Title: The Archived
Author: 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 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.
This book took me a while to read for two reasons. One – I was a few chapters in when I started rereading another series, which had five books, before reading its spin-off series, which currently has three books, so that took me away from this book for at least a few weeks; and Two – it just didn’t catch my interest initially. The first few chapters were kind of confusing and protagonist Mackenzie “Mac” Bishop didn’t really interest me. Initially, it looked like this was going to be similar to Victoria Schwab’s debut, The Near Witch, which I thought was an interesting enough book but not amazing. Luckily, it got much more interesting after the first 50 or so pages, at least for me.
Like I said, the beginning was pretty slow and kind of confusing. For one thing, Mac calls her grandfather “Da.” There are plenty of different names for grandparents and I’m not going to judge anyone for using “Mema” or “Mama” or “Pap-pa” (not sure how to spell all those names – I just called my grandparents “Grandma” and “Grandpa”), but it’s a bit confusing because Da could just as easily be her Dad. Then suddenly Mac’s talking about her Dad, and I’m left wondering who “Da” is. I think I read a review mentioning this awhile ago, but I didn’t remember it so I was quite confused at first.
Mac is also one of those teenagers who’s always griping about her parents. They experienced a loss, just like she did, but she’s mad at her mom for trying too hard to get over it and pretending that everything is fine, and while she’s annoyed that her dad isn’t really over it either, she seems much more hostile (at least in her head) toward her mother. I understand that she’s going through a lot, but I kind of felt bad for her parents, especially her mother, even though they didn’t know what she thought of them.
After I got through the beginning and this was the only book I was reading, things got better. I was interested in the main mystery and I was definitely thrown by the end. I feel like it’s the type of twist that some people might see coming, but I was surprised. Slight spoiler: I was also happy with the romance – initially I thought it was turning into a love triangle, but I think this twist changed things.
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with the way this book ended up going and I definitely plan on checking out the next book. It was initially confusing but once I got into it, it was definitely worth the read.