Monday, February 25, 2013

Review: The Archived by Victoria Schwab

The Archived by Victoria Schwab
Series: The Archived, Book #1
Published: January 22nd, 2013
Publisher: Hyperion
321 pages (hardcover)
Genre: Young adult supernatural thriller
Acquired this book: Bought
Warning: May contain spoilers
{GoodReads || Buy this book: Book Depository || Amazon || Chapters/Indigo}
{Read my review of The Near Witch}

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.


There’s just something about Victoria Schwab’s writing. The Near Witch was one of my favourite books of 2012, and from the moment I finished reading it I practically counted the days until I could get my hands on something else of Ms Schwab’s. Her writing is so beautiful and fluid it seems to flow effortlessly, ensuring the reader is completely captivated and unable to stop reading.

The Archived has one of the most fascinating concepts I’ve ever come across. The idea of the dead resting on shelves, and there being this whole secret world of people who tend to them, is intriguing, creepy, haunting, and yet oddly mesmerizing.

Ms Schwab has a knack for writing characters that leap off the page and take up permanent residence in your mind (and heart). Over a year later, I still find myself thinking of Lexi and Cole from The Near Witch, and I’m certain that a year from now I’ll still be thinking of Mac and Wesley from The Archived. But not just them - Da, Roland, Ben, Owen, and all the other characters in this book, all of whom felt like an integral part of the story, no matter how big or small their role was.

I connected with Mac immediately, feeling her pain and her desire to have her brother back and to make her family whole again. She wasn’t perfect - she made mistakes, she had flaws, her judgment was questionable at times - but that made me love her even more. She didn’t make excuses for who she was or what she did, and when you think about all she had seen and experienced and done at such a young age, it was a miracle she wasn’t completely broken. Then there was Wesley…oh Wesley, with his eyeliner and tall hair and scars and lies and crooked smile. Just thinking about him makes me smile. I loved the interactions between Mac and Wes - they often brought just the right amount of levity to an otherwise darkly intense story.

As for the plot itself…I actually don’t want to go into too much detail because I feel it needs to be experienced rather than read about. I’ll say this: the mystery was so tightly woven that it kept me guessing and had me on the edge of my seat, with my fingers flipping the pages almost faster than my eyes could read. To say this book is a must-read would be downplaying its awesomeness. Simply put, if you haven’t already read The Archived (and The Near Witch), you’re missing out on an incredible book that deserves a spot on everyone’s shelves.

Have you read The Archived? What did you think?

1 comment:

  1. And you, my dear, have a way of making me want to read everything! I have this one on my TBR shelf and am eager to read it.


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