After reading Victoria Schwab's The Near Witch, meeting her, and following her on Twitter, there was, is, no way that I will ever not read one of her books. So when my wondermous friend Meg from Myth-Illogical received a copy of The Archived, she graciously lent it to me after reading it (and assuring me it was awesome). So were my expectations met?
More like blown out of the water.
This cover is great. I love the blue, the Narrows in the background, and the key. This cover is dark and eerie and perfectly fits the story.
Schwab's prose has a fluidity that few can attain. Even when writing about mundane things, she is able to make them magical and interesting. Basically, the lady can turn a phrase like no one's business, and it only adds to the overall effect of the story and never gets in the way of it.
Not only can Schwab make normal settings come alive, but she also has the amazing ability to create unique and unworldly locations seem like they could exist outside the pages. I loved the broken-down elegance of The Coronado and the mysterious and ethereal Archive. I could picture everything so easily and wished I could jump into the book to take a look around for myself.
I love Lexi from The Near Witch so much that it's going to take Schwab a lot to top her, but she came close with Mac (Mackenzie). Mac reminds me of a boxer all throughout the book because she's beat-down and losing it, but she refuses to quit. She takes all the punches yet still throws her own with plenty of force.
The way Mac sees the world is different because of who and what she is, and it colors every bit of her life. She has to calculate every move and lie and be a step ahead the whole time, and she's used to that, so it was really great to see how she dealt with losing control of everything when the Archive goes haywire. I was really enthralled by her reaction to Owen, who I found fascinating and *spoiler removed*.
Now, as great as Mac is, I absolutely adore Guyliner, I mean, Wes. He is just the bees knees in this book. He is like Mac in so many ways, but he has adapted differently than she has and it was interesting to see how they chose different ways of being while having similar lives and concerns and feelings.
My other favorite is Roland. Oh, Roland. I want my own Roland. I remember a while back where Schwab posted this on Tumblr about the inspiration for Roland. Of course, back then I had no idea what that really meant, but now...ALL THE FEELS.
Um, this whole book is cool. And I'm going to forever be suspicious of anyone wearing a key around his or her neck.
Do I really need to say it? Victoria Schwab has pulled off another fantastic novel full of mystery and adventure. With wonderful writing, great but flawed characters, and a unique world where the dead are buried but not always gone, The Archived deserves to be on every reader's shelf. It will be on mine as soon as it comes out and then I'll just be (not-so-patiently) waiting for the next installment!