Sunday, September 1, 2013
The Archived by Victoria Schwab
"Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.
Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that 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 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 might crumble and fall."
This is one of those books that you can't really get with a blurb. The general idea that the blurb talks about is the same, but the story isn't really well presented by this little snippet. When I first read it I pictured her as the sole guardian of all these stacks, when in fact in the book it's more of a case of one foot in both worlds: she's one of many Keepers who live in the real world and, when called upon, enters the Archive to deal with problems. I liked the way it panned out in the book more than the "hardened lone watchman" vibe from the blurb. Anyway, to the actual book. I liked it. I really did, and it grew on me the more I read. Mac comes across as very real, and the writing (if I wanted to be really pompous I'd say "the prose") was very captivating, fluid, and easy to read. My favorite character was one not even mentioned in the overview: Wesley, a guy she meets out in the real world that's more than he seems--not mentioning the witty comebacks, forgivable guyliner, and adorable ego. Seriously, if nothing else, read the book for him. He's a great character. Sure, the book had a couple little weaknesses here and there, like making me read twenty pages before realizing Da wasn't her dad, but her grandfather, and the fact that the villain wasn't too difficult to guess halfway through, but that's really little stuff. It was still really interesting to read and easy to get through. Good mysteries, too. Really, there's not much to like, so what are you waiting for? Go get it at Sitka High or Kettleson, seriously, you won't be sorry.