Lovin' los libros

A book blog dedicated to young adult and new adult novels

Review: The Archived by Victoria Schwab

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The Archived (The Archived #1)
   by: Victoria Schwab

Publication Date: Jan. 22, 2013
Publisher: Hyperion
Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: ARC copy received from ARCycling!
Page Count: 328 pages
Order Links: Amazon | B&N
My Rating: 3/5 stars


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.
                                    -goodreads.com description

I will be very honest: I had a lot of trouble getting through this book. And I'm not quite sure why. I know I was very very confused for a good portion of the beginning of the book. I had a hard time following the information given to us about the Archive and envisioning the Narrows. It was not made clear to us who Da was and what his relation to Mackenzie was and that was a key element to the story. The pacing went quite slow up until the middle or so, where everything kind of just clicked. After being immersed in Mac's world for awhile, you finally start to understand how it all works.

The concept behind this story is really neat. Mac is a Keeper- it is her job to keep Histories (dead people) from getting out and wandering where they are not supposed to. It is a very lonely life, as her family cannot know what she does. Mac really doesn't have anyone that she can confide or trust in now that Da is gone. Roland, a Librarian at the Archive, is really the only one she can go to, but even then it's not the same.

Mac's story really takes off when her and her parents move to the Coronado, an old hotel turned apartment complex. Her mother plans to reopen the coffee shop downstairs- it's one of her many projects she has undertaken, since the loss of her son, Mac's younger brother Ben. Mac is not doing well with the loss of her younger brother. To her, her parents act like they are in denial, as if nothing is wrong. However, Mac is young and I don't think she really understands. Her parents are trying to move forward with their lives. They understand that there is nothing they can do to bring their son back. I think they are trying to put on a brave front and stay strong for her sake.

Mac, however, meets Wesley (who she dubs Guyliner to her friend Lyndsey). Wesley was without a doubt, my favorite character. He is funny and sarcastic and his sense of humor really is what makes his character. The two form a friendship and I like that Mac has someone there to make her smile. We find out that Wesley is more than meets the eye and that draws them even closer to one another.

As much as Mac enjoys her job as Keeper, she does at times long for a normal life. One where there is no lying, no pretending to be someone else. One of the 'side effects' of being a Keeper is that Mac can read people. Everyone puts off a signature sound. She hasn't learned to block out the noise, which is why she can't touch other people without experiencing major discomfort.

Schwab's writing style was incredible. As confused as I may have been in the beginning, I still felt the writing was very detailed and thankfully she did NOT overload us with more information than we could handle.

Overall, this book was good, but not great. I like books that can engage me from the get-go. That's what draws you in! Unfortunately, I didn't get pulled in until the middle of this one when the action and intrigue really kicked in. Mac is seeing a huge influx of activity in her area, Roland is worried about some discoveries he's made, and Mac has met a mysterious boy in the Narrows. Who is he? What is he doing there? Is he a History? How does it all connect? Once you get to that point- the pacing really picked up and I found myself wanting to know who was at the middle of it all.

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10 comments

  1. This sounds very original, great review:)
    Esty @ Boarding with Books

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  2. I'm sorry this one didn't quite click with you. I really love the idea for it though and I'm curious to see how I'll respond to it. The Keeper part sounds really interesting.

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    1. I'm definitely going to give the sequel a shot. It has so much potential and I really do love the idea too! Let me know how you end up liking it once you get to it!

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  3. Oh, I'm sorry you didn't love it! :( I was very excited to read this book, but I kinda hate books that are hard to get into. Lovely review, Jessica. :)

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    1. Thanks Erica! :D Lately a book has to really snag me from the beginning or my attention span is kaput. LOL. I wish I weren't so ADD like that, but... ah well.

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  4. I'm looking forward to reading this! Glad to be prepared for confusion!! :-)

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    1. It might just have been my brain. I don't know if other people got confused. LOL.

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  5. I ended up liking it, but it did take me about the first third of the book to figure out what was going on. I do like Roland...he kind of reminded me of Giles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer :-D (and Wesley was my favorite, too...)

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    1. YES! I loved Roland! And now that you say that- he totally reminds me of Giles too!! That is an awesome comparison! :D

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