Dec 24, 2012

[ARC Review] The Archived by Victoria Schwab

Victoria Schwab
Pages: 336
Publisher: Hyperion
Format: ARC
Source: Southern Book Bloggers
Age Group: Young Adult
The Archived (The Archived, #1)Expected Publication: January 22, 2013

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.
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.

So, if y'all have hung out here at Bookworm in Love for a while, you know that I wanted The Archived so bad I would have sacrificed my firstborn child for it (and quite possibly every other child after that...). When I saw that Southern Book Bloggers had it for an ARC tour, I nearly peed myself. And then I got chosen to be part of it. And I was SECOND on the list. Like, I'm fairly certain I had heart palpitations. I was that excited. So it showed up at my house last Tuesday, and the first thing I did was stick my signed The Archived bookmark in it... just you know... because they wanted to be united (my best friend told me that was really sad, but I DON'T CARE). I was so overcome with excitement that I couldn't even bring myself to start it that day (I did the same thing with Opal).

When I calmed down (the next day), and sat down and finally started this beautiful piece of young adult literature, I finished it in one sitting. Like, I didn't even get up from my incredibly uncomfortable position at the kitchen table. I was riveted. It was funny and quirky, but dealt with Mackenzie's family's loss of several people very close to them and how Mac deals with having to lie to everyone all the time very well. The whole premise of this archive thing is so new, and that seems to be an increasingly difficult feat these days, since it seems that almost everything has already been thought of and done. (This is where I jump up and shout "Bravo, Ms. Schwab. Bravo." Because she's full of awesomeness and writing skills and more awesomeness and definitely deserves some clapping in here somewhere.) It's just so dang good

So, the book starts off with Mackenzie and her parents moving to a new place, and Mackenzie doesn't like it. There are several flashbacks in which Mac is remembering something about someone but it isn't specifically stated. Like, it'll have dialogue, but it'll be "you said." 

"It's not a party trick, Kenzie," you snap. (ARC pg. 27)

(I loved this, because the pieces all fell together later, and I just felt like I had reached enlightenment...) Anyways, so they're movin' into this place and Kenzie goes to look for "doors" to this part of the archive called the Narrows, because that's where she works as a Keeper. The majority of the story involves Mackenzie dealing with her two lives (family Mackenzie and Keeper Mackenzie) and keep them from colliding. She meets this awesome boy named Wesley in her building and he becomes a very important character (and I love him sososososososoooo much!). 

The characters were brilliantly written. I feel like Mackenzie, Kami (from Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan), and I should all be BFFs. Mackenzie just has a similar sense of humor (ish) as Kami, and I feel as though we would all get along swimmingly (swimmingly, I tell you!). She's kind of quirky and very secretive, also (wouldn't you be if you had to hide a huge portion of your life from everyone around you?). She has a hard time letting people in, but I liked that about her. She's very curious, though, and that gets her in trouble a couple times, but I feel like it was an important part of her character. She wasn't bland like so many YA heroines tend to be. She learns things and then acts upon them. She is not irrational. She has normal emotions. She is a little OCD with compartmentalizing things, but we all have our faults.

And then there is our leading male, Wesley. I LOVE HIM. Even if he wears eyeliner (erm... guyliner?) He's funny and so incredibly the opposite of Mackenzie. He lets every aspect of his life run together, while Mac wants it all separate. I think they compliment each other perfectly. Despite his emo-type appearance, he's a really nice, smart guy. He's read The Inferno guys. HE READS. I like that about him! He and Mackenzie are really great as a pair, too. He's like a nice version of Jace, I think.

"Do you think she's falling for my dashing good looks, my charm, or the fact that I supply her with pastries?" (ARC pg. 183)

He's kind, yet very confident. He's also extremely... theatrical? Yeah, that's it. He's dramatic, and it's awesome. He's so perfect. Like, really girls. SO PERFECT. I enjoyed reading about him.

The secondary characters are written beautifully, too. Like, even though Mackenzie's Mom and Dad aren't super prominent characters, we still see and feel the pain their going through with their grief and they way they each were dealing with it. Roland was by far my favorite secondary character. He is what they call a librarian (two rungs higher than a Keeper like Mackenzie), and he wears converse. Like, how cool is that? We never learn exactly how old he is, but it is the reader can't help but assume he is a bit ancient. He's funny, too, for a guy who works in a shelving area for the dead. There were many more characters, but I'm not going into detail about any more. Y'all are just gonna have to wait. :)

Obviously, I'm giving this one five 'staches, because it is just pure literary awesome.

I'm trying to get my mommy to take me to Asheville on February 2 to go see her and get my very own signed copy of The Archived for my signed bookmark to live in. This is very important, you know.

And Merry Christmas Eve!!!


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  1. Bookmarks should ALWAYS be united!! :)
    Your review has done a great job of making me want this book even more!! And Wesley sounds amazing, even if he does wear guyliner. T.T

    Merry Christmas!

  2. LOL! I wasn't too interested in this book before because The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab bored me to tears, but your review has gotten me to the state of needing The Archived to death (maybe to the point of sacrificing children too)!

    Loved your review! Only problem: Wesley sounds somewhat like a clone of Wesley from The Princess Bride.

    -Angie @YA Novelties

  3. After reading The Near Witch, I knew I had to read more from this author. But if I wasn't excited enough, your review would have done that job. It sounds SO good! It's very important that I like the characters and that won't be a problem I see :D Awesome review!



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