The Archived by Victoria Schwab: Review

Posted 21 January, 2013 by Emily in book review / 5 Comments

The Archived by Victoria Schwab: ReviewThe Archived by Victoria Schwab
Series: The Archived #1
Published by Disney-Hyperion on January 22, 2013
Genres: Young Adult, General, Love & Romance, Fantasy & Magic, Paranormal
Pages: 336
Format: Advanced Review Copy
Source: Disney-Hyperion

I received this book for free from Disney-Hyperion in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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four-stars

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 that 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 hardwon redemption. Advance praise for THE ARCHIVED:  “This gripping supernatural thriller features nuanced characters navigating a complex moral universe.” –Kirkus Reviews

There is a place, hidden in cracks and crevices where the dead rest on shelves like books. Their stories available to those who can read them. Librarians watch over the stacks of Histories. The Keepers return the occasionally History that just won’t rest. Mackenzie is a Keeper, like her grandfather before her. The job of Keeper has always been dangerous, but when the number of restless histories increases and pieces of the Archived are erased all together, Mackenzie has to figure out what’s going on, or risk the crumbling of the entire Archive.

As with almost all novels dealing with the difficult subject of death, The Archived is sad. Mackenzie and her family are dealing with the loss of her little brother. It’s the kind of loss that really makes you ache. There isn’t any replacing someone that you loved so much, especially when they are taken too soon. And that ache definitely pulses through the pages. So, when Mackenzie spends time sitting by her brother’s spot on the shelf, you can’t help but wish you were there with her.

I’m always skeptical about novels relating to the afterlife. I haven’t found many that have really connected with me. The world shown in The Archived is imaginative, descriptive, and haunting. Because when we die, what are we really besides the memory and history that we leave behind?

There is plenty of action, mystery and just a little pinch of romance. The Archived, even with its sad moments is wonderfully hopeful. Even though the sting of death is real for those who are left behind, the memories of them are still with us. And time lessens the hurt and with time, the bitterness fades and the taste that is left is sweet.

Emily

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5 Responses to “The Archived by Victoria Schwab: Review”

  1. It sounds rather fascinating, though the thought of the dead little brother makes me anxious (before I had kids of my own, I was so much more blase!)

  2. I agree with you regarding books talking about the afterlife. It's so hard to tackle that issue without either getting into the minefield of religion or just being trite. I thought that this book took a very creative view of it and it ended up being a very touching and interesting story.

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