Monday, January 19, 2015

Book Review: The Archived by Victoria Schwab

The Archived by Victoria Schwab

Series: The Archived (Book #1)
Publisher: Hyperion
Release Date: 22nd January 2013
Read Date: 8th January 2015
Tagged Under: 2015 read, 2015 favourites, fantasy, YA-fiction, book review, 4.5

Book Summary

The dead rest on shelves like books. Each body has a story to tell, a life in pictures only Librarians can read. The dead, called "Histories", rest in 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 tool for staying alive. 
Being a Keeper is dangerous and a constant reminder of those she lost, Da and her little brother. Mac wonders about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. Yet someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.

Book Review [Spoiler Free]

The Archived has been on my TBR pile for so long. And on a whim, I picked it up. Boy, am I glad I did.

The concept behind The Archived by Victoria Schwab is very interesting and refreshing - and I am having a hard time trying to find something to compare it to. In Schwab's world, when people pass away, the life they have led - all their memories and experiences - are stored in a replica of themselves called "Histories." All the "Histories" are stored in a huge Library and maintained by the Keepers who are tasked with finding Histories that have woken up and are wandering in the Narrow.

Firstly, the world-building is quite unique. It does take awhile for the reader to orientate themselves to the settings and differentiate between the three worlds. However, once that's done, the rest of the story flows beautifully. The concept of "Histories" is very different and I really enjoyed exploring it as I was reading this book. And after the initial world-building, the plot itself does become quick-paced and complex, making it a very engaging read.

Mac is a wonderfully crafted main character. Having been disappointed before with Mary-Sues and poorly constructed protagonists that do not mature as the story progresses, I related to Mac instantly and I loved experiencing the story through her eyes. The other characters are also very well thought out. There is none of the instant love problem that perpetuates in some other YA novels. I can't wait to see what develops in the second book.

Overall: 5/5

I really couldn't find many things that went wrong with this book. This is a fantastic introduction to Victoria Schwab's writing and I eagerly picked up The Unbound the moment I closed this book.

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