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 she 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.
Okay. So like most avid readers, I have a To-Be-Read list that I keep on Good Reads. That list though should really be named “Books I’d like maybe like to read one day.” My real To-Be-Read list is actually my “To-Be-Read-Next” list. These are the books that I have in my possession and I read the next book listed at Number 1 (or sometimes number 2). This list keeps me honest by making that when it comes time for ARCS to start coming due that I don’t miss anything. Other books, books I bought because I just want to read them get read in order as they climb up their way their list. Occasionally, I skip a little deeper into the list. Usually it’s because I realized I almost forgot an ARC, but occasionally it’s because I want to read a book I know I will enjoy.
I did that for The Archived. And I was not disappointed.
I read on her twitter the other day that this book gets criticized for having a slow start.
Why? Its that start that makes this whole book so incredibly well. She uses that time wisely to build up this wonderful melancholy mood. Mackenzie has lost the two people that arguably mean the most to her – her brother Ben and Da, her grandfather. By taking her time, we really do get that understanding of her frame of mind. It makes us understand why she’s so reluctant to open up to Wes, why she is attracted to Owen, a History who isn’t like the others. And then she uses this frame work to craft the tale of the Archive, its inhabitants and its crumbling world.
It works so well together and that it made me want to take my time, and savor the mood. I wish more authors would be willing to do this. Creating this kind of emotional connection allows reader to get more invested in the tale in a way that we just don’t see that often anymore, especially in young adult which often favors quicker paced stories.
Victoria wrote my favorite book of 2013, Vicious and The Archived proves that she’s one of the rare authors who is equally skilled in the young adult sphere an she’s become one of the authors I will keep an eye out for anything she writes. I will get around to reading the next in this series, The Unbound but I am just as (if not even more) excited for A Darker Shade of Magic. She is a rare talent and any lover of books should pick up her books and give her a shot. You’ll be glad that you did.
Verdict: Buy it.