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.”
– Taken from Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10929432-the-archived)
For some strange reason, it took me a really, really long time to get to this book. I’ve had it for ages, but somehow, it always got postponed. On the one hand, I question myself why, as it was a very nice read. On the other hand, the sequel is out now, so I don’t have to wait for it.
This has a very unique concept. Never before had I seen the idea of protecting the past by storing the dead in an archive. Really intriguing, in my opinion, and it made for a fascinating world building. Mackenzie was also a very interesting character, what with her having to keep so many big secrets from her own family, which is a bit dysfunctional (thanks to her mother, mostly).
Plotwise, this book had a very nice pace. It started a little confusing, though. You see, there are several mentions to Mac’s Da, who is dead, and to Mac’s dad. It took me a few chapters to figure out that Da was in fact Mac’s grandfather. However, the pace became faster and faster, and then, in the end, there were the usual twists. One of them really caught me by surprise, and I love it when that happens.
As for the romance, it was just right. Because Mac has a huge responsibility and a lot to lose, it wouldn’t feel right if she just dropped everything to go snog someone. It felt more like snatched moments, here and there, as it should be.
Rating: 4 out of 5