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I Belong

Early Review: The Archived by Victoria Schwab

Title: The Archived

Author: Victoria Schwab

Genre: YA Paranormal

Series: The Archived (Book 1)

Publication Date: January 22, 2013

Format: Hardcover, 336 Pages

ISBN-10: 1423157311 (Hyperion)

ISBN-13: 978-1423157311 (Hyperion)

Reviewed by: Michelle


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.

Quick & Dirty: A fantastic tale that shows the history of people in a different light. Engaging and unique, readers will enjoy this phenomenal tale.

Opening Sentence: The Narrows remind me of August nights in the South.

Excerpt: No

The Review:

I fell in love with Victoria Schwab’s writing in her debut, The Near Witch. Schwab has this beautiful and poetic way when writing hauntingly eerie stories. For her next novel, The Archived, that talent is present, loud and clear. The premise of The Archived is a fantastic one – people were histories, stored in an archived library, maintained and cared for by the select few. The Archived is riveting and kept me on the edge of my seat, making it a perfect read for this winter.

In The Archived, the dead are called Histories, kept and cataloged in The Archives, who are managed by Librarians. Occasionally they are lost in vast spaces called The Narrows, and Keepers search for them and bring them back. For Mackenzie “Mac” Bishop, she was introduced to this life by her grandfather, Da, and at the young age of twelve. Mac’s mom has relocated them to an apartment building named the Coronado. Mac is now trying to balance her new life with her parents and with the growing list of Histories that she must find.

In an otherwise organized and efficient system, The Archives have been problems of late, or technical difficulties as one of the Librarians had said. Mac has encountered more problems within the Narrows since she relocated to the Coronado. What secrets lie deep in the Narrows and the Archives? Will it bring her danger, or even bring her to her death? And how will these problems create more problems for Mac’s normal life?

Mac is a strong person. She is young, and given everything that Schwab has thrown her way, I am surprised at how well she was structured on paper. Mac has depth, much more than a lot of protagonists that I’ve read lately. It was refreshing to see Mac in a realistic manner, despite her responsibilities, she still acted out as she should for her age. It was a little slow to warm up to her, but Mac is also closed off. You’ll understand when you start reading. Schwab was awesome with Mac.

The supporting characters within The Archived added to the reasons why I loved this book. The Librarians add a sense of solid balance, creating a backbone to the whole thing. They provided a structure that countered Mac’s personality, and it made for a fascinating arc. Mac also meets many Histories, some more memorable than others, and in the midst of all the danger, I felt for one in particular.

I want to say that The Narrows, The Archives, and even the Coronado were all characters in their own right. Schwab’s world was alive and had a lot of personality. Without these three backdrops, the story would have muddled right along. But each one had their own strengths and weaknesses, perfect for each scene.

I am a fan of Schwab’s writing. From The Near Witch to her blog posts, and now to The Archived, Schwab has a way of telling a story that will grab you. With hints of dark and eerie themes, The Archived tells a story of those forgotten and those you want to forget. Love, sorrow, and even hate play a role throughout the story, and Schwab weaves these messages really well.

I highly urge you to pick up The Archived. It’s amazing and a perfect start to a new series.

Notable Scene:

The phone goes dead. I toss it onto the bed and stare down at the faded spots on my bedroom floor.

Questions eat at me. What happened in this room? Who was the boy? And whose blood was he covered in? And maybe it’s not my job, maybe it’s an infraction to find out, a misuse of power, but every member of the Archive takes the same oath:


We protect the past. And the way I see it, that means we need to understand it.

And if neither Lyndsey’s search engines nor Mrs. Angelli are going to tell me anything, I’ll have to see for myself. I tug the ring from my finger, and before I can chicken out, I kneel, press my hands back to the floor, and reach for the past.

The Archived Series:

1. The Archived

FTC Advisory: Hyperion provided me with a copy of The Archived.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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