Friday, February 22, 2013

ARC Review: The Archived by Victoria Schwab

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 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 created this visual experience for us readers. It was powerful, enticing, and free. The character seemed to speak to you with this air of grace and power, soft and hard. And I can say that my mind went on a magical journey throughout the whole novel.

The only other book that made me experienced this "visualization" was The Night Circus. While reading the book, it felt like I was thrown into a world that was like ours but twisted, ancient, silly, and teasing. But just like The Night Circus, the plot barely develops. But, (and yes, a second but), this makes the book different. It wasn't like normal YA, it was more, something deeper. Victoria was able to capture a middle grade feel from the start and transition to YA as the character grew. It really had the best of all worlds. I mean, I am a huge fan of MG plots, but YA/Adult level of sophisticated writings, so when Victoria merged the boundaries, I died in heaven. It was as if you plot me in my fantasy world of Lemony Snicket and brought back memories of adventure.

This book was funny, let me explain. This book seemed like balance, on one side it is plot/action, on the other is visualization. In the first half and so the visualization is fabulous, but the action lacked. And as the later half approached, action increased but visualization dropped.

The atmosphere around this book was something indescribably. It almost seemed like a mist had en-caged you and you, as the reader, are having visions, visions that are vivid and fierce.

The words Victoria weaved seemed to swirl around me and turn into scenery. The Narrows, The Archived, and everything else were dreamlike. I cannot describe it and I will not because I am not up to the quality of Victoria, but I really hope when you read this book, you can feel the joy I got reading it.

I can totally see a "Coraline" type of animation coming out of this book! But also an Inception like movie!

Like The Night Circus, it had almost too much "visualization" and not enough plot advancements (or at least not good ones). The book seemed to dragged on forever and when things happened it seemed to leap. It was choppy, unprofessional and honestly boring. The characters were boring to read, typical and just not relatable. But at first I liked Kenzie and Wes and even Da (even though I was confused for a long time about him). But as the story went on I just couldn't care about them. It really was a pain to read on.

But really, I just think this book was waaaayyy too slow for me. The first half was just setting up and I am sorry, I am not patient. So basically this book had me in this bad mood for the first half so anything that was somewhat exciting was somewhat bland. I literally had to force myself to finish. So if you are the type of people who only reads about 100 pages of a book and decide to continue or not, you might have some issue with this book.

Oh, one of the pros lead itself to the cons. You know the MG/YA thing I praised above, it became a pain in the butt. Half of book to me seemed like MG (the first half), and set my brain to this mode of "oh, this is a MG book". So when Victoria switched on the YA part, my brain didn't register and it was just weird for me to read it. But of course, this is just my opinion, and I am weird.

So yes, I think Victoria killed a great concept. I mean that prologue was one of the best prologue I had EVER read! I am soooo disappointed! I might just cry myself to sle-. Okay maybe not.


  1. Wow what a bummer! :( It sounds like this book had a lot of potential but just didn't follow through. I'm not really a fan of books that drag on and don't advance the plot. And, of course, boring characters will ruin any bookd! I'm sorry you didn't enjoy this one more. :( Better luck next time.

  2. I really liked the sneak peek I read a while back, but I didn't realize this was going to be such a slow book. I was hoping that it picked up. Great review. I think this is one of those that I will just get from my library. :)

    Jenea @ Books Live Forever

  3. EEK I'm so sorry you didn't like this one D: I didn't like The Night Circus that much because of the same reasons you had with The Archived (and also The Night Circus too lol!) because sometimes too much setting severely just drags the book down which is so horrible sometimes!

    Awesome review though! <3


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