Review: The Archived by Victoria Schwab

Sunday, April 27, 2014

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The Archived by Victoria Schwab 

Release Date: January 2013 
Publisher: Hyperion 
Age Group: Young Adult 
Pages: 328 
Source: Preordered 
Series: TheArchived (#1) 
Other Titles in the Series: The Unbound (#2) 

Summary (  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.

My Review:
Victoria Schwab is not only one of my favorite writers, but one of my favorite people as well. She is just such a wonderful, empathetic person, as is obvious if you were to follow her twitter. I’ve followed her career since 2011 and every time she posts that she has sold a new book my heart just soars for her! With my admiration for her in mind, I don’t understand why I waited so long to read the copy of The Archived that I preordered as soon as I had finished her first novel, The Near Witch (you can read my review of that HERE).

I was a fool to wait so long. The Archived is, quite simply put, perfection in book form. It has everything I want in a book: great storytelling, funny dialogue, well-fleshed out characters and a new world! Oh and keys! I have a fascination with keys, especially old-fashioned skeleton ones and this book just took that fascination and turned it into a full blown obsession. Keys play a huge role in this book, I won’t tell you anymore than that, but just know that I thought it was genius! What I liked most about The Archived, other than the glorious keys of course, was how Victoria described the Narrows and the Archive itself. She has a command over the English language that I couldn’t even begin to describe with my limited command over it. Hers are among the few books that I can truly visualize myself diving into. Victoria’s world building skills never cease to amaze me, the amount of detail she adds to her stories is perfect and I can see how much time and sanity she puts into every one. The language she uses is also the equal mix of contemporary (dialogue, ect.) and fantasy (the descriptions and such). This also can be applied to the settings in The Archived because they really bring to mind the phrase, “the familiar rendered strange.” Hotels, Libraries, even HALLWAYS are rendered strange in this, which adds another level of depth to the novel. I could go on and on about how everything in The Archived was amazing, but I will let you read it for yourself. Just know that I cannot wait to dive into its sequel, The Unbound.