The Archived (The Archived, #1) by Victoria Schwab

Title: The Archived (The Archived, #1)
Author: Victoria Schwab
Publisher: Hyperion
Pages: 336, Hardcover
Rating: 5 stars

Summary from Goodreads:
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.

There were so many great things about this book. For starters, the idea was refreshingly original and the setting was everything from eerie, disturbing and dark to magnificent, imaginative, and dreamy. It was spellbinding and worked perfectly together to bring the story to life.  The Archive is a library-esque room that stores the Histories (copies of the deceased). I was picturing something you'd expect to see in a Harry Potter movie. A too-large-to-grasp room, dimly lit, Gothic in style, with volumes and volumes of, in this case, dead bodies stacking the shelves (don't worry they are in drawers). The narrow, winding rows between stacks can only be navigated by the Librarians for it seems that the space is constantly changing. The Narrows is the space in between the Archive and the Outer. The Narrows is like a dark, narrow, stone alleyway, endless in height. The walls are filled with doors, some that lead to the Outer, some that lead to the Archive, some that lead to nowhere. Lastly, the Outer for Mackenzie is the Coronado, an old hotel turned compartment building that her family just moved into. I pictured a once regal space that is now weathered, vacant, and gloomy. The few other tenants we meet are more or less sufficiently creepy fitting my image. This whole setting vaguely reminded me of the Matrix meets the Shining!

Sometimes the Histories wake and wind up in the Narrows, sometimes they escape the Narrows and wind up in the Outer. Confusion and denial causes these Histories to "slip", making their behavior erratic, difficult to manage and even dangerous. It is Mac's job to enter the Narrows and return the Histories that have waken to the Archives. But just as soon as Mac moves into the Coronado, she stumbles across information relating to a murder, and as she digs deeper, all evidence points to someone in the Archives. Suddenly, there are disturbances in the Archives, more and more Histories are escaping into the Narrows, and Mac finds herself fighting for her life. Can she make sense of this mystery, figure out who is responsible and stop them before her entire world comes crumbling down? READ AND FIND OUT :)

I didn't love Mac as a character but I did like her and I felt for her. She was a young girl weighed down by her duty, suffering from the loss of loved ones, and struggling to keep ahead of all the lies she was forced to tell to hide this second life. She was flawed, she made mistakes (some more disturbing than others), but she was real. Her job required that she be strong, competent and not easily shaken. She was all of these things. I did, however, love Wes, aka "Guyliner". He was spunky and fun and his few witty quips made me laugh. He added a bit of flavor and life to this dreary, serious world. I also really liked Rolan, who was sort of a mentor/big brother to Mac. With all Mac had to deal with, she needed someone to lean on, and Rolan gave her that. Their relationship was both comforting and endearing.

I read this book in a day and had no hesitation rating it 5 stars. It is a new favorite of mine and absolutely wonderful. The story is suspenseful and well-paced, never a dull moment. Although I had my suspicions, I was left guessing until the end.

5/5 stars, Highly recommend!!


  1. I love the concepts here, and can already picture The Archive! I'm glad you enjoyed reading it - I can't wait to get started on it myself! Wonderful review. :)

    1. thank you! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did :)

  2. Can't wait to read The Archive :)

    New follower.

    1. thanks, I hope you find it just as memorable :)


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