The Archived (The Archived, #1) by Victoria Schwab
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Ghosts
Short reaction: Great unique concept about ghosts and ghost hunters and reading the past!
Rating: 5 out of 5
Buy book on Amazon: Hardback / Kindle
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.
Also seen on Goodreads.
Wow. It actually took a bit of time for me to finish this since I’m revamping the blog and at the same time have lots of other buddy reads going on. However, it’s finishing the Lost Souls challenge that made me pursue this and I’m glad I did! Even though again it’s about lingering souls, Mac’s ability to read the past to hunt Histories and go through doors of another world are fascinating. The concept is breathtakingly fresh for me! Here’s the reason for my 5 stars:
The Archived brought me various emotions while reading every chapter. For instance, the flashbacks continually developed the story from the start until the end breaking one mystery after another while the present world with the protagonist showed clear descriptions of both suspense and action as I unlocked the doors to the living and the dead. The hunts, conversations between Histories and seeing their past life brought images on my mind so clear I felt I’m putting myself in the protagonist’s shoes.
Characters. Characters are strong and showed their dominance throughout the events. The most dominant of course is our 15-year-old heroine, Mackenzie Bishop who became a Keeper when she’s 12 after her grandfather Da passed on the talent to her before he died. Mac is undeniably strong-willed and smart since training because she showed unusual strength by being able to hunt the Histories since then. Her willingness to find justice for her little brother’s death and Da’s legacy as a keeper was impressive because that made her go through doors and face the strongest Histories without flinching while having to face and fight with them weaponless.
Keepers are the ones who hunt Histories (or in normal world, we call it ghosts/souls) that when people die, leave patterns and these patterns are then stored and archived thus making a copy of the dead in a place called The Archive. This serves as the dead’s chamber of protection so when they slip and wake from their shelves, they have to be hunted and returned.
Roland – a Librarian, (2 notches higher than a Keeper), shows a likable character because he’s strict yet he has sympathy to understand what’s fair and not. He follows orders from the other higher ranks yet he has a heart to balance things from right and wrong.
Patrick – another Librarian but newer and younger than Roland, I hate him for always doubting Mac’s skills and trying to report her to the higher ranks.
Wesley – fun to be with and a gentleman then turned protective when he felt an unexpected attraction with Mac. He’s young yet Ms. Schwab created this character to be seen as mature enough to accompany the protagonist and be with her throughout the journeys.
Hunting Histories. I can’t help but think of Anna Dressed In Blood and how Cas Lowood hunted the dead to stop them from killing the living and send them to where they should be (outside of the living world). With Mac’s case, it’s not about fixing the murders the dead has done but returning the Histories for their peace and protection.