The Archived by Victoria Schwab [book review]

The Archived coverThe Archived by Victoria Schwab
Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon
Release Date: January 22nd 2013
Publisher: Hyperion
Series: The Archived #1, followed by The Unbound

Goodreads description: 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

I won my copy of The Archived from Liza Weimer at WhoRuBlog. She is really nice, so be sure to check her blog (and Twitter) out! I have been interested in The Archived for a while, but I wasn’t completely sure what it was about. I just knew it was paranormal-ish.

Mackenzie is a Keeper, which means she hunts Histories and puts them back in The Archive. She inherited the job from her grandfather. Histories are sort of like ghosts, but they’re technically a record or log of a person. When people die, they go to The Archive. The Archive is basically a library of the dead. Everyone is “recorded.” However, sometimes Histories get out into The Narrows, which is an in between world, and Keepers have to capture them and take them back.

I liked the world, but there was a lot I didn’t really understand. I wasn’t really sure why the dead were kept like logs. Do they just hang around, in case someone else that’s dead needs to see what happened? Like with any version of the afterlife, there are questions. I didn’t understand the why, but it didn’t bother me. This book was interesting and engaging, so while my brain was all “hold up, why are they doing this?” I was still able to enjoy the story!

I really liked Mackenzie. She has a really tough job, dealing with the dead isn’t exactly cheerful. She has to deal with disoriented Histories and try to calm them down and lead them to where they need to go. She also has to deal with the losses in her own life, the changes her family is going through, and just being a teenager. That is a lot to deal with! She doesn’t always have it all together, which makes her all the more interesting to me. She makes mistakes, and she does the wrong thing.

Mac and her family move to a new building. It’s an old building with a lot of character and a lot of stories. For some reason, there’s a lot of abnormal behavior with the Histories and she works with another keeper, Wes. She also discovers that there’s a story behind the building, and someone’s trying to keep it hidden. She has to take care of the extra histories and try to learn who is covering something up and why. The mystery kept me wanting more, and I was surprised when everything was revealed.

Mac seems to be on bad terms with the actual Archive. She does have a friend in Roland, a librarian there. I really liked Roland, he was entertaining. The Archive seems like a scary and interesting place. The end gives an idea of what Mac might deal with in the sequel, and shows that things aren’t neatly tied up.

4 star rating

I really enjoyed The Archived! I wasn’t completely sure what was going on all the time, it was unique, and I didn’t figure everything out! I think it’s a book I would like to read again at some point, and I definitely want to check out the sequel. I wasn’t a huge fan of The Near Witch, but I’ve heard so many great things about Vicious and I want to bump it higher on my TBR list! If you like a different take on ghosts and the afterlife, exciting writing, and

Check out Victoria Schwab‘s website (which is pretty cool) and twitter!