Book I Heart: The Archived by Victoria Schwab

The Archived by Victoria Schwab

Title: The Archived
Author: Victoria Schwab
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Hyperion

Back Cover Copy:
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 that 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 hardwon redemption.

Why I Love It:
“The Narrows remind me of August nights in the South.”

This book drew me in with the very first line. Victoria Schwab has the rare gift of being able to fully immerse the reader in the world she’s created. For me, the first line, and the first two pages of not-quite-prologue before chapter one starts, did just that. I could feel the heat and the thick night air wrapping itself around me and pulling me onto that porch with Mackenzie and Da.

This is a book about grief and loss, and about secrets and the loneliness they bring. But it’s also a book about learning to live with loss, about learning to open up and share, and to trust. I don’t know that I’ve read another book that captured the longing and emptiness of grief so well. The Bishop family, especially Mackenzie, is so well written that the grief is palpable. Even the Coronado, the former hotel that provides a backdrop for the story, longs for better days. I could see the peeling wallpaper, the cracked molding and worn carpet. And the Archive, the library of the dead, comes alive on the page.

The heart of the plot is a mystery, and it’s well-developed and intriguing. The clues and discoveries fold seamlessly into the narrative and the reveal is both surprising and, in hindsight, inevitable. There’s also a very yummy boy and a bit of romance that elevates the plot rather than simply running along side it. Basically everything that I adore in a book is in this book. Beautiful writing, well-woven plot, and characters to fall in love with. And let’s not forget gargoyles, guyliner, and a very cool librarian.

I was fortunate to win an ARC of The Archived in a twitter contest – thanks Victoria! – so I got to read all of its deliciousness early. The hardcover of The Archived releases tomorrow and the ebook will be out on the 29th, so place your pre-order or mark your calendar to hit up your favorite bookstore. You don’t want to miss this one.