Victoria Schwab can do no wrong. First I read about villains and now I’m reading about a library of the dead. Can I go live inside her imagination? I’m pretty sure it’s much better there than it is here in the real world.
Title: The Archived
Series: The Archived #1
Author: Victoria Schwab
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Available: Barnes and Noble | Kobo | iBookstore | The Book Depository | Powell's
From the Publisher: 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.
Mackenzie Bishop is one of my new favorite characters.
Her life is so complicated but she handles it pretty well. She doesn’t always make the best of decisions (I am still incredibly tired of people keeping secrets because they believe they can handle the world by themselves) but she does her best with what she’s been given.
The story is expertly woven so that we see how Mackenzie’s life ended up the way it is now. Her training with Da, her grief from losing her brother, the part of her life she must keep hidden from her parents… I can’t imagine how she manages such things.
And I am completely fascinated by the world that Victoria created. There are libraries of the dead. The dead are archived in vessels that look like the bodies they inhabited when they were alive. These vessels are called Histories – because they contain the history of the person who was once alive. And occasionally a History is disturbed and wakes up. When that happens, a Keeper must find them and return them to the Archive.
Mackenzie is a Keeper. She has been one since she was 12 years old.
When her family moves to an old building (we’re talking old), she realizes that she’s returning far more Histories than she’s accustomed to. And then… she meets Wes.
Things change after she meets Wes, but I can’t tell you what or why – you need to read that for yourself.
But overall, it isn’t just the story that makes this book so compelling to me. Victoria’s writing will always make me catch my breath. When I read her words, I can feel them through the page. Mackenzie’s story is one of pain, grief, and death. Her life is one that is destined to be surrounded by death. Yet, when Victoria writes it – there is still a youthful hope and exuberance surrounding Mackenzie that I hope stays with her through the next installment. Victoria understands how to use words to create an experience rather than simply tell a story.
What Others Are Saying:
- Cuddlebuggery: It’s the perfect murder mystery to keep you on the edge of your seat. It’s the kind of book that had me thinking about the events long after I finished and now I’ll be desperately waiting for book 2.
- The Book Smugglers: The Archived is a beautifully written book, a morose, slow-simmering modern gothic novel, with a truly intriguing premise.
- The Hopeful Heroine: I found myself turning page after page because I had to finish it–only to realize it’s part of a trilogy and now I have to whine and cry and mope around in waiting until next year for The Unbound.