Reader Age: 13 +
Number of Pages: 328
Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.
Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures 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 that 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 may 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.
The Archived is a masterful novel, and is a clever and haunting read. The story is about a teenage girl, Mackenzie Bishop, and how she tries to solve the mystery around a string of deaths which happened years ago in the building which she has recently moved into. The story also looks at how people deal with grief after a loved one has died, and goes into the idea that after someone had died they are catalogued in shelves in the ‘Archive’.
The Archived was a intriguing read, and I found the idea that after you die you are kept as a ‘History’ interesting. The book is beautifully written, and has detailed and vivd descriptions of the ‘Narrows’ and the ‘Archive’. After I first read the blurb I was slightly hesitant at the idea of people being kept as ‘Histories’ on shelves, and was unsure how Victoria Schwab would carry this out in the novel. However the idea grew on me after I started reading.
All the characters in the novel are conveyed across cleverly. Mackenzie’s character is intriguing, and interesting, yet I think that she is also realistic and so easily relatable. She is a closed off character, and she feels all of her emotions very strongly, and so is often driven by her ‘gut’. I also loved the relationship which she has with Wesley in the novel! Wesley’s character is more light-harted that Mackenzie’s, and he is also very supportive of Mackenzie. He enables for Mackenzie to open up and relate to someone else, even though this takes time. I have to say I loved Welsey character, and he definitely made me laugh at times during the novel!
“What we have here?” he asks.
“Required reading,” I say, starting to scrub the counter.
“It’s a shame they do that,” he says, thumbing through the pages.”Requirement ruins even the best of books”
“Have you read it?”
“A few times”. My eyebrows arch, and he laughs. “Again with the skepticism. Looks can be deceiving, Mac. I’m not all beauty and charm”
“Mom looks caught off guard by the smile, the open, easy way he does it. I know I am. He doesn’t even flinch when she takes his hand.
“I can see why my daughter likes you”
Wesley’s smile widens as his hand slips back to his side. “Do you think she’s falling for my dashing good looks, my charm, or the fact that I supply her with pastries?”
Owen’s character confused me when he was first introduced. I kept on fluctuating between thinking that he was the reason all of the Histories were being let out, to thinking that he was a victim of all of the unrest which was taking place in the Archive. When his whole involvement in the plot of the story is revealed (which I won’t talk about!) I was not surprised, but could finally understand the mystery around all the deaths.
I enjoyed that the story delves into and looks and many different ideas. The different ways that people deal with death in the book show how these emotions can affect people in drastically different ways. As well as the idea that people do some things to escape is very realistic. I also thought that the Archive and Narrows is a fantastic idea which is built upon well in the novel. The use of showing the past with small excerpts of Mackenzie talking about Da I also thought cleverly helped the world take shape, and shows how Mackenzie developed into the person she is currently during the book.
However, I didn’t rate The Archived 5 stars because I also think that the novel is boring at parts. I found it difficult to get into the story at the beginning, and found the beginning of the book quite slow. However, as the story begins to reveal itself it becomes much more interesting, and I advise you read through the beginning because the story is brilliant once you get into it!
The Archived is a beautiful and dark novel, which I throughly enjoyed reading and would recommend!
Rating: 4.5 stars