Title: The Archived (The Archived #1)
Author: Victoria Schwab
Publication Date: January 22, 2013
Summary: The dead rest on shelves like books. Each body has a story to tell, a life in pictures only Librarians can read. The dead, called ‘Histories’, rest in 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 tool for staying alive.
Being a Keeper is dangerous and a constant reminder of those she lost, Da and her little brother. Mac wonders about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. Yet someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.
This book was amazing and unique and just a huge breath of fresh air compared to a lot of YA books I’ve been reading lately. After I read this book I got that sort of sick feeling in my stomach, the one that comes with realizing that you’ve totally been missing out on a great book for over a year. The worst part was I picked this up when it first came out, read the first like three pages, then didn’t pick it back up again until now. What is wrong with me?!
Just the atmosphere in this book really got to me. It was so tense and creepy and I constantly has this tingly feeling on the back of my neck, like something was just off. And there was never really any sort of break from it. The hotel that Mackenzie is living in is super old and dusty and strange, a place where murders happens and people are keeping secrets. Then when she has to go to The Narrows, it’s beyond spooky and just this big dark maze of corridors and closed doors and it gives you the jeebies. The only time you feel like she might be remotely safe is when she is actually in The Archive with all the dead bodies. How messed up is that?
Mac was a really interesting character for me, it’s obvious that she has a lot of issues she has to deal with, from the death of her younger brother, to constantly lying to her parents. I feel like she has a lot of mixed feelings about her life and being a Keeper, she seems to love having a sense of purpose, but finds out that she has been lied to a lot and she also has to struggle with the temptation of knowing that her brother could come back to life. I found myself feeling bad for Mac a lot though, I think she was brought into being a Keeper too young, a little girl that just wanted to make her grandfather proud and didn’t actually know what she was signing up for. She has obviously proved to be more than capable with handling Histories that wake up, but it still makes me sad that she doesn’t really have a choice anymore.
One of the things that I loved most about this book was Wes. Damn, I loved this boy so much, even though we don’t get a whole lot of time with him. I loved that sense of release he gives Mac by letting her be honest and share her secrets and they have this strange sort of intimacy because of it. They both have things to teach and show one another, but they have a sort of flow about their relationship that makes them fit together and I love it. He was also really funny and playful sometimes, providing contrast to Mac’s constantly serious personality, and he provided a lot of comic relief, something that this book definitely needed at times. I can’t wait to see more of him in the next book, he was my favorite character and such a cutie.
The plot in this book was a little slow and confusing in the beginning, and it took a little bit for the pace to pick up. I was confused when I first started because I thought “Da” was her dad, not her grandfather. But once the pace started picking up, I couldn’t put this book down. I really liked how we would get peeks back to important times with her grandfather, when he was teaching her about being a Keeper. She obviously had a very close relationship with him and you can see that through her memories. Between the flashbacks, the glimpses of the past in her hotel that she gets, and all of the mysteries, this book really kept my attention. It wasn’t predictable at all, a few things happen that caught me completely off guard and I loved how it really kept me guessing.
Overall, I absolutely loved this book. If you can make it past the kind of confusing and slow beginning, I promise, it will completely be worth it. The characters are interesting and the world is unsettling, the writing is absolutely beautiful and makes you feel like you are really part of this world. The story and concepts themselves were so unique and well formed, but enough was withheld that I hope the next books goes a lot more into how exactly The Archive works.