The Archived – By Victoria Schwab Review

10929432Release Date: January 22nd 2013

Publisher: Hyperion

Reader Age: 13 +

ISBN: 978-142315731-1

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.

4.5 Stars

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

All the Bright Places – By Jennifer Niven Review

Reall-the-bright-places-jktlease Date: January 6th 2015

Publisher: Penguin Books

Reader Age: 15+

ISBN: 978-0-141-35703-4

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him. Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death. When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

Rating: 5/5

All the Bright Places is an emotional rollercoaster which had me both laughing and crying. Jennifer Niven delves into family, suicide, and how life carries on even after everything you are has changed. All the Bright Places is beautifully written, and had me immersed in both Finch, and Violet’s world from the first page! The ideas and thoughts developed and explored throughout the book are thought provoking. Yet, I have to admit, I found the book bitter sweet (not that this is a bad thing), and I was heartbroken at the end.

During the book we read from both Violet’s and Finch’s point of view. I loved Finch’s character, finding him funny and impulsive, yet responsible to a certain extent. His character is quirky and different. While it may seem that Finch’s character is almost selfish at the end, I saw him as quite selfless. Even though he was dealing with a lot from both his family and from school he helped Violet and really saw life as quite a beautiful thing. He was also in my opinion, quite a complicated and secretive character, who didn’t want anyone to see how he was truly feeling most of the time; or felt that no one could understand what he is going through. The character development throughout the book was fantastic, and Finch’s thought processes  show just how complicated he really is. Similarly, I also enjoyed Violet’s character. Throughout the book I felt that she bloomed, as she became more confident in who she wanted to be, rather than what she used to be, or what her sister used to be like. Even though towards the end of the book I felt that Violet could have done more, I also understood her uncertainty of what to do. The romance between the two characters was also realistic, and was not an ‘insta-love’. Certain parts of the books were heartwarming, which made me all the more emotional towards the end of the book (and yes, I did cry). The romance between Violet and Finch is perfectly paced, not slow, yet not immediate, and the work up towards the relationship emphasises how they help each other in different ways. Finch gives Violet a push to get her to live again after her sister’s death, and Violet helps Finch achieve happiness, and what he calls ‘a perfect day’. Additionally Finch is quite romantic at times during the novel, making the relationship between Finch and Violet much deeper, and heart-wrenching.

As I said before the writing is beautiful, and the descriptions are vivd. There are many parts of the book which I love, but certain parts are just beautiful, I don’t know how else to describe it!

“The thing I realise is that it’s not what you take, it’s what you leave”

“You are all the colours in one, at full brightness”

“‘But I bring it up to let you know that this is the way I feel right now. Like Pluto and Jupiter are aligned with the earth and I’m floating’                                                                                                                                                                                     In a minute, she says, ‘You’re so weird, Finch. But that’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me'”

The idea behind the book I thought was also clever, with both Violet and Finch going and searching for places around Indiana. Additionally I felt the story about the bird which kept flying into the window, that is repeated several times throughout the novel, was a representation of Finch coming back ‘awake’, yet feeling as if he can’t quite find himself, which is reflected when he changes his ‘character’ (from 80s Finch to bad-ass Finch e.t.c) during the book. The book also explored the idea of death, and Finch continuously brings up the idea that people have a ‘shelf-life’ and so he feels that he should live his life to the fullest.

Overall I really enjoyed the book, and fell in love with both Violet and Finch! The relationship between both characters is heartwarming, and funny. Jennifer Niven also in my opinion successfully explores other darker themes throughout the novel, while simultaneously looking at the better things about life. The novel is gripping, and I am not ashamed to admit that I finished it quickly! Other books which look at similar themes, or are written in a smilier way are The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, and Eleanor and Park By Rainbow Rowel. If you enjoyed these books I think you will enjoy All the Bright Places! Rating: 5/5 🙂 Happy Reading xxx superthumba934ec02b4890d4e2db95526305735ae.jpg