25/07/2014

Review: The Archived {Victoria Schwab}



Written by Victoria Schwab

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 there 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 violent Histories from waking up and getting out. But being a Keeper isn’t just dangerous, it’s a constant reminder of those Mac has lost – like Da and her little brother. 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.

This story has such a fresh and unique idea spurring it on, that it's hard not to become fascinated with the world Victoria Schwab has created. From the labyrinth Narrows; desolate corridors lined with portals, where the dead escape; to the Archive, which hosts the Histories, shelving them like books. And then the Histories themselves; ghosts of what people once were, confused and endlessly dangerous. 

It's a world brimming with detail and originality, that I found myself unduly fascinated with. Victoria Schwab did a fantastic job of describing this eerie other world and contrasting it with Mac's everyday life; her family VS the librarians, her home VS the archive. It was light and dark, good and evil, black and white and grey.

Mac was a fantastic leading character, perfectly able to coax escaped Histories back to the Archive, either through manipulation or general bad-assery. She was witty, intuitive and committed to making Da proud by doing the best she could as a Keeper.

The flashbacks depicting her relationship with Da were my favourite and really showed the tender and close bond they had. It was beautiful to read about and not only did it give us essential glimpses into Mac's training, but also glimpses into who she was and how she became who she is.

It's sad to follow Mac's story in a way, because death seems to surround her not only in her job, but in her personal life. Da died and then her younger brother did too. She feels alone, which is understandable, and throws herself into her Keeper duties, neglecting real life for the lives of the dead. I rooted for her throughout as she struggled to balance her identities and come to terms with the horrors of her past (and her present).

I won't go into detail about the other characters, because my feelings toward them may spoil some aspects of the book, but I will say this: they were all well-developed with interesting backgrounds and distinct personalities, and they really helped bring the story to life.

With such a varied cast, it was hard to gauge who could be trusted and know who the good guys were, which I thought was a great aspect. It kept me on my toes, that's for sure! 

There were a lot of mysteries and twists that kept me guessing and made sure I never got bored. This book (and it's sequel, which I rushed to read) were filled with non-stop action, amazing character growth and extraordinary world-building. There was a great mix of the everyday and the paranormal and I loved how Schwab combined our world with one shadowed in the supernatural. It was a fantastic contrast and a joy to read! 

"The only way to truly record a person is not in words, not in still frames, but in bone and skin and memory.” 



Allie is a Pimm's-obsessed reader, who dreams of road tripping over America, learning to surf & becoming fluent in all the languages of her heritage (which, sadly, does not include Elvish). If she's not reading or blogging, you can find her catching up on Teen Wolf, or reigning supreme with Scrabble/Mario Kart
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24 comments:

  1. Jas and Rashika and I are planning on reading this next month, so I'm going to do something I haven't done in ages on your blog if not at all: read skimmingly O____O I'm glad you loved the world and truly, based on what I remember from the synopsis, it sounds so neat, unique and wonderful! Yay that you liked Mac as the MC. I can't wait to meet her :) Did you like the romance? I hear that this series has a wonderful, wonderful love interest. Someone Wes? West? Wesley? Idk. Something something lol. Yay that you were kept on your toes ;) Can't wait to read this, my love! (ALSO I ADORE YOUR NEW PIC AND BIO!!!)

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    1. I forgive your skimming, because if it means you go into the book a bit blind and enjoy it more, then that's fine by me! :D

      The romance is good BUT not really explored a lot in this one because there's this thing in the way and ahhhh, I can't explain. Just read it and you'll see lol. The second one is all sorts of awesome though romance-wise (and just in general)!!!

      (AND THANK YOU :D Everyone else seems to have one, so I figured I'd hop on the train haha)

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  2. The only character I found to be irrelevant was Mac's best friend, I can't even think what her name was. She was kind of shoved into the story and had no point, maybe as a foil for Mac to have memories. Otherwise I agree that this had a lot of solid character development!

    Great review!

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    1. yeah, I don't really get her point . . . maybe just to show Mac actually has friends and give her more of a life outside of the Archive? I didn't really mind those parts, but I didn't find them particularly interesting either.

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  3. It's pretty funny that describing the characters could bring some spoilers up. But if their well-developped and you seem to really them so guess they're pretty good ones. I did not read this series and actually forgot about it before reading your review. Oh and twists are always welcome ;) Fantastic review!

    Lola @ Hit or Miss Books

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    1. Yeah, just because my opinions on them might reveal some twists so I don't want to ruin anyone's experience of the book by giving things away :)

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  4. I want to try this one!! Mostly because...it sounds really unique. Like, what books even compare to that?! And mostly everyone rates it high. Eeeh. I should sneak into my library and see if they have it...except I'm "supposedly" on a book borrowing ban. Because, my TBR needs tackling. STOP TEMPTING ME. *dashes to library website regardless*

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    1. Exactly. Like, how did she even thing of the premise? It's so fricking awesome!

      I WILL TEMPT YOU WITH ALL MY REVIEWS BWAHAHAHAHA ;)

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  5. I'm happy you liked this one as well! I read it just a few months ago after hearing so many people rave about it and it was such a nice surprise - made me wonder why I didn't pick it up earlier. The world building was definitely the best part about this book! At first I was a little bit confused with what was going on but it came together really nicely after a while. I could picture everything so clearly in my mind, like I almost feel as it I were playing a movie in my head. I'm really excited to read the sequel now. Apparently it's even better??

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    1. I've read the sequel and really enjoyed it! Much more Wesley time (which is always a good thing) and a lot more things about the Archive revealed. Ends on a bit of a cliffhanger though!

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  6. Ooh great review! I really want to read this.I bought the ebook but it hasn't made it to the top of my tbr yet.

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  7. Oh i've had this one on my TBR since it czme out so I am dying to read it! I've neardgood things about this one but originally the blub didnt intrige me enough to rush out and read it right awzy. That being said this series has gotten a lot lf reviews lately from gne blogging community. Something about the publisher not making ghe third? I'm not sure.

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    1. Yeah, I'm not sure what's going on there. Victoria Schwab has said there will 100% be a third book, but that she's not sure what format it will be released in and if it'll be paperback/hardcover like the first two. It's a shame, but as long as there IS a third book, I won't be complaining!

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  8. The mysteries and twists as well as unique premise makes me want to read this one. Great review and glad to hear you enjoyed

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    1. It's definitely unique! I wish I could come up with ideas as cool as this!

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  9. Wow! I'm intrigued! I've heard a lot of great things about this, but for some reason I've never really considered picking it up, but your review has definitely intrigued me! Character growth, great world-building and a bit of a mystery? I AM SO IN! Thanks for sharing Allie and, as always, BRILLIANT review! <3

    ~ Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf

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    1. Zooeeee, you'll really enjoy trying to work out the mystery (more so in the second book, I think). This is right up your alley!

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  10. Oh wow, this book sounds fantastic all round with the mysteries, the great character development and the world building! I've been really curious about this book for a long time, and I'm excited to hear that you enjoyed it as well Allie! Great review!

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    1. Jeann, check it out, honestly, it's so cool. I don't know why I waited so long to read it myself! The second book leaves things a bit ominously though (total cliff-hanger), so it might annoy you :P

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  11. I agree that this book by Schwab was so very refreshing. I love that all of the books I've read from her so far have been excellent ones; she's truly someone that readers need to look out for. Have you read her Vicious book yet? That was sooooo good. I liked The Archived but that one was the book that made me a fan of her.

    Faye at The Social Potato

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    1. Oh, no I haven't! This series is the first I've seen of her. I'll have to check it out then :) so many books I need to GR stalk!

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  12. I agree with you! I loved this book and Mac was an amazing heroine to look up to. The ending was really surprising and I loved the plot twists. So glad to know the sequel is just as good! Great review, Allie!

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    1. Sequel was awesome (actually, a lot better in some ways!). When you pick it up you will love it. So many more twists!

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