The Archived (The Archived, #1)by Published 22 Jan 2013
|The Archived (The Archived, #1).pdf|
Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.
Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures 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 that 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 may 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.
"The Archived (The Archived, #1)" Reviews
Two years in my brain and more than a year putting it on the page properly. I can't wait to be able to share it.
I have to admit, it wasn't until the second half of the book that The Archived really started clicking together for me. I've heard that some people who read the extended preview online were unsure if they wanted to continue, and I can see why--but something about the writing was really appealing to me and I ended up having a great experience with it.
Here's what I liked about the book:
* Dead people who are kept on shelves like books? Sign me on! Awesome premise.
* I loved the eerie, something's-not-quite-right atmosphere. All this drama happening in the hushed hallways of a library setting somehow felt pretty creepy.
* The narrative voice felt comfortable and real.
* This isn't written in a fast-paced sci-fi thriller kind of way, and I liked the slower pace and somewhat contemplative tone.
* The part of the story involving mysterious murders in an old hotel-turned-apartment-building was intriguing, and the way the clues gradually reveal themselves is enjoyable.
* I really liked some of the characters, especially the stern Roland, an older Librarian who mentors Mackenzie.
Things that were just fine:
* The romantic interests. Yes, there is an "s" at the end of that, but there isn't really a love triangle here, and things are just interesting enough without overtaking the entire plot.
* The villain. Maybe a bit too easy to guess, but not until closer to the end.
Things I felt could use improvement:
* I found the beginning very confusing, in part because I thought "Da" referred to Mackenzie's father, not her grandfather. The timeline also moved back and forth too much for my taste, and the switches in tense itched at me. Also, does her brother's death have some further significance at some point? Between that, her grandfather's death, moving to a new home, etc., there was a lot to take in the opening chapters.
* I was also never entirely sure how I understood how the mechanics of everything works in the Library or the Keepers' exact roles. There were also definitely parts where I thought, "No way!" or "I don't get why this just didn't happen."
But there came a point when the story started coming together and taking off that I just let go of my doubts and just enjoyed the ride. In fact, I think zoomed through the last half in one sitting, it was such a page-turner! The book is well-plotted, well-written, and touched with some darkness, as well as humor. This isn't a typical sci-fi story, and it's all the better for that. I'm tired of wham-bam adventure stories that do little more than connect the dots between one action scene to the next.
This is the first book I've read by this author, but given the many positive reviews I've seen for her debut, I think I need to seek out The Near Witch very soon. And of course, I'll be waiting for the new batch of Archives in the coming year.
This review also appears in The Midnight Garden. An advance copy was provided by the publisher.
You can also win an ARC of The Archived on the blog!
This book was AMAZING. Everybody needs this book in their life. Do yourself a favor and pick this up ASAP.
Oh yes hello, I think I am thoroughly doomed to adore everything written by Schwab. Everything omg. This book was incredible. It's so unique and the writing just hit me and the characters were all tortured and adorable and somewhat sassy -- AND QUITE FOND OF BAKED GOODS -- so basically I am Schwab trash and not even sad about it.
Also I hear the 3rd book is like...never ever coming out??? SLAY ME. (I ordered the sequel though, so let me read that, and then slay me.)
What really REALLY hit me (omg violent little book) was how unique the story was! It's like a library but for DEAD PEOPLE. And sometimes the dead people escape and wonder around these dark hallways (kind of like purgatory I guess?) and they must have Keepers to haul 'em back to deadness. Meet Keeper = Mackenzie Bishop. She's such a tortured soul and I totally liked her. But you know what I liked even more? THE MAGICNESS AND THE LIBRARY AND THE DEAD PEOPLE. It was all creepy and vaguely dark and I could totally see it as a Tim Burton movie playing out in my head. A+++ basically.
And the characters?! Precious little mites. Like I said: TORTURED. When you're a Keeper your life is like (A) lying to everyone because they can't know about your Other Life Chasing Dead People Back To Their Shelves, and (B) you get memories from things you touch, so no touchee to anyone, which makes things lonely, and (C) apparently you have an automatic ginormous need for baked goods. Loving it.
So apart from Mackenzie (who narrates in 1st person), she meets Wes who is a smooth-talking and slightly goth dude who got a book thrown at his head, caught it, and carried on a conversation about muffins at the same time. I'm 10000% a gonner and in love. And later on Mackenzie meets Owen in the purgatory-sort-of-place and he is equally mystery and tortured. SO I AM A FAN.
Um...I suppose you could say there's a love triangle?? But it doesn't feel like one because Mackenzie is suffering from SERIOUS GRIEF over the death of her brother and she's not in the kissing mood. #thankgoodness So there are 2 boys. There are attractions. There are plot twists (HUGE!! PLOT!! TWISTS!!) involving both boys. (And I also love both boys. So there you go.) [spoilers removed]
I suppose you could say everything is just glorious. It just ticked sooooo many boxes for me. Mackenzie was withdrawn, but not emotionless and she was easy to connect to. And the world took me a little while to get the hang of, but THEN I WAS THERE and it was so so vivid. Plus I just love the idea of a library of dead people. Seriously. Love. This is amazing. Why did I not read this earlier? (Spoiler: because I'm an idiot.)
Althoooough I maintain the BEST Schwab books are A Darker Shade of Magic series.
You probably definitely completely need this one in your life. I have so many questions I AM DYING FOR THE SEQUEL. And I just loved being emerged in Schwab's style of writing again. I adored the plot twists! The aesthetics! The humour!! AND DEFINITELY THE FOOD. (It was partially set in a cafe omg.) I'm just going t leave this quote here and be happy:
"Hey," he says, knocking his shoe playfully against mine. "It's the same for me, you know? This is all new to me. And I'm not going anywhere. It takes at least three assassination attempts to scare me off. And even then, if there are baked goods involved, I might come back."
Thinking back, I don’t remember ever reading something quite like this story before. It was very creative and imaginative, I have to say. The concept refreshing and interesting to read about. Although, there were many things that didn’t work for me as well as they did for multiple other book lovers who read this mysterious looking book.
For being mysterious, that it sure was, especially at the beginning. I was eager to learn everything about the main character’s ability and the world-building, needless to say. As the story slowly unfolded itself though, I realized that what was under its white silky fabric (feeling the ghostly atmosphere yet?) was not as impressive as I first predicted…but it had great constituents still.
I’ve thought about it…and the protagonist was too young for me. I like my MCs to be at least sixteen years old in my reads. It’s just a personal preference I have, because I like my heroines’ age to be as close to mine as possible so there could be a better possibility of connection.
Mac is a Keeper. She keeps Histories. Histories are like…data collections of dead people but, in their own form. That’s how I see them, but they truly aren’t completely explained in the book, if not at the beginning only in brief descriptions. Except an image can easily be made of them after reading this. So each ‘History’ is to be resting in the Achieve, the library – as you can call it – after their death. However, sometimes, a History or two can escape…and Mac’s job is to find them and put them back where they belong. It may seem simple, but it’s not. Especially not when stumbling upon a circumstance of events you do not understand. Someone killed a History, in Mac’s own room, and she needs to find who did it.
Even if the pacing starts off pretty slow, the story does pick up and upgrades its speed to a most engaging one as chapters go by. The writing is also pleasant and I believe suiting the story and main character’s voice best. Not the secondary ones. See, most of the secondary characters, except for Mac’s dead brothers, Wesley, Roland and the Histories she is strongly helping, feel one-dimensional. I guess it can be because the heroine didn’t give much importance to many. Even the parents…they’re uninteresting and unfortunately boring and forgettable.
The love interest (<-- what a twist!) was really well-developed. I thought the author brought a very pertinent element to the story by including that character. What I liked most was that it wasn’t a romance novel alone and that the romance itself doesn’t steal some importance anywhere. And, by the way, Wesley, Mac’s ‘friend’ reminded me of Jace from The Mortal Instruments, with his personality. He was the most entertaining of them all.
What I really didn’t like about the main character though was how easily and often she lied. She did it in every chapter at least two times and it became annoying after some time. Even if she might have felt bad after, it doesn’t change that she didn’t find any other solution than to do that. When a character actually has says: ‘‘It’s the only thing I’ve said that wasn’t a lie,’’ then there is a problem. Her choice of concealing the truth was understandable, depending on the scene, but the so many lies started to frustrate me because, see, the people she lied to didn’t necessarily deserve it.
Also, in the story, the narrator didn’t describe the Histories as ghosts, yet, that’s how they appeared to me. The way they talked, moved and just overall; it gave me as impression that they were indeed ghosts…when I don’t think this was the author’s wish. But that wasn’t a negative point, since it didn’t bother me at all.
Overall, it was intriguing and enjoyable enough. I hope less lies will be present in the sequel, because I do intend to read it sometime soon. The world-building has a lot of potential, being different from what we’re used to, but the settings could use some variety. The romance was, even if of small importance, lovely, but it could have used more romantic scenes to make it more believable…yet I do understand why the author did not include more. Nonetheless, this was a good book with twists and turns that were remarkable and honestly unpredictable!