The Archived

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Archived
by Victoria Schwab


Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

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.

My Review

Right from the moment I started reading the summary, I was intrigued by the idea that this book presented: a world where the dead were stored like books, their memories to be read like words. I loved its originality, and the fact that the author could have thought up such a concept is really cool.

The beginning of the book was a bit slow, but it got more interesting as the story progressed. It was the kind of novel that kept me asking questions and always had me on the edge of my seat, and I like that. It never grew short of plot twists. I liked how Mackenzie was portrayed as a strong heroine but also showed a softer, more emotional side when it came to her brother. I appreciated the flashbacks that gave us glimpses of her relationship with Da, as well, and it was sweet how much she looked up to him and he believed in her. Wes was also a great character for me, because he had a more easygoing attitude that helped Mac find some peace amidst her grief. Lyndsey was also good, and even though she only played a small role, I think that her being Mac's best friend gave Mac some sense of the normalcy that she sometimes dreamt of. And now, Roland. I think I can safely say that he was my favorite character. I loved how he was so protective of Mac and acted as her father figure despite their having no blood relation at all, and I loved how he always wore red Converse (!). Finally, I liked how it ended with the Bishops somewhat being able to accept their loss of Ben and start moving on with their lives.

Overall, I found it a brilliantly imagined book with a wonderful set of characters. It's a pretty great read, and I fully recommend giving it a shot. :)

Quotes I Like

"Lying is easy. But it's lonely."
"What do you mean?"
"When you lie to everyone about everything, what's left? What's true?"
"Nothing," I say.

"Because the only way to truly record a person is not in words, not in still frames, but in bone and skin and memory."

"Things only hurt more when you can see them."


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