Title: The Archived (#1)
Author: Victoria Schwab
On the Shelves: Young Adult> Fantasy
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 (Goodreads 2014)
This book first appeared on my radar through the booktubers I watch, back in 2013. I’ve waited over a year to read this, simply because it was unavailable to get in the UK for the longest time, and then I had to wait to actually have the money to afford it. So, now that I’ve read it, what did I actually think?
Most of the booktubers gave this book 5/5 stars, and after a year of waiting to read it, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t go into this book with high expectations. It sounds like it is right up my street, a library of dead souls? Hell yes. Well, it fell short of my expectations, sadly. While the premise is good, I feel like it has been poorly executed. The writing didn’t really draw me in. I didn’t care about most of the characters or feel attached to them in any way, and annoyingly, I predicted the plot about ¼ of the way in. Also, I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: not every YA book needs a love triangle, or even a love interest at all- and this certainly didn’t. I saw absolutely no point in that triangle, and to be honest, I don’t even think there should have been any romance in the book at all. It wasn’t necessary, it wasn’t crucial to the plot and to be honest, it just shifted the focus away from the main story. I feel like this book would’ve been much stronger had the plot just stayed completely focused on Mac dealing with learning to be a Keeper and dealing with all the drama that comes along with it- along with the issue of what was occurring in the Archive itself. I’m keeping this review spoiler free, so I won’t go into detail about the plot points which didn’t work well for me.
The world building wasn’t awful, like I said, the premise of the story was really cool and had definite potential to be brilliant but…I feel like the whole thing just got too wrapped up in the love interests and didn’t stay focused on what mattered- the actual (and literal) “life and death” issues of the story.