The Archived by Victoria Schwab
"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."- summary from Amazon
OK, so I reviewed Schwab's debut when it came out and I felt just okay about it. It wasn't amazing, it wasn't bad, it was just in the middle. I had no real feelings about it either way. I heard about The Archived shortly after and thought it sounded really interesting, and I'm willing to give authors another shot. I gotta say, I'm SO glad I did.
The Archived is simply amazing. I could not put this book down and Schwab did a fantastic job creating the world of the Archived with the Narrows, Histories, Keepers, etc. I never found myself confused about who was who and what was what; the world is clearly defined.
Mackenzie is a wonderful main character and so realistically written. I liked how she grew over the course of the novel, opening up more to herself, other people, and her family. I loved her interactions with Wesley- he's such a deeply layered character and they were both very funny together too.
I will say though that I figured out who did it way before it was revealed, so that was a bit anti-climactic, but it was still a very interesting, compelling mystery. It helped me fly through the pages.
Overall, a sophomore effort that, for me at least, was better than the author's debut. It's so worth a look, so definitely check it out.
FTC: Received ARC from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.