First of all, I have to talk about how absolutely astounding the writing is. It's beautiful and almost lyrical, very haunting. Victoria Schwab has such an incredible way with words and using them to create perfect images in your head or pull on your heart strings as the occasion requires. She's definitely one of the most talented writers I've ever had the pleasure of reading.
Then Mac? Mac is so awesome. She changes and develops so much from a pretty kick ass girl to a semi-ultimate bad ass (we have to leave room for her to become ULTIMATE bad ass in the sequels, yeah?). I loved that she was strong, physically and emotionally, and dedicated. She was loyal, but not necessarily blindly. She wasn't a model Keeper because she was too curious and man can I relate to that.
And then there's the other characters, all of them crafted extraordinarily well. Mac's Da, her parents, the boys she meets, the Librarians. They have so much detail and so much life. Each one is incredibly important to the story and so very real and wonderful. These characters had depth to them, even if they weren't in the story often or didn't seem super important. And you can tell that Victoria knows so much more about them that we might get to learn in the sequels.
The story itself is this immense mystery and I never saw it coming. I was so swept up in the prose and the characters that I couldn't even try to imagine how it was going to be told or how it would end. It was very intricately woven, little hints you don't really see until the very end. Thinking about it makes me want to go and reread and take notes on how to properly do a mystery like this.
Guys, seriously. Not picking up this book would be a mistake. I'm so head over heels in love with this book, it's ridiculous. I think The Archived is enough to put Victoria on my insta-buy list forever and ever. I know the year's just started, but this is already on my Best of 2013 list, without a doubt (which, admittedly, is already a bit lengthy. But...we'll talk about that later). Run, drive, train, bus, hijack a jet, do something to get your hands on this book.