A Vault of Sins by Sarah Harian
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A Vault of Sins is the second book in the Chaos Theory series by Sarah Harian. Just like book one, this one grabbed me from the first page and had me wondering how things were going to go for the survivors of the Compass Room (CR) and Harian doesn’t hold anything back. In an effort to not give anything critical away I am going to try to keep this as more of an overview and not dive into the details so don’t hold it against me. Just know that I love this series and you should probably just go read it now.
Evalyn is definitely having a hard time adjusting to being outside the CR and while she, Casey, and Valerie are back in court trying to prove that the government is up to something she isn’t really free. There is a cloud hanging over their heads because they all know what they are risking by challenging Gemma Branam, the creator of the CR.
As the story moves forward Evalyn begins to get some weird messages and one of those messages leads her right to Valerie. I loved seeing Evalyn’s friendship with Valerie become more than just a survival mechanism and these two eventually come to depend on each other to get through their days because they have both lost an important part of themselves, not only in the CR but also in the people they love. There is no question that Evalyn is using alcohol to get through her days as well and I thought if anyone would have called her out on it, it would have been Valerie but for some reason she let it slide.
Due to some circumstances outside of her control, Evalyn ends up working closely with a conspiracy group called Reprise that happens to be made up of former CR Engineers and living across the border in Canada. The engineers are the ones who know all the secrets of the Compass Room and they are also the ones that are going to help Evalyn prove what Branam and her group have been up to.
Just to make things a bit more interesting, Branam has decided she is going to do another run in a different Compass Room. The problem with this (for Evalyn) is that Branam decided to retry Valerie and put her in the new round of criminals being put into the CR and now Evalyn and Reprise need to come up with a plan to get into the new CR and save Valerie.
I loved how Harian built this world out. Not only is there the world that these characters live in but she goes a step further to explain to the reader how the Compass Room really works and by exposing us to the details of how it all works, we also learn how Evalyn and her group of conspirators are going to save Valerie.
On top of all the action and intrigue, there is also the romance/relationship piece to talk about. Casey and Evalyn developed some strong feelings for each other and through everything they absolutely cared about each other. I think that Evalyn thought she would try to be with him but eventually when she saw how things were going to end up, she didn’t want her reputation to tarnish Casey and his situation so she made the decision to run away and not tell anyone where she was. This definitely hurt Casey and when they first came back together at the Reprise hideout he wasn’t in a forgiving mood, regardless of her reasons. I have to say that I am glad he got over it though and I think too that the whole thing shifted their relationship a bit. Before it felt like Evalyn was making all the decisions and I feel like now Casey comes across as an equal partner – for the most part. Evalyn still makes decisions without always including him but that speaks more to her wanting to protect him more than anything else.
There was great progression with this story and as I said earlier, the more I read in this series, the more I love it. I love the characters that Harian has created and the world they live in/try to survive in. I am absolutely looking forward to the next book in the series as things got really interesting at the end of this book and I am curious to see where Harian takes this story. If you are looking for a great dystopian that has quite a bit of action, definitely check this series out. Also, don’t forget about the novella because it gives you a different view of Valerie – something you don’t really get a view of in book one or two.
Thank you to Netgalley and Penguin Group for the review copy!
A VAULT OF SINS (CHAOS THEORY #2)
By: Sarah Harian
Publication Date: September 16, 2014
In her stunning New Adult debut, The Wicked We Have Done, Sarah Harian introduced readers to the Compass Room: a twisted experimental jail where the guilty and the innocent suffer alike. But breaking out was only the beginning…
Even though she’s escaped, twenty-two-year-old Evalyn Ibarra is anything but free. She’s desperate to return to a life that no longer exists, but prying reporters continually draw her back into nightmarish memories, using the tabloids to vilify her. Bad press is the last thing she needs during the trial of the year: the case that she and her fellow survivors staked against the Compass Room engineers. A case that could terminate the use of the inhumane system forever…
But in her dreams, she is still locked in that terrifying jail.
When she wakes, someone is trying to communicate with her in secret, through strange and intricate clues. As Evalyn follows their signs, she uncovers a conspiracy that goes so much deeper than her own ordeal. A dangerous intrigue that only she can bring to light. One that will force her to work with the one person she doesn’t want to see.
The person who owns her heart…
Sarah Harian grew up in the foothills of Yosemite and received her B.A. and M.F.A. from Fresno State University. When not writing, she is usually hiking some mountain or another in the Sierras, playing video games with her husband, or rough-housing with her dog.