by Victoria Schwab
Pub. Date: Jauary 22, 2013
Book received from: Purchased
Genre: YA Fantasy/Mystery
Series: The Archived #1
Cover: A bit spooky and interesting- fits the story well
Characters: Typical teenagers, but with interesting depth
Tagline: Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books
Quote: “Because the only way to truly record a person is not in words, not in still frames, but in bone and skin and memory.”
For Fans Of: Neil Gaiman’s Neverworld and The Graveyard Book
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Worth the read? Absolutely. It is really different.
From the Cover: Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.
Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da 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.
Being a Keeper isn’t just dangerous—it’s a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da’s death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.
In this haunting, richly imagined novel, Victoria Schwab reveals the thin lines between past and present, love and pain, trust and deceit, unbearable loss and hard-won redemption.
The Short & Sweet of It: I read this book as part of a read-along with Book Twirps, and am extremely glad that I did so. This book was nothing like I could have imagined- and I really wasn’t sure what to think going into it. It is such a different concept, given that everyone’s lives are shelved in a library of sorts and archived in a complex system. This is a world that could easily be confusing, but is expertly executed by the author. From the first page, the words and voice of the leading lady pulled me into both the story and the world that is created. There is such and urgency and poetry to the words that it almost felt as though I didn’t breathe once the entire book.
There is a palpable sadness to the voice of Mackenzie that made me want to cry, and also made me root for her throughout. She is a very deep, dark, introspective person that is perfectly suited for the tasks which have been handed to her. She is also a very cautious person, and I liked that she did not just jump into the role of falling for a guy, although there were two vying for her affection. She made mistakes, and she was willing to face the consequences.
The mystery that was solved in the story was very intriguing and kept me guessing until the end, and the way it was solved was very well done. Issues of love, loss, grief, honesty, redemption, and self discovery are prevalent themes throughout, and all blend together perfectly. There are parts that remind me of a world Neil Gaiman may create. It really don’t want to say too much and give it all away, but if the description catches your interest, do not hesitate to read The Archived. The world-building is well done, the characters seem like real teenagers, and the concept is original. It is a smart, dark, and complex edition to the world of YA, and I am eagerly awaiting the sequel. Consider me a fan of Victoria Schwab from here on out.
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