“The Archived (The Archived #1)” by Victoria Schwab
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy,
Summary from Goodreads:
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.
As a wannabe librarian, the idea of an almost library like place for the dead caught my attention. The world was richly imagined which was completely necessary for the story to work. Not to mention a very original world. I’ve never seen any world like this before. We’ve got the Archive where Histories (the dead) are stored. Sometimes Histories wake up so the Keepers keep them from reaching the ‘real world’.
I’m never a fan of love triangles but this one was really weird and felt a bit forced. Everything about Owen screamed WRONG. From the moment he was introduced, I was annoyed at Mac for not sending him back. I’m not sure if she had real feelings for him or was just using him (for information or to calm her mind) but either way everything about them was icky. Then there was Wes. Of course the cute boy she meets is a Keeper. It was just too convenient for me but it was nice that he could shed some light on the world that Mac wasn’t able to.
I would have been happy just left to explore and learn about the Archive. We couldn’t just have that story so there needed to be a mystery brewing in the Archive as well. I thought the mystery was well done. I could see pieces adding up but they certainly didn’t end up like I was expecting.
The story was interesting and well done but the characters were a bit lacking. Many of the characters have their “thing” and that’s all we know about them. Mac is a Keeper and trying to move on from her brother and grandfather’s deaths. Her mom is grieving by throwing herself into new jobs and hobbies. Her dad is grieving by supporting Mac and his wife. Wes is a good Keeper. That’s it. There’s a sequel so hopefully the characters are fleshed out a bit more in it.
The bottom line? A fascinating, original story.