The Archived is a place much like a library. The Librarians demand silence, and are strict with their rules. But instead of books resting on the shelves of The Archived, the dead rest there. Sometimes the dead, also known as Histories, are violent and try to escape, and then’s when Keepers, like Mackenzie, look for them and bring them back.
Mac is fairly young for a Keeper (she inherited the post from her grandfather), and is still getting used to things. After the death of her younger brother, her family move to another town and into an old building. Here, more and more Histories are waking up, and soon Mac discovers that someone is waking them up on purpose.
When she discovers that a murder was committed in her building and that it has been completely erased, she begins to think that there may be some connection between the two.
Mac can barely keep her two worlds apart as it is, and the surplus in escaped Histories makes it even harder for her to lie to her parents. As the veil between both her worlds starts to stretch thin, The Archive threatens to fall apart- unless Mac can do something to stop it.
I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book when I first got it from the library. I knew the concept of the dead being similar to books was one that a lot of book-lovers loved.
To be honest, it took me a long time to get into the book. The beginning was kind of slow, especially with a lot of flashbacks to Da, Mac’s grandfather, teaching her how to be a Keeper, before he left the post. These segments of the book, which were at the beginning of the story really slowed down the pace of the story and kept me from really connecting with Mac. This was probably one of the only negative points about the book.
Other than that, The Archived was an absolute treat to read! The world that Schwab has created is colourful, detailed, and fascinating. I’m so used to reading either Historical YA, which obviously takes place in the past, or Dystopians, which take place in the future, that it was a pleasure to read about a time and place that was now.
Mac herself was a fascinating character. A lot of the book focuses on death, and how we react to it, and watching Mac struggle after the death of her little brother was heartbreaking. As someone who has access to the other side, Mac isn’t exactly the best at moving on, since she knows where her brother is, and longs to see him.
She’s a real girl with real problems, and I like the fact that Schwab didn’t gloss over her or her family’s grieving process by giving us a fantastical world to distract us. As a Keeper, Mac can’t tell her parents the truth about what she does, and you can begin to see the fraying edges of their relationship as she continues to lie them, day after day.
The romantic plot line is quite small, which I didn’t mind for once. Usually, I get annoyed when the love interest has such a small role in the story, but in this case, it’s Mac’s story and that’s what the book is about. Wes, a boy that lives in her building, isn’t your typical YA love interest either; he’s helpful and friendly and funny, without crossing over into jerk territory.
The Archived is a fascinating read, full of action, mystery, and a world that is extremely believable. I can’t wait for the sequel!
So for that: 4/5.
Thanks for reading,