The Archived Series #1
By Victoria Schwab
My Ratings: *****
Review by Denise S.
Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.
Publisher’s Blurb: 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.
~ ~ ~ ~
My Review: The Archived contains a very thought-provoking storyline that is easy to follow and the further you go into it the more intriguing it is. Especially on the whole other world that exists outside of “life.” We are exposed to the realm of the in between, lost in the Narrows and that is where we’ll stay until we see the infamous light. Spirits become Histories to be hunted and guided to their final destination. I find that connection so profound. In essence, we are just a capsule of memories that are developed over many years of lifetime experiences and events. When we cease to exist we become nothing more than a bit of history.
I really enjoyed reading and learning about Mackenzie Bishop and the life she leads. Her vivid memories of her encounters with Da were very helpful for me to understand why she is the way she is. I like that on random moments she reverts back to her conversations with Da and his teachings. We start to get a clear picture of who he was as a person and how he plays a crucial role in her life decisions.
On these occasional flashbacks, her memory of her brother is not that far behind. It’s never easy dealing with a loss but to lose someone so close and know the secrets of where they end up is even more difficult. How do you move forward knowing your loved ones become Histories waiting to be Archived away? Mackenzie is a History hunter, a Keeper. Who knew hunting Histories required so much intense training where quick wit and precision is of the utmost importance. For a 16 year she has had to grow up fast and learn so much in order to survive the Narrows.
I feel I must add a little tidbit about my other favorite character, Wes. He’s a punk rock nerd who randomly gets introduced to us out of nowhere but nonetheless leaves a memorable mark. I really liked him not just because he had so much in common with Mackenzie but because he truly balances her out. In this serious and secretive life she leads he’s kind of the light she’s been lacking for many years. At the end of the day she is still a teenager who should be doing teenager things like having friends, doing fun things, laughing, or even smiling once in a while. As dark as Wes is portrayed to be, he’s really got the heart of gold and is a partner you can truly trust to watch your back.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a good easy read. Victoria Schwab is an amazing writer who has clearly kept her readers in mind when putting this piece together. There’s an easy flow to her work that keeps me wanting to move forward. You roll through different emotions as you join in on these experiences with Mackenzie and that keeps you connected. I wanted to learn more about this character, this whole other world and life she leads, and the people she encounters along the way. It’s knowledge that lures you in and keeps you wanting more. I cannot wait to read the second book in this series.