Saturday, February 23, 2013

Book Review: The Archived

The Archived (The Archived, #1)Author: Victoria Schwab
Publication Date: January 22, 2013
Publisher: Hyperion
Series: The Archived # 1

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.

“Coded. Every Keeper has a system, a way to tell a good door from a bad one; I cannot count the number of X’s and slashes and circles and dots scribbled against each door and then rubbed away. I pull a thin piece of chalk from my pocket – it’s funny, the things you learn to keep on you at all times – and use it to draw a quick roman numeral I on the door I just came through, right above the keyhole (the doors here have no handles, can’t even be tried without a key). The number is bright and white over the dozens of old, half-ruined marks.” – ARC Copy pg. 15

“‘But,’ you say, recovering. ‘If a History does get out, you have to track them down, and fast. Reading surfaces has to be second nature. This gift is not a game, Kenzie. It’s not a magic trick. We read the past for one reason, and one alone. To hunt.’” – ARC Copy pg. 28

“I try to unpack, but my eyes keep drifting back to the center of the room, to the floor where the bloodstained boy collapsed. When I pushed the boxes aside, I could almost make out a few dark stains on the wood, and now it’s all I can see when I look at the floor. But who knows if the stains were drops of his blood. Not his blood, I remember. Someone’s. I want to read the memory again – well, part of me wants to; the other part isn’t so eager, at least not on my first night in a foreign room – but Mom keeps finding excuses to come in, half the time not even knocking, and if I’m going to read this, I’d like to avoid another interruption when I do it. It’ll have to wait until morning.” – ARC Copy pg. 35

“It’s not the blood, or even the murder, though both turn my stomach. It’s the fact that he ran. All I can think is did he get away? Did he get away with that?” – ARC Copy pg. 90

“‘You, Mackenzie Bishop,’ he says as we hit the landing, ‘have been a very bad girl.’” – ARC Copy pg. 184

From the perspective of someone who wants to end up as a Librarian, this was an awesome premise and plot! Dead people who are kept on shelves like ghosts or forgotten books? Yes, please! The world building is simply phenomenal. You have Librarian who catalogue the dead and Keepers who return the dead to be archived. Schwab took this concept and ran with it. This could almost be comparable to a Harry Potter type world. She goes so in depth with the characters and the idea of being a Librarian or a Keeper, that I was literally waiting for a manual telling me how to navigate this magically creepy world.

The only complaint that I really have with this book is that it took me a little while to understand and get into. One of the minor pet peeves that I had was that for quite a few chapters I thought that when Mackenzie was saying “Da” she was referring to her father and that now he was a ghost. I did not learn until later that “Da” was actually her grandfather. This was a huge disconnect that should not have happened at all. The story does pick up and begin to make more sense as the pages turn. The mystery and the romance swirl together evenly like chocolate and vanilla. Not too much of either to make you annoyed as the reader and a nice shift in between the two.

This turned into a murder mystery and I was NOT expecting this at all! Maybe that was just me, but whoa! It hit me in the face like a left hook. I loved how the anticipation grew and how the suspense shifted me to the end of my seat. This is going to be an amazing series and I am anxious to see where Kenzie takes us next. Kenzie was a great lead character and in my opinion acted well over the maturity expectations for someone that is only eleven years old. I loved her connection to her deceased younger brother. I could feel her pain and emotions rise clear off the page. I recommend this series to anyone and the only reason that I am not giving it five stars is because of the disconnect at the beginning. I do not think I should have felt that way at the start, but the rest of the book is just too stellar to deny!

***A HUGE thank you to the publishers at Disney-Hyperion for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review***

1 comment:

  1. I don't think I've seen one bad review on this book. I absolutely loved it, I thought the story was so interesting and fun. I had the same problem with "Da" as well and it took me quite a few chapters to realize what was going on. I loved all the feelings that were brought out in this book, Schwab really gets her readers to connect with Mac. Great review :)