Release Date ~ January 22, 2013
Hyperion ~ Disney Book Group
ARC received from Hachette Book Group Canada
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.
Victoria's debut The Near Witch was a book so enchanting that I told myself I had to read anything she wrote afterwards. And luckily for me, The Archived is a book that appeals to my literary taste.
Victoria incorporates mystery, slight morbid curiousity, determined young woman, and an appreciation for the past in her newest release.
- Writing style that perfectly sets the mood:
I praised Victoria's writing in The Near Witch for its whimsical yet eerie style that accurately reflected the unearthly setting. Victoria utilizes this talent of hers and applies it to The Archived - Mac's voice is distinctively Southern and strikingly mature in some ways and young in others. Her familiarity with The Archives is notable, particularly when contrasted with her frustration at home with her family. The reader doesn't just read Mac's words, but feels them and experiences them as much as a reader can.
- A ghost story...without ghosts?
The Archived makes the comment a few times that Histories are not ghosts and explains the differences between the two. So while it may not be a story about ghosts per se, it has the distinct flavour of a ghost story and all the good things that come with one. It's very creepy at some points, and fairly dark.
- Reflections on living & the past:
Mac spends a significant portion of the book pondering the meaning of life and death and what it all means to the dead and those they leave behind. And this is where I can best describe this book as making me feel terribly homesick! I am personally petrified by the thought of losing those I love dearly, and this is one of the key themes of the book and one of life's most personal struggles. We will all experience it in one way or another, and as Mac tries to make sense of her grief, all it made me want to do was give my grandparents and sister and everyone the BIGGEST hug and hold them close. It's just so raw and painful - very, very real.
It took me a little while to adapt to the world though, and the reader is very much launched into it with little warning. Mac gradually explains bits and pieces of her world and involvement as a Keeper, and while that works well for staying away from any info-dumping or lengthy explanations, it also makes for a rather confusing beginning to a book.
I was a bit split on my impression of the villain as well. For the most part I thought it was clever and surprising, but about half of it seemed thrown it without much background or any hints. It was ultimately less fulfilling than I had anticipated.
A good book will resonate with its reader, and make you think and most importantly, FEEL. I can't stress how well The Archived accomplished that with my experience reading it. It delivered as a breath of fresh air in YA, and I can't wait to read the rest of the series as well as Victoria's other upcoming books.