Review: The Archived

August 23, 2013 book review 4

The Archived by Victoria Schwab

Release Date: January 22, 2013
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Series: The Archived #1
Pages: 328

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.

I went into THE ARCHIVED loving how the premise sounded. The dead are stored on shelves? There is a secret society of people who can read them and hunt them down if they escape? How unique of an idea is that?! I was so blown away by the summary that I was dying to crack this book open. THE ARCHIVED did not disappoint!

Mackenzie is an elite member of the Archive known as a Keeper. It’s her job, and her job alone, to catch woken up Histories and return them back to being a lifeless shell of a person in a drawer. When she moves to a new place and resides in an old hotel turned apartments, the list and mysteries just keep piling on. She finds herself dealing with more and more Histories and has this nagging feeling that it’s being done on purpose. Not only that, but she’s found that the Coronado, where she now lives, has a history of it’s own. One that is somehow just missing. Vanished.

This book had me glued from start to finish. The concept of these histories was enough to keep me tuned in. Adding the missing history of the hotel, was a cherry on top of the cake. I love a good mystery. Mackenzie was a great main character whose curiosity and determination was applause worthy and had me rooting for her. While her real world is crumbling after the loss of her brother, she immerses herself in the Archive world to keep busy. When she thinks things are going awry, she puts it upon herself to figure everything out. She apparently doesn’t care about the ramifications of digging in too deep…or battling Histories twice her age. She thinks she can do everything herself. This is sort of her Achilles heel. Sometimes she can be so stupid and not use her head at all. She lets her pride rule her and obviously, it’s not the best idea. She’s also way too trusting, even when all signs point not to trust someone. But overall, she makes mistakes and learns and luckily, she’s got a cute boy who is slowly able to crack down her mile high wall.

I want to take a second and mention the world-building. I’ll be the first to admit that I was sort of very confused at the beginning. I had no idea that we were going back and forth between conversations that took place in the past with Mac and her grandfather and the present. I had no clue what her and Da were even talking about. It was written like we should know all the workings of the Archive. Well, yeah, I didn’t. BUT, things did get better a couple of chapters in. We were finally in the present and Schwab was letting piece by piece of information in so we could understand. Once you were able to grasp everything, the world was awesome. It was magical, scary, puzzling, thought provoking, everything. What if there is a place really like this? You’ll completely understand why people should never know about it.

The plot was deep rooted and had you guessing the whole time. You’re told about some disturbances in the Library, you know that Mac’s list is getting more and more unmanageable, you know that the Coronado sort of disappeared off the map for a couple of years, but you never can fully grasp why until almost the very end. Mackenzie herself gets caught completely off guard with the revelations. This kept the plot extremely fascinating. It was hard to set the book down.

Schwab is a great story teller and has truly created a wonderfully mysterious world with THE ARCHIVED. While this is the first book in a series, this book ended perfectly. Mackenzie discovers everything she was searching for with a heart pounding climax near the end. The bittersweet last chapter lets you know that this is only the beginning. Who knows what secrets are left to be uncovered in the next book? I certainly can’t wait to find out!

5 Thought Clouds!

I received an ARC copy through the ARCycling book exchange program.

Christine

4 Responses to “Review: The Archived”

  1. Cait

    Ahhhh, I wants it, precioussss. XD
    Okay, do I seriously say this to every second book review on your blog? Probably. But still! You do awesome reviews! I’ve had my eye on this book for a while anyway. I’ll just have to poke through the library and see if they have it.

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