Sunday, February 17, 2013

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

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: January 22, 2013
Publisher: Hyperion
328 Pages

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.


As soon as I heard about The Archived, I couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy. Victoria Schwab blew me away with her debut, The Near Witch and when I found out she was releasing a new series, I knew I had to read it. Lucky for me, I won an ARC in a giveaway hosted by Sara McClung and immediately immersed myself in this new world that Ms. Schwab so skillfully weaves. 

Mackenzie Bishop is a keeper. Entrusted with the job that her grandfather, Da, left to her her when she was twelve, Mackenzie sees that lost souls, or Histories, get returned to their resting place in the Archive, a library "where the dead rest on shelves like books." As if dealing with this responsibility after the loss of Da wasn't enough, her younger brother is suddenly killed. Now her parents avoid anything that reminds them of him and move them from their home to The Coronado, an old hotel made into an apartment building. While she deals with these tragedies, she must also solve the mystery of who is releasing the dead from their slumber and erasing their memories. Without discovering the truth, the world she was raised to protect will be destroyed.

This book was not what I was expecting, but it drew me in all the same. There is some predictability, but the unexpected events overrode any annoyance the predictable parts could've caused. The parts I didn't see coming were thrilling, fantastic twists. Not only is the action dark, but backstories of the characters from The Archived are dark and often depressing. This book had me tearing up more than once. The author portrays the characters' emotions perfectly. I felt real pain when Mac lamented about her brother, Ben, or her Da. She loved them both very much and it's obvious in the way she speaks about them. Absolutely heartbreaking. It was almost masochistic how much I enjoyed the angst in this novel.

Mackenzie made some decisions with which I didn't agree throughout the novel. Though it was hard to get on board with those choices, the reason for her making them was understandable. It makes a book that much better when an author can make you like a character, even when you don't like what they do. Victoria Schwab as some serious talent. 

The Archived has romance, but it is not the focal point of the story, and though there are two "love interests," it didn't feel like a love triangle. I don't really know how to explain it. It's almost like, instead of loving both of these boys, she's using one to hide behind and refusing herself the connection to the other. It's not annoyingly tormenting as other triangles. While I personally didn't like one of the boys, I adored the other. I think he's absolutely wonderful and I wish he was real so that I could date him. He quickly made his way into my heart, unlike the other boy, whom I was never able to trust. The decision was obvious to me, but it took Mac awhile to get there.

The Archived really felt like it came full circle. There were definitely things that could've been expand on and others that could've been perfected, but overall, I absolutely loved it. The end, especially, left me extremely satisfied. Throughout the book the audience will watch as Mackenzie grows as a person and her character development is extremely realistic. You could tell that she learned a lot from her experiences and became a more mature person because of her mistakes.

Saying that I'm excited for the next book would be a huge understatement. Some things I would like to play out:  as I said earlier, I really hope that Mac hashing out the past with her parents will be a big part, as well as her friendships with the Librarians, her friendship with Wesley -  and more about him and his past - and more about the other Coronado residents. I cannot wait to see what Ms. Schwab makes of this series. There is so much she could do with it and I honestly have no idea what is coming next!

I won an ARC of this novel in a giveaway.


  1. Fabulous review. Like you, I adored this one and The Near Witch. I agree with the love triangle. It really didn't bother me. I also look forward to finding out more about Wesley in the next book.

  2. I want to read this BADLY. I haven't read The Near Witch either. :( I actually have the preview of this on my Kindle, but I didn't want to start it and then have to wait till the book was released to finish. I guess I don't have to wait anymore. :) Great review!

  3. I love the idea for this story - so original! I've been wanting to read it so am glad to see that you liked it so much! Now, I really can't wait to read it :)

  4. Love your review. Can't wait to get my copy so I can read all about the twists in the story. :)

  5. Great review. I bought a copy of this as soon as it was out but havent gotten around to it. Ill have to bump it up the pile.

  6. I love the idea of this. I am bumping it to the top of my wishlist immediately!

  7. I'm dying to read The Archived!! Everyone loves it and the concept looks unique. And the cover- it's absolutely smashing.


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