Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Archived (The Archived #1) by Victoria Schwab: review

Goodreads rating: 4.29
ARC, 336 pages
Publication: January 22nd 2013 by Hyperion
Series: The Archived #1
ARC from ALA

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.

First, I'll give you a little background, because I use words that became second nature to be once I finished this book.
~Outer: our world as we know it to be
~Archive: where they catalog and keep the dead
~Narrows: sort of like streets and paths between the Outer and the Archive
~Returning: what Mac does, which sends rogues that have escaped from the Archives back there

I didn't know what I was getting myself into when I started this book. I'd never read anything by Victoria Schwab but I'd heard her writing was superb. And it was! The book started off slightly confusing because it turns out that the book is cut between the past (Da, Mackenzie's grandfather, teaching her to be a Keeper), and the present, where Da is dead and her brother recently died. They're moving to another new place for another one of her mother's new projects as she tries to forget the death of her son. But Mac always has to keep secret the fact that she's a keeper, which slips the notice of her grief-distracted parents. She soon finds a doorway to the Narrows in her new place, and already has a name on the slip of paper that every Keeper gets, along with a key that opens doors to the Narrows. Mackenzie begins encountering things, though, that shouldn't be possible in the Narrows. When she's trying to return a history and he starts to fight back (as they sometimes tend to do), he has a knife (so not normal). And she sees a shadow following her. On top of this horrible and bloody vision that she keeps seeing in her new room, Mac's got a lot on her plate... cue love triangle!

I was team Wesley the whole time. I imagine that, since Keepers have such a dangerous life, they have to do things that keep them sane. Wesley is just that fix for Mac, but he's much more than he seems, and throughout the book he's there to help her. I wish I could say more, but I don't want to give anymore of the book away. Let's just say he's charming, witty, but still has a few big secrets. Owen she meets in a fight with a Return in the Narrows. He sort of saves her and takes a liking to her. He's definitely a complete mystery to Mac because he's not a Keeper, but being out of the Archive hasn't made him insane yet. But Owen has even more secrets, and Mac is putting herself in some serious danger just by being with him. I'm going to just say that I never liked him. There was definitely something off about him, but you'll never guess what. I'm hoping for more romance in the next book. There was kissing going on, but not with the guy I wanted. But by the end of this one, she's really had no choice but to go with one of the guys... I love being cryptic!

Not only does have her crazy mother to deal with and the normal responsibility of being a Keeper, but she's getting even more work now that she's at this place that used to be a hotel. And it turns out that someone is erasing memories. For Keepers, if they touch an object, they can see the memories that are attached to it. That's why Mac keeps getting a vision of a murder in her room when she touches the floor. But on a lot of things in the hotel, she's getting just darkness. And no one knows anything about a murder taking place there at first. Feeling she needs help, she goes to Roland. He's one of the Archivists, and is always helping Mac out. He was there when she first wanted to be a Keeper at a very young age and defended her. He was without a doubt one of my favorite characters. Mac needed a rock to keep her stable, and while I had wanted it to be Wesley, I'm glad it was Roland more than it was Owen. I actually read this last year, but I'll most likely have it on my top ten books of 2013! It was rich in this world that Schwab has created, and I can't wait to see what happens next.


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