Quirk Review: The Archived (The Archived #1) by Victoria Schwab
(Updated: January 10, 2014)
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!
The Archived is one of the most unique books that I’ve ever read. Imagine a library, but instead of books sitting on the shelves, there are dead bodies with all of their memories preserved; this is the Archive. Of course, as with any library, the Archive has a group of dedicated staff: Librarians who catalogue the dead, and Keepers who return the Histories (the dead) when they have woken up and left the Archive. It’s such a spooky and fascinating premise, and as information about the Archive was slowly revealed, I found myself wanting to learn even more. It was really easy to get lost in this world that Schwab created, and with the incredibly detailed descriptions, it wasn’t hard to imagine that such a place could exist.
All of the characters in The Archived were incredibly fleshed out and alive – even the secondary characters who only grace a few pages. Da managed to make the biggest impression on me, despite the fact that he was only seen in flashbacks, and I absolutely adored Roland, a librarian who reminded me so much of the Tenth Doctor in his mannerisms and the way that he dressed.
Mackenzie is easily one of my favourite YA protagonists. She’s strong, intelligent, resourceful, and very easy to relate to. The muted grief, anger, frustration, and guilt that she feels over the loss of both her brother and her grandfather are so palpable and realistic, and really resonated with me due to my own experiences with loss.
I quickly fell head over heels for Wesley, who is the perfect love interest. I’m so glad that the fact that he wore guyliner, painted his nails black, and had the whole black spiky hair and clothing thing going on didn’t result in the typical angsty goth characterization. He’s charming, sweet, and witty, and his sense of humour is certainly a refreshing break from the rather dark and heavy plot.
Overall, The Archived is absolutely fantastic. It’s a really interesting murder mystery filled with twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat, and will leave you thinking about the story long after you’ve finished.
The Archived can bring you various emotions while reading every chapter. The conflict of hunting Histories, the secrets behind, I love how it breaks one mystery after another. Mysteries are my cup of tea because these (in any other kind) always excite me. The flashbacks between Da and Ben is touching yet it helped a lot with developing the story over and over; the journeys of being a Keeper made me imagine events of action and suspense I literally felt it was me who was there. The writing is brilliant I have to stress on that it’s what made me finish the book with a smile on my face while the events dig in deeper.
Characters. Characters are strong and showed their dominance throughout the events. The most dominant of course is our 15yo heroine, Mackenzie Bishop who happened to be a Keeper when she’s 12 after her grandfather Da passed on the talent to her before he died. Da petitioned Mac to be part of the Archive since she’s his last resort and she’s the only person he can think of whom to pass the role as a Keeper. Mac is undeniably strong-willed and smart since training as a kid and losing both Da and her little brother Ben made her more certain for the role so she has to survive; gladly, she’s proven herself right.
Why I Loved It: I really, truly loved this book. I found it on my bookshelf yesterday and remembered that it was being released this month. I knew that the book had to be great if only because the author shares my love of chocolate pudding. So I sat down to read it, using it as a break from studying. Well then it started to overwhelm the study time until I finally gave in and stopped pretending to study. Midnight comes around, and I reached the last page. I am eternally grateful to Ms. Schwab for not leaving me with some awful cliffhanger. My brain wouldn't have been able to handle it after that reading experience. I was already on edge. (In the best possible way mind you.)
Reading this book brought back the wonderful feelings that Starters had given me months before. I was relishing every word and page, turning faster and faster until I had to will myself to slow down. The two worlds in which Mackenzie lives would have quickly overwhelmed me. Luckily for her, she has some special talents and the wisdom of her grandfather residing within her. The fact that she is pretty dang tough is also a pretty big plus. Mackenzie is such a relatable character with her fierce loyalty and her "take-no-crap" attitude with a touch of empathy that creates such a well-rounded and well-loved character.
In all honesty, I have nothing but wonderful things to say about this book. The plot was different and unique and full of just enough winding turns to keep me reading *and to yell at anyone who interrupted me* without completely overwhelming me. The character development was incredibly strong from Mackenzie and the people in the world around her to the the people residing in the Archives. The Librarian Roland was probably my favorite character. He had the whole smart guy thing going, complete with a pair of red Chucks. Can you ask for more?
I wouldn't be me if I didn't mention THE BOY. I don't normally go for "guyliner" and black fingernails. In Wesley's case, I will make an exception. He was all charm and brains and with the right touch of bad boy. Yep. I have found another fictional boyfriend to add to the list. He literally oozed charm without being completely obnoxious. That is a hard feat.
The world that Ms. Schwab created makes for a very fun and edge of your seat reading experience. And it has just the right amount of creepy.
Who Should Read It: Everyone. Seriously. If you read Starters and loved it more than you thought you would, this needs to be added to the TBR pile. It's worth it.
For some reason when I first heard about this book I didn't jump to add it to my TBR pile. I remember the cover coming out and then deciding I wanted to read it. (Shallow right? smh) But I'm so glad I decided to read it! After reading the blurb and everything, I decided that it would be one of my most anticipated reads of 2013! And trust me, I was not disappointed.
In the beginning, we are introduced to Mackenzie and her parents. They have moved away to a different set of apartments (or really an old hotel) due to one of her mother's "crazy projects." They are still suffering from the deaths of their family members Ben and Da. As they move in, she meets Wes (who is super uber amazing) and the story unfolds from there.
First, I want to start with the mystery. The mystery was so good. I'm normally the type of person that can figure out the answer from the beginning, but this one, I had no idea. It really made me have to sit and analyze the situation and even still I didn't know who to choose.
Then there was the emotion. While reading this book I had ALL THE FEELS. From love, to grief, to happiness. I felt everything while reading this, just as I imagine Mackenzie would have felt going through it. As they showed the flashbacks from Da and Ben towards the end, I was biting my nails and tearing up. It was so overwhelming. Mackenzie had to be super strong to endure that type of pain. Then the deceit and betrayal that was at the end of the book. Gah you guys, I'm getting rambly, but the emotion in the book is the best part. It had me hooked and wanting to stay with my head stuck in the book.
Lastly, the world building was great! One thing I love about fantasy novels, is the way the author can make up the world completely in their head. I also hate that fact about fantasies because they sometimes leave out certain details that the reader may need. But in my opinion, Schwab got it 100% perfect. She made a very imaginative world in her head and was able to deliver it to her readers in the book. As for me, I pictured The Archive as my actual local library. With me putting it towards something that I could actually relate to made the story that much better for me.
The characters are amazingly put together as well. Mackenzie is an amazing, kick ass MC, even if she does make some bad decisions. But who doesn't? Then there's Wes. My goodness, talk about book boyfriends. I loved him. He definitely was a great asset to the story. and my interpretation of him... I pictured him as a young Hook from Once Upon a Time with the guy-liner lmao (Don't judge me.)
Overall, this is an amazing read and you will not regret picking it up. At the end the emotion left me breathless and the epic finale had me biting my nails. Schwab did an amazing job with this one, from beginning to end.
Overall, I give this
Victoria Schwab is a woman who knows how to write a book.
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.
Haunting ghost story and riveting mystery meets a kick butt heroine
I think this book is going to get a big buzz from teens and adults. Can't wait for book 2!
It seemed like I have been waiting to read the entire book for months since Disney/Hyperion so wisely only gave us an early snippet - so worth the wait! The Archived is a cross between a Dean Koontz Odd Thomas ghost story and Hunger Games. The story revolves around Mackenzie Bishop, otherwise known as Mac, in her new apartment home that was once a hotel and the other world she tends that houses the histories. Librarians read and watch over the histories (life stories of the dead) in the Archives which is only available to a few key people named Keepers as they help keep the histories contained safely in the Archive and not wandering lost in the Outerworld. The Archive is reached by hidden doorways using a key that all the keepers have and it is a secret position. Mac's family is in turmoil after Ben, Mackenzie's little brother is killed by a hit and run driver. Dad tries to keep it together, mom reinvents her career every few months and Da, Mackenzie's grandfather who was a keeper and passed on the position to Mac, has since passed on. Mackenzie has violent run ins with escapees and is in danger of blurring her lives in both the real world and the one she must keep secret but finds a friend in Wes who is also a keeper and has family in the apartment where the Bishops live. Beautifully crafted, this tale has a historic charm and unearthly feel to it as well as terrifying moments and a mystery that will convince you to stay up all night trying to finish the book in one sitting. Mackenzie's grief over her brother's senseless death while helping to guide the newly awakened dead back to where they need to be plays havoc with her sense of reality.
I had been looking forward to reading The Archived ever since I saw preview in the back of The Near Witch. The idea of a place where the dead rest on shelves like books? How could that not be a great premise? I really enjoyed The Near Witch, so I was super excited when I was able to trade for an ARC of The Archived through the YA Book Exchange.
I truly loved this book. The plot was unique and well thought out. When reading, I didn't feel like I had read the same type of story in another book (which has been happening quite a bit lately). It was well and truly one of a kind.
I love when an author's world building really gives me a clear picture, as if I am watching a movie in my head. Victoria Schwab really achieved that for me in this book. The plot was fast paced and thrilling. There were many creepy twists and turns that I did not see coming. (I love when that happens.) The writing was lyrical and had such a nice flow to it. The main character Mackenzie was tough and brave, but also had a sentimental side. She was very likable and I enjoyed going on this journey with her. The romance was sweet, and not a huge part of the novel. Still, I felt that the way it was incorporated worked really well with the plot and pacing.
There are a few things in the book that I felt could have been explained a little more. For example, I would have liked a little more detail about how the "histories" could actually wake up and walk around. I mean, they are dead right? If they are only the person's memories, how do they have bodies? Maybe there was something more that I missed, but logically speaking, I didn't quite get some of the more technical aspects of how it all works.
Besides that, this was a beautiful story filled with heartbreak, love, and loss. The author really made me think about truth and lies, past and present, and how easily they can blur together. I especially loved the parts where Mac was remembering the time she spent with her Da (grandfather). It is written in flashbacks, and the relationship it revealed between the two characters added something very special to the story.
I really enjoyed The Archived. I would recommend it to anyone who likes their paranormal to have some depth to it. It really leaves you with something to think about in regards to life/death, love/loss, truth/lies. This was another winner for me by Victoria Schwab. I will be eagerly anticipating her next novel.
The Archived by Victoria Schwab
ARC received from Disney Hyperion at ALA
Release Date: 1-22-2013
Reviewed by: Middle Sis Jenn
The Sisters Say: Brilliant, Bewitching and Beautifully Written
Wow!!!! At first this was not high on my TBR list. I had heard good things, but there was so much more I needed to read. And then I made a trade with another blogger, so I read it quickly before sending it off. And I am SO GLAD I did! This book was so uniquely addicting that I read it in one sitting. The characters were full of life (or death...you know, if they were a History) and Victoria's world bled from the page. It was perfect--I wouldn't change a thing!
From Chapter 1, I was immediately entranced by the poetry in Victoria’s words. I could immediately relate to Mackenzie, and my heart broke for her loss. She has lost Da, her mentor, and Ben, her little brother; and through Victoria’s words, I felt Mac’s pain as if it were my own. There was one part in the first chapter where Mac says, “The silliest things shatter you.” She goes on to talk about how after you suffer a loss, you try to move on—but the small things, a ball under a bed, a crumpled up t-shirt in the corner of a room can bring all the pain flashes back to you at the speed of light. But instead of that light, you are shrouded in darkness. The writing was so full of emotion that I just knew this book was going to be amazing. And it was.
Mac was the perfect heroine—strong-willed, curious, but flawed and easily broken (in spirit, not in body). She was truth wrapped up in the guise of a Keeper, one who returns Histories who have escaped the Archives. I loved watching her as the digs deeper and deeper into the conspiracy. I loved watching her fall victim to her own insecurities and suspicions. But most of all, I loved watching her conquer those insecurities and fight back for her world and her life. She pushed through, even when the cards were stacked against her. Trust me, Mac will have you punching a fist into the air and yelling, “Go get ‘em!”
And then the guys…oh, there are so many guys that will leave you with a bit of drool on your chin. I don’t know how Victoria did it, but there were so many guys that caught my attention: Roland, Wes, and Owen. I mean, wow! I didn’t know who to choose!
I loved Roland’s sense of humor and his loyalty. I felt like I could trust him immediately. He was charming and, maybe I’m wrong, but I think he has a thing for Mac. I really enjoyed the conversations between him and Mac. They were clever and heartfelt. Even when Roland was being a jerk, you could tell it was for Mac’s own good.
And Wes...otherwise known as “Guyliner.” I’m not normally a fan of guys that wear eyeliner, but somehow, Wes makes it hot. He seems like he has a dark side, and if you know me, I’m a sucker for the dark side. But, Wes was more than that—he was mysterious, and at times I just knew he was hiding something. But he still managed to sweep me off my feet.
And Owen…he’s a complete mystery. He’s sexy in his own way, and Mac immediately feels for his position. She wants to help him, and darn it, so do I! Not much is known about this mystery man, but, if you’re like me, you’ll find yourself wanting to know more!
So…there’s this entire slew of guys that Mac can pick from, and let me tell you, when she does—it is oh so steamy hot! There were some kissing scenes that left me blushing from head to toe, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I re-read them once or twice….okay, three times. The question is…with who? I won’t tell, you’ll have to check it out on your own.
Victoria builds an amazingly captivating world that will draw you straight into the romance, betrayal, and suspense. She keeps you guessing right up until the very end, and I, for one, can’t wait for the next book!