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The Archived by Victoria Schwab
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The Archived (2013)

by Victoria Schwab

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If you could stroll through a library of the dead, whose memories would you want to read?

It's the question that came to me after I finished THE ARCHIVED. Honestly, going in I wasn't expecting this book to be as amazing as it was. The book begins with a back and forth in time that serves to not only reveal more of the world-building, the Archived, and all its components, but also establishes a strong emotional bond with the Archived. Because the information was relayed through Mac's grandfather, it allowed the reader to associate the Archive with the warm memories of Mac's childhood. I was sceptical of the back and forth at first, but not only did it beautifully open up the world without dumping info, but the tone and tension of each shortened scene actually made me ache for the next flashback, even if there was no overarching action taking place within them.

Mackenzie's character opened up rather nicely. I was worried because in the beginning she came off as a tad bland, and I worried that would be a constant. Nothing worse than cardboard when you're looking for meat. But Mac proved me wrong. The way the character opened up, both with the flashbacks and then later with her actions and admissions, it made me almost feel as if I was getting to know her one on one, and the more I discovered about her passion for the Archive, for closure, and as the pieces of her character came together, the more I grew to like her.

The rest of her characters shone through beautifully, including the antagonists of the story. Though throughout the book, the antagonists remain a mystery, I had my suspicions and was proved right in some cases, however I was surprised that at certain points I didn't want them to be the villains. They were well done characters with wonderful motivation, but more than that, the glimpses into their humanity really sealed the book for me.

Besides the characters, I absolutely adored the world-building. The Archive itself is a wonderful idea, where history is at your fingertips. The vast, gleaming world of the Archived coupled with the dark and craggy Narrows made for great atmosphere and a fascinating backdrop. I found the use of keys and doors and locks fit so nicely with the secrecy and deceit that makes up the Archive. And just as the writing would have you believe you were looping through the Narrows, pursued by Histories, the plot is as thick and creamy as clam chowder. (Is that an expression? It is now.) As I writer, it was an absolute joy to read, because it was as though I could see each plotline spread out like threads across the pages. I couldn't always guess what was coming, but I was given enough information to guess and ponder, which I love when you've got a mystery on your hands.

All in all, the Archived was pleasantly surprising. I didn't expect to fall as in love with it as I did, but it has left me pondering death and legacies and with a wonderful book hangover. This is a book that sinks into your skin and stays there, quiet but insistent. ( )
  KatCarson | Nov 23, 2017 |
Loved it! ( )
  Verkruissen | Aug 12, 2017 |
I like that this book went in a different direction with ghosts (or whatever you want to call them). It was nice to read a fantasy book with a storyline and characters that haven't been hashed and rehashed. This book is a lot of fun and a good mystery. I'm excited to read the next one (and any other books by Victoria Schwab). ( )
  ladonna37 | Jan 24, 2017 |
Victoria Schwab is a new favorite author. I've read two books by her - A Darker Shade of Magic, which I loved (sequel comes out in February) - and this one, which, as you can see by my star rating, I also loved.

This book has an interesting premise, with the Archive being a place that exists in a different world, and Histories being flesh and blood echoes of the dead. Something is going on in the Archive, and Mackenzie, a young keeper, finds herself smack in the middle of it.

I really can't decide what genre to call this book. A bit urban fantasy, but without vampires or shifters or the usual trappings of UF, a bit of a mystery.

Mac is a great character, as is Wesley, her love interest in guyliner. There is a sequel, but this book stands alone with a complete resolution. It's a quick, fun YA fantasy that I highly recommend. ( )
  moonlight_reads | Dec 11, 2016 |
I feel as though I've been reading books/watching shows about librarians recently, and everyone of them had a different spin to it, and that alone is impressive.

However, I think that if I haven't already read a "librarian tale" before this one, I might have been more impressed. While I LOVED the idea of the dead being kept in libraries where librarians can read their history, I was slightly disappointed that THAT part didn't play a super significant role. I was also a little disappointed that Mackenzie didn't figure out at least one part of the mystery earlier. She has years of experience as a Keeper, but she seemed so inexperienced when it came to certain things.

There was a whiff of a love triangle, however it enhanced the story rather than take away from it.

While I did enjoy the peeks into her training with her Grandfather, sometimes the flashbacks came at times that jarred be out of the present narrative.

Overall, a lovely and quick read. ( )
  iShanella | Dec 2, 2016 |
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"When an otherworldly library called the Archive is compromised from within, sixteen-year-old Mackenzie Bishop must prevent violent, ghost-like Histories from escaping into our world"--

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