Title: The Archived
Author: Victoria Schwab
Year: original 2013, this edition 2014
Page Count: 352 Pages
Before starting this blog, I was the kind of reader who would just read the whole book in one sitting. This would normally mean I would finish a book within four to seven hours depending on the length of the book. I daresay there were things I may have missed when reading this way, but I always get so absorbed in books that I don’t even care. Since reading to write reviews, my reading pace has slowed, as I have to stop to take notes for books. For The Archived by Victoria Schwab, I can tell I loved this book due to the lack of notes I have written on it. The story kept me so invested that I didn’t even pause to take notes (I literally have two sentences of notes. That’s it. Oops!). So this review may be a little short. Just know that this is a book that is so incredibly amazing.
The Archived tells the tale of Mackenzie Bishop (Mac), a 16-year-old girl who has inherited the role of a keeper from her grandfather Da. A keeper is someone who stops violent Histories (kind of like ghosts but in this world they are called Histories) from getting back into the real world. This job takes a hard toll on Mac, especially since she gets physically hurt and must lie to everyone she knows. Mac is also struggling with the death of her younger brother, and she spends hours in the Archive (a library that keeps histories as opposed to books) just sitting by the cabinet that holds the history of her brother. By accident, Mac discovers that someone is erasing certain histories from the archive, histories that are linked to the building she lives in, and as Mac delves deeper into these secrets, the whole Archive is compromised, as greater amounts of Histories are erased. Mac needs to solve the mystery before there is no Archive left.
There are so many things I loved about this book. I loved the writing. Schwab has a beautiful way with words. Seeing as how I took barely any notes, I have no specific examples of this beautiful writing; just know it’s there. I also loved how Schwab wrote this book with an alternating mix of first and second person perspectives. The majority of the book is told in Mac’s first person view, but when there is a flashback to when her grandfather is alive, Schwab uses both first and second. It sounds strange, and I don’t really know how best to explain this, but I really loved how the two perspectives contrasted. I also really loved the characters. Mac was just such a beautiful character, and I loved being inside her head. I loved her relationship with Wesley, and I love that Wesley was also a keeper. I feel like I just used the word love so many times in this paragraph. My bad.
I also adore this stunningly beautiful cover. I currently own this in a paperback version, but since the sequel is currently only available in hardback, I think I’m going to cave and buy the hardback of the Archived as well!
There was not much that annoyed me about this book. I did feel that parts of it were a little confusing. Primarily, the descriptions of the Narrows, the Archive, and the rest of this world building confused me the most. Schwab spends a good half of the novel putting detail into this world and explaining everything, so it wasn’t a lack of explanation that was confusing. It was more just trying to wrap my head around everything, and remembering all the background information in later scenes that confused me. Due to this, the beginning of this book seems to be a little slow, but it definitely does not take long to pick up in pace.
So I couldn’t remember any specific quotes from this book that I really loved, so I went on Goodreads to find some. So here are two quotes from this book that are just stunningly beautiful (they also showcase some of Schwab’s beautiful writing):
“You’re trying to block out every bit of noise. But people are made of noise, Mac. The world is full of noise. And finding quiet isn’t about pushing everything out. It’s just about pulling yourself in.”
“Because the only way to truly record a person is not in words, not in still frames, but in bone and skin and memory.”
I adored The Archived so much. It is entertaining, haunting, and downright beautiful. It can keep you invested, and it will leave you wanting to read more from this world. I give the Archived 5 stars, and although this review is not the greatest at explaining how wonderful this book is, it is definitely a book that you should go and read, because I am sure you will enjoy it as much as I did.