July 19, 2013

Review | The Archived by Victoria Schwab

The Archived

Author: Victoria Schwab
Series: The Archived #1
Release Date: January 22, 2013
Pages: 328
Review by: Max

"Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books."

Mackenzie Bishop is stuck.
Both her Da (her grandfather, not her dad) and her little brother Ben have died recently, and frankly, it sucks.
To cope, her mom has picked up her family, or, well, what's left of it, and they've moved to a new home, an old hotel now sold as apartments, so Mac's stuck there, without her best friend or anyone she knows.
Mackenzie is also stuck with a job. A scary one.
Really, her was her Da's job, but he had to pass it on to someone. And that someone is Mackenzie.
Her Da would tell her stories, all about the world that wasn't theirs. Where Histories, the dead who hold the stories of the lives they've led, sleep in the Archive, where only Librarians can read them and the Keepers can hear them.

But sometimes, these Histories wake up and try to escape. And that's where Mackenzie comes in.
Her job as a Keeper is simple (well, as simple as it gets when one's dealing with a  secret world filled with rogue dead people that are kind of like ghosts). She finds the Histories that have woken up, and sends them back to the Archive, where they belong. Simple enough, right?

Mackenzie deals with some dangerous stuff, fights off some scary-butt dead people, gets caught in a mystery involving the hotel, makes some friends, makes some enemies, attempts to work on her summer homework,has romantic relationships with not ONE but two boys at the SAME TIME (don't worry, she's not a floozy and it's most definitely not a love triangle), and ends up saving the day. Sort of.

I loved it all.

One of the best parts of it was the fact that I honestly wasn't expecting to love this book. I mean, c'mon, it sounds a little bit creepy, and not at all like a lot of YA books you see out there right now.  Librarians (capital L librarians, mind you) keeping track of a bunch of dead people that sometimes wake from the dead and try to kill  live people? Not exactly my usual cup of tea.

But that's all okay, because it was genius! The world-building was magical, the whole idea of it all was just so original, and I don't think I'll find any book like this.

If you can get through the beginning (it was a little slow, but it had to be. The world did have to be built, guys.), then you'll love it. In fact, you might even like the beginning! It's written in first person present tense, but it also has these really cool flashbacks in the beginning of every chapter where Mackenzie relives lessons about The Narrows and The Archive from her Da that's written in second person to her grandfather and I loved it.

Mackenzie (or Mac) was a strong female lead character who'd been through a lot. She wasn't like, a Katniss kind of strong female lead, and not just because this wasn't a dystopian. She was just a girl who'd grown up knowing she'd have a tough job and a secret life and now she has it. So she made a few dumb decisions. What's the big deal? I'd be more upset if she didn't, and she was just a character that felt so REAL to me. Sometimes she didn't exactly act as old as she was, but I thought she was great, even if she wished she could've had a normal life.

Wesley Ayers (Guy-liner, as Mackenzie's friend from home Lindsey calls him)  was my hands-down favorite character and he just made the book. I love love loved the dialogue and interactions between Wesley and Mac. He was one of Mackenzie's love interests, and my favorite, clearly.

The villain in this book just kind of came out of nowhere. I'm sure there was probably tons of foreshadowing, but I'm just slow and was only able to pick up on he/she/it right before Mackenzie did, and (SPOILER-ISH) the ending was amazing. By about....halfway through?....I was like, oh geez, it's going to be a cliffhanger. I just couldn't see how Schwab was going to make everything okay again by the end and there was just so much going on and I was like, DARN IT WHY IS 2014 SO FAR AWAY!

But she tied everything together so nicely and while I'm still dying for the sequel, it's because I can't wait to see more of the characters, the world, and Schwab's writing, not because Mackenzie was left dangling from a metaphorical cliff. There IS a sequel, called The Outbound, that's expected to come out in January.

I loved this book. It's one of my favorites from this year, and I really hope you guys will give it a chance.

Fly on,

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