The Archived by Victoria Schwab
the first book in the Archived trilogy
published on January 22, 2013 by Hyperion
fantasy | mystery | romance
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.
I was a little hesitant to get into this one, despite having read plenty of raving reviews on it. I mean, more raves just means higher expectations! Luckily, The Archived did not disappoint!
The story itself was what captivated me the most. I am a huge fan of creepy books with unique, odd and dark themes and ideas. In fact, because I loved how creep-tastic this book was, it was part of my favorite 2013 books under the horrific books category. Schwab created a world filled with Histories. These Histories are bodies of those who have died (together with their memories and experiences) and are kept in the Archive.The Archive is kind of like a huge library filled with bodies. Odd, I know. Which is exactly why the story drew me in. I shudder every time I read this quote:
“Because the only way to truly record a person is not in words, not in still frames, but in bone and skin and memory.”
Aside from the absolutely gorgeous story, we also have some fun yet strong characters. Our heroine, Mac, acted and thought like an average teenager–with just a little bit more sass. And she knew how to pick a fight. If only I were like her, my life would be so much more exciting. Her character also has some depth, though. She went through a lot (her grandfather and younger brother both passed away) and although there were some times where she seemed lost and confused, she made up for it with her badass-ness.
There is also a sort-of-but-not-really love triangle, but do not worry! It may piss you off (like it did with me) in the beginning/middle of the story, but by the end everything is crystal clear! (At least to me.) To be honest, the real romance (it’s hard to explain so just read the book) is just very subtle but sweet. I absolutely adored Wesley and his quirky attitude. I need some sort of Wesley in my life. The other guy, Owen, did not interest me at all. The twist regarding his character did not really shock me at all. Wesley’s character also had a little twist, but it was revealed early on in the story.
All of the other side characters were really interesting. We have Roland, one of the Librarians in the Archive. He acted as Mac’s mentor, but more than that, he was her friend. Even if we didn’t really meet his character, Mac’s grandfather definitely seemed like a kind, intelligent guy. I wish we’d had more time to get to know his character, but sadly, the guy’s dead.
All in all, the book had the right amount of action and paranormal aspects mixed in with ordinary life. I’m kind of torn between calling it a light read and a dark read, honestly, but it’s really both. We got a look into Mac’s life in the ordinary world where she had friends (a friend?), helped her family and all that. But we also got the more mysterious side of things, where Mac had to fight the bad guys, capture Histories and learn more about the Archive.