Title/Author: The Archived by Victoria SchwabPublisher/Year Published: 2013 by Hyperion
How I got this book:The library
Why I read this book: The summary sounded really interesting to me.
Rating: 3 stars
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.
The Archived is a book that I wanted to like more than I think I actually did. Doesn't that summary sound super interesting? Well, it was and it wasn't. The Archive is told in flashbacks of memories had with Da, our heroines grandfather (which is not explained and I thought it was her father for a while until I realized) teaching her to be a Keeper, and the present day where her family has just moved across town to an old hotel converted to apartments to escape the memory of her suddenly departed younger brother.
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.
There is a lot going on in this story. The flashback, the grief of her parents (both who are handling it differently), her job as a Keeper and that whole world of the Archive, the move to the hotel, the opening of the coffee shop, you get the gist. At first this is a bit overwhelming, but once the plot kicks in a bit more (later than I would have hoped) it get's its sea legs. The plot is a mix of mystery and suspense.
Mac is a Keeper so she gets to go to The Archive and the Narrows (the world between the worlds). The Narrows are what she is suppose to keep clean from woken Histories. Her job is to guide them back to sleep. Because she has just moved she is assigned to a new territory and there is where things get strange.
The characters are just as much of a jumble as the plot. The characters never really connected with me and it felt like we had only scratched the surface with them. Mac herself acts erratic at times, and I am not sure if it is her reaction to grief or just story telling that I didn't connect to. Wes, our requisite friend, however is awesome. He is a character that pops up, and I just want to hang out with him.
That was my problem with this. There are a lot of things that are pretty cool concepts, but the execution left me feeling like an outsider looking in. Ben's (Mac's brother) death is a whole lot more core to the story then the summary makes it sound. The plot is pretty predictable once that shows up. I think my favorite character was Wes. This story needing more time with him.
I think the world building was just okay. It goes back to my "This is a great concept, but poor execution" thing. Will this book work for some people? Sure. It's not unreadable by any means. It is also one of those sneaky series books I didn't know was a series. But the one good thing it has going for it is that is can be read as a stand alone. I am perfectly content. I see where she can keep going, but I dont need to follow.
Overall, the book was okay. If the summary interests you maybe check it out from the library or read the sample. I think you would be able to tell pretty quickly if it was worth your time.