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August 26, 2013

Review: The Archived by Victoria Schwab

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.
With a premise like that, I knew from the very beginning that The Archived would be right up my alley. After all, there's a special place in my heart for truly original stories, and one where bodies are stored on shelves like books? I don't think it gets much more unique than that.

Sixteen-year-old Mackenzie "Mac" Bishop had been privy to the world beyond her own for most of her life. Following the death of her little brother, the life Mac knew is uprooted, and as a result, she is thrust directly into places she'd only heard of in her Da's tales. I absolutely loved that Mac was already privy to the duties of a Keeper and the existence of the Archive when the novel begins. Despite the fact that she became a Keeper at such a young age, it's clear that she has the skill and maturity to face whatever obstacles may block her path.

Aside from the storyline itself, Wesley "Wes" Ayers was one of my favorite parts of the The Archived. Even if Mac didn't trust him, my gut instinct always did. The connection between Wes and Mac kept me on my toes and constantly amused even when circumstances were bleak. Also a great addition to the story was Roland, one of the Librarians in the Archive. It's hard not to love a guy whose signature accessory is a pair of red chucks.

Just like Victoria Schwab's debut novel, The Near Witch, this book was filled with vivid imagery and beautiful prose. I loved the tiny snippets between chapters in which Mac recalled memories of her Da. I also appreciated that the romance was very much secondary to the fast-paced plot. The world-building, though obviously not as intricate as it would be in a fantasy novel, was thoroughly intriguing.

I really cannot wait to see what's in store for Mackenzie in the next book. It's pretty safe to say that just about anyone who enjoys a good adventure would love this book, so do yourself a favor and pick up a copy.

Rating: 5/5 stars

1 comment:

  1. I liked The Near Witch, so I'm happy that her writing-style here is about the same. This book sounds so original and unique :)