Thursday, January 30, 2014

Review: The Dead In Their Vaulted Arches

The Dead In Their Vaulted Arches
(Flavia de Luce #6)
By Alan Bradley
Delacorte Press January 2014
315 pages
Read via Netgalley

The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches (Flavia de Luce, #6)

Note: This review will contain a major spoiler for the rest of the series. Please don't read further if you haven't read all of the previous books!

One fateful spring morning, Flavia de Luce, her father, and her two sisters journey to the train station. After years of uncertainty, their mother Harriet is finally coming home. As Flavia waits, she is approached by a stranger. He tells her that "the Gamekeeper is in jeopardy," which makes no sense to her. But moments later, that same man is pushed in front of the train and dies. What did his warning mean? Who is the killer? This time, Flavia's investigation will take her deep into her own family's past and she will learn closely held secrets about the people whom she loves most.

This series is about to go through major changes and this novel was the perfect transition. As we read, we get the feeling that we are actually hurtling towards something. After five books of half-truths and secrets, the reader and Flavia are equally desperate to find answers. That is the true heart of this series. It's fun and quirky, but it is most intrinsically about a family with deep wounds and dark secrets. Mr. Bradley has made us truly care for Flavia, her family, and the residents of Bishop's Lacey. The possibility of closure and a happy ending is enough to keep us rapidly turning pages. While The Dead In their Vaulted Arches marks the end of this story arc, Mr. Bradley will be writing four more Flavia books. 

Flavia, as always, is so grownup and such a child. She is smart as a whip and excels at chemistry and deduction. But she is also a child who is often left to her own devices. She is lonely and keenly feels the hole in her life where her mother should be. She spends a majority of this story trying to use her chemistry skills to make magic, in a heartbreaking example of childish optimism. But she is also on brink of her twelfth birthday, and about to make a hesitant transition from childhood to adulthood. It is a difficult feat for an author to transition his protagonist from childhood to adulthood and keep utilizing her as the main character. But I have the utmost faith that Alan Bradley can achieve it.

The Dead In Their Vaulted Arches is one of those books you don't want to talk about too much. The joy of this book is starting it on the edge of your seat, just as Mr. Bradley leaves us at the end of the previous book. Reading this story will remind you why you love Flavia all over again. Her wit, her bravery, and her resilience all shine bright as she attempts to solve her most personal mystery yet - what happened to her mother. If you are a fan of this series, this is an addition you won't want to miss. If you don't love these books yet, consider it a gift that you can pick up all six books and read them in one glorious literary binge. 


  1. I had no idea that he had another coming out! And now! Ahh. I must obtain this ASAP. I'm sure it's as charming as the rest of the series. Thanks for the review!!!

    1. It is charming indeed. And there is so much to discuss once you've read it!

  2. Agh! I want to read this review, but I can't because I haven't gotten to book 5 yet...must read faster! :)

  3. Such good, good news that there are more Flavia books ahead... :)

    1. I know! I am so excited to see where Bradley takes the story.