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.
Plot: 5 out of 5
I’m often scared to read things where death is such a huge theme because it’s rarely accurately portrayed. However, Victoria Schwab handled such a delicate subject matter perfectly. I didn’t expect The Archived to be so deep amidst all the action and fantasy elements.
Nothing about The Archived was cliche. Maybe I’m blind, but I didn’t see any of the twists coming. The plot constantly kept me entertained and I was never bored. The author is a genius at keeping her audience at the edge of their seat, while weaving in emotion and humor. I was either hugging Mac, laughing over Wes (Mac’s best friend, but I’m maintaining that he’ll be her boyfriend in the sequel.), or trying and failing at figuring out just who was causing the Archive to crumble.
Characters: 5 out of 5
I mean Wes, hot dang I’m in love with him. He was a perfect little bundle of snark rolled up in gelled hair and eyeliner. Plus ya know, he reads Dante to Mac, trips while scrubbing floors, and accuses people of assassinating him with a muffin basket. He’s perfection.
Seriously though, Mac was an amazing main character. I get really attached to stories where I can connect with the main characters, and I just connected with Mac so much.
Death messes with the people left behind so much and I’ve experienced that in my own life. Reading Mac’s emotions and everything she and her family went through, was so familiar and painful for me. Every choice Mac made, even with having two sort-of love interests to numb her pain? Oh good garth it made so much sense. I loved how vulnerable she was, yet she tried so hard to hide it and to be strong for her parents. I’m really looking forward to reading the sequel and being in her head again. She was so human, yet strong and admirable.
I really enjoyed all of the side characters, they each had their own quirks and were so different from the other. Even Mac’s brother and grandfather were well rounded. It was a nice change from the two dimensional side characters that you typically read about.
For the record, I hate Owen. I cannot tolerate anyone who pretends to be better than Wesley. Okay, here my sister would say I’ve entered the rabid fan girl stage, but I have no intentions of biting anyone. Except Owen of course.
Setting: 5 out of 5
aflkjgadflkjghafga; I can’t even begin to talk about how vivid and rich Victoria Schwab’s writing is. I kept re-reading sections and paragraphs over and over again so I could absorb the beauty of it. It flowed so smoothly and everything about it was wonderful. It reminded me of something that I’d read by John Steinbeck, or John Green. (My two favorite authors of all time.)
Most fantasy novels are well, a little bit boring. I get tired of the same old world building and action. The Archived is nothing like any fantasy novel I’ve ever seen before. I loved the description of the Archive, and how we got explanations through expertly woven back story as to how Keepers train and why.
Overall, I’m so in love with The Archived and I can’t scream over
Wes, I mean it enough. You get a fantastic plot, epic worldbuilding, darling Wes (*ahem* I mean characters), and magnificent writing all in one book.
The language content in this novel was rather mild, and aside from some violence and thematic content quite clean so I’m recommending this for ages 14+.