Review: The Archived

◆ The Archived by Victoria Schwab
◆ Read August 2013
◆ English Edition
❝ 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. ❞
One of the main reasons why I enjoyed The Archived so much is because it is a real gem among stones in terms of originality, without being a rip-off of other novels in the same genre. The plot and worldbuilding presented itself to me as something completely new and exciting, unlike anything I had read before. I have to admit that it is complex and the concept is hard to understand at first, which is the reason why I gave the book four stars instead of five. It took me a while to figure out what various terms meant.

Once you do though, it is a fast read that will leave you wanting more. The protagonist is a female teenager, capable of handling stuff herself most of time without needing to be saved by a man (god knows how badly we love female characters like that!). Furthermore, she's realistically written, especially when you take into account her predicament of leading a double life of sorts. As a reader you quickly start to feel sympathy for her.

There is no lack of a love interest either. In fact, there are two, though it doesn't concern a love triangle in any way (phew!). Both male characters - apart from serving as love interests - are interesting in their own right and I loved it when either made an appearance.

Lastly, a lot happens in just one book so it is never slow-paced or boring. Because the plot contains certain mysteries and/or unanswered questions you simply want to keep reading until the end! The fact that Schwab's writing style is so appealling (no ridiculously long descriptions, nor monotonous) really adds to that.

I recommend this book to anybody, really, because I can't think of a reason why somebody wouldn't enjoy it on at least some level, let alone that somebody would hate it.

4 stars because:
✓ Super original concept
✓ Likeable characters
✓ Fastmoving and exciting plot
✗ Terminology hard to understand at first


Brilliant Bookshelf

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