Release Date: January 22, 2013
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 that 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 hardwon redemption.
Initially I chose to read The Archived because the cover art captured my eye, which is pretty much how I start off finding most books I like. We all like something pretty to look, but it’s even better if said pretty thing has something of substance to go along with it and it turns out The Archived does. When I read the summary of this book it piqued my interest. The premises for The Archived is different than anything I’ve read to date and while I felt slightly disconnected from the main character, Mackenzie Bishop in the first few chapters that changed as the story progressed.
Mackenzie comes off sort of distant and a bit cold in the beginning. The way she regards things is almost clinical, but we learn as the story goes on that’s how she was taught to view things and there’s a reason for that. What she feels is so much more than we think and honestly I’m not sure if I would be able to be as objective as she is about things in the beginning if I had to do what she does. Victoria Schwab, the author of this book, does a magnificent job of painting a picture of this ethereal world and wrapping it in a whirlwind of mystery for the reader to unwind.
The details are subtle, creating enough of an image to spark a picture in your mind, but leaving your imagination to put together rest. You don’t even realize you’re being sucked into this world until chapter nine when Mackenzie is standing with Wesley in the garden saying goodbye and you realize the sneak peak of the book has ended as you desperately try to flip the page of your Kindle Fire to get to the next part.
I’m not sure how I feel about the format yet, as the flashbacks Mackenzie has seem to appear out of nowhere making the first few chapters a bit confusing to read. But once you learn to spot the way things go back and forth, for me it was around chapter four, it gets easier to follow what’s happening. The main idea presented in the book about the archive and the three different sets of jobs really is interesting and while the beginning of the books seems slow I would urge you to stick with it because it does get better.
Overall I’m counting this book as a win. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of it and seeing how Mackenzie deals with knowing another Keeper, solving the mystery of what happened to the man who previously lived in her new apartment, how the whole archive system works, and what happens when a History doesn’t go back where it belongs and instead invades the world around us.