Thursday, February 21, 2013

Book Review: The Archived

The Archived
Published By: Hyperion
Publication Date: January 22, 2013
Page Count: 328
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Audience: Young Adult - Fantasy

This is one of those novels I wish I had written - it's creative, fresh, and addicting. Mackenzie Bishop is a Keeper. It is her job to patrol The Narrows and return Histories when they escape the Archive. Histories are the flesh and bone memories of the dead. Mackenzie must keep them from escaping into the Outer and terrorizing the living. I LOVED this world and the lore surrounding the Archive and all those who work for it.

I don't want to say too much about the plot and give something away, but this is one richly detailed world that gave me countless opportunities to stretch my imagination. It took awhile for me to be able to visualize The Narrows and the Archive, but once I had a picture in my head, it was immensely entertaining. The Narrows came to me like an Atlanta alleyway lined with doors and brick walls covered in graffiti; the Archive was more like a combination of a library and a morgue in my mind. It actually reminded me a bit of The Library of Congress for some reason. I also found that the beginning was a little slow as Schwab took the time to help the reader familiarize themselves with this innovative world, but once this was out of the way things moved extremely quickly. As soon as the action picks up, I had trouble putting this one down. I was compelled to keep reading; I had to know how things would end. I have seen some reviewers state that they saw the twist coming, but I wasn't able to predict it. I think my mind was more focused on immersing myself in every sensory detail rather than trying to unravel the mystery.

This novel is truly a breath of fresh air. It's so different from other things I have read lately. The concept also felt original - rather than a recycling of overused plot points and characters. In addition, I really liked the format of the novel once I got used to it. The narrative bounces between the past and the present. I found the snippets from the past to help me understand more about Mackenzie and her role as a Keeper. It was also nice to get the first hand view of her relationship with Da.

Furthermore, I really loved Mackenzie and Wesley. Both of them are intriguing, complex characters. Their friendship also develops in a natural and realistic way.  

I also found it refreshing that romance is not a central concept. There is a bit of it sprinkled throughout the plot, but it's very minor. It was a nice change of pace. The lack of romance and the increase in action also makes The Archived an excellent reading suggestion for both females and males. I could see my male students gobbling this one up and clamoring for more.

This was my first experience with Schwab's writing, (In spite of the fact that The Near Witch has been sitting patiently on my bookshelf...) but I was totally won over. I'm already trying to figure out when I can read more of her stuff sooner rather than later. I was in awe of her creativity and writing prowess. She also has a way of creating broken characters who tug at my emotions.


One Last Gripe: Hmm, this is difficult because I loved this book so much. I suppose I was a bit frustrated that the beginning was slow to build up momentum, but looking back it was necessary and well worth the time.

My Favorite Thing About This Book: I loved the world of the Keepers, Crew, and Librarians.

First Sentence: The Narrows remind me of August nights in the South.

Favorite Character: Wesley

Least Favorite Character: Patrick



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.


18 comments:

  1. You need to read The Near Witch! It's very good :-) great review and I agree--The Archived was very original--can't wait for book 2

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    1. The Near Witch keeps glaring at me from its perch on my shelf. I'll try to get to it sooner rather than later. So glad to hear you also loved The Archived.

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  2. OoOo I love orginal concepts. Since the sequel is coming out next month, I'll be sure to pick up The Archived before the sequel comes out.

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    1. I'm counting down the days for the sequel!

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  3. I actually just read this. I'm excited my wait for book 2 won't be that long! Another book that surprised me!

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    1. I thought the entire premise was so unique and cool. How could a book nerd not be pulled into the world of the Archive?

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  4. This was a great book. I loved it! Great review.

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  5. When I first heard about this one, I just glimpsed over it, but the more people talked about it the more interested I became and now I really want to read it!!!

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    1. Good - it's really worth the time. It's one of the most creative YA novels I've read in awhile.

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  6. It is interesting the way the narrative switches between past and present. That is something fun and different. History has never been a favorite of mine, but I am intrigued :-)

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    1. I think even non-history lovers will enjoy this one. It's more of a mystery than a historical fiction.

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  7. LOVED LOVED LOVED this one!! Mack and Wes were amazing together and I love the writing - she's an awesome author:)

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    1. I also enjoyed the chemistry between Mack and Wes. I'm so excited to see them in the sequel!

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  8. bought this book but havent read it yet - it sounds so unique. :o

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  9. I've been wanting to read this book. I'm surprised it isn't that popular among other book bloggers.

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  10. Another book that I've been waiting to read!! Loved your review. Can't wait to get this one too!

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