[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.
Victoria Schwab is a woman who knows how to write a book.
First of all, I have to talk about how absolutely astounding the writing is. It's beautiful and almost lyrical, very haunting. Victoria Schwab has such an incredible way with words and using them to create perfect images in your head or pull on your heart strings as the occasion requires. She's definitely one of the most talented writers I've ever had the pleasure of reading.
Then Mac? Mac is so awesome. She changes and develops so much from a pretty kick ass girl to a semi-ultimate bad ass (we have to leave room for her to become ULTIMATE bad ass in the sequels, yeah?). I loved that she was strong, physically and emotionally, and dedicated. She was loyal, but not necessarily blindly. She wasn't a model Keeper because she was too curious and man can I relate to that.
And then there's the other characters, all of them crafted extraordinarily well. Mac's Da, her parents, the boys she meets, the Librarians. They have so much detail and so much life. Each one is incredibly important to the story and so very real and wonderful. These characters had depth to them, even if they weren't in the story often or didn't seem super important. And you can tell that Victoria knows so much more about them that we might get to learn in the sequels.
The story itself is this immense mystery and I never saw it coming. I was so swept up in the prose and the characters that I couldn't even try to imagine how it was going to be told or how it would end. It was very intricately woven, little hints you don't really see until the very end. Thinking about it makes me want to go and reread and take notes on how to properly do a mystery like this.
Guys, seriously. Not picking up this book would be a mistake. I'm so head over heels in love with this book, it's ridiculous. I think The Archived is enough to put Victoria on my insta-buy list forever and ever. I know the year's just started, but this is already on my Best of 2013 list, without a doubt (which, admittedly, is already a bit lengthy. But...we'll talk about that later). Run, drive, train, bus, hijack a jet, do something to get your hands on this book.