Review: The Archived

The Archived by Victoria Schwab
Series: The Archived
Pages: 328
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Mystery
My Rating: 3/5
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

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“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.”

* * *

I have to admit, I was drawn to this book because of the synopsis. “Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.” Okay, so the supernatural world kind of intrigues me, mostly due to personal experiences, but still…

The Archived was an interesting read and I am by no means going to berate it. It was fun, quick, and it kept my attention so I read it in one sitting. So why the 3/5 rating? Where to start, where to start…

I feel as if I would’ve enjoyed The Archived more had I read it at a younger age. This doesn’t usually bother me, considering I still sometimes pick up Dr. Suess books, but there was something about it that really made me feel out of place. Not only that, but I feel as if it wasn’t written as well as it could’ve been. I’m not the best writer in the world, but if we put ourselves out there, there’s always going to be criticism.

I really enjoyed the idea that Schwab allowed to unfold though. Mackenzie’s grandfather was apart of a secret organization that only certain people could ever be part of. He decided to choose Mackenzie. After Da (her grandfather) dies, all she has is herself, and she finds herself in the position of constantly lying to those she loves to protect them.

Every day is a bit of a struggle as she feels more alone than she ever did before. Da’s gone, her brother is gone, and her parents moved her away from her best friend! But maybe the new place will bring more adventure…?

Mackenzie meets some interesting people in this weird old building, and finds herself putting pieces of a puzzle together, all while finding love (it’s a YA, it’s not a spoiler, c’mon now). Will she ever come out on top? Read and find out.

Overall, The Archived was a good read. I’m not sure I’d ever read it again, but the idea was solid, it’s just a shame it wasn’t written better. This is probably best suited for someone in the 11-16 age range. But I promise, it really wasn’t bad! It just wasn’t as solid as I wanted it to be… nor as captivating.

Will I read the sequel? Probably. Just to see how it ends, and if the writing style improves at all.

Enjoy, and happy reading!

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