Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Archived Book Review

Rawr Reader,

   Hi, I hope your day is going well. And I'd like to thank my mom for getting this book for me. This review will be on The Archived by Victoria Schwab. The synopsis is provided by Goodreads:

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.

     I saw this book at the bookstore and the cover was really pretty, but I didn't decide to read it until I heard booktubers reading it and liking it. 

(safe for those who haven't read this book yet)
   Okay, what drew me to this book? The cover. And thank the book gods I judged this book's cover, because it deserves to draw any curious readers into its world. The jacket sleeve is beautiful and feel nice too, but once you open it, the design in the front and back is gorgeous and matches the haunting atmosphere inside. A manifestation of the world inside and just simply beautiful, but the 19th century, haunted mansion, regal beautiful. Yeah, I think I've made my point.
   What I first saw in this book was confusion and no-making sense plots (how am I in college?). While the cover drew me in, the synopsis tossed me into this world where I was so very, very confused. But once I started reading and learning about the Mackenzie and her place in the world, it was easy to understand the jobs: Keepers, Crew, Librarians to the places: The Archive, the Narrows, and the Outer (the real world).
   Another reason why I love this book is the murder mystery. Well, not literally, but it has murder and it has mystery. This is my kind of book, adn if you like those kinds of stories, you should read it, too! ;D
   Victoria Schwab's writing is elegiac and haunting and beautiful and Gothic (not literally even though there's a "goth" guy in the story) but the sort of haunting Gothic you see in 19th century literature. Her writing drew me into the story (despite it having a slow start). And it was consistent, once it started to get really good and into the plot, it had the snowball-hill effect. It just kept getting better and better and better. She creates this world in this old hotel which gives the hotel a real eerie atmosphere, but hinted with tastes of comical relief to give this world more than one layer. Heck, this world, the one that exists in the hotel Coronado, is as much a character as Mackenzie, Wesley, Roland, etc. This story takes place half of the time in the Archive and the other half in her new home which conveniently portals to her job. So even though she doesn't travel far, it still feels an adventure. I love it when authors can have adventures occur in stationary places. It sounds impossible to make them into great stories, but the best stories are capable of overcoming that, and Ms. Schwab did a remarkable job.
   Okay, I wasn't expecting romance in this book, but since it technically a young adult, I shouldn't have been surprised. However, it isn't a romance story, if anything it's a paranormal/mystery/murder/suspense (a little)/ then romance story. It isn't concentrated on Mac and a guy, though there are some charming guys introduced. Specifically the first guy she met, Wesley. Oh yeah, I'm in love with a fictional character. All I'm going to say is he's a charmer.
   Continuing on that note, I'll have to say Wes was probably my favorite character. However, Mackenzie was a close second. (And you know how I feel about main characters-- if you don't know, they rarely ever become my favorite.) Or Owen. Loved Owen. Mackenzie was a strong female lead character who created distances with others in this book not because of stupid reasons, but real reasons. I won't say what they are, but she was justified and I could sympathize with her because the author gave me reason to. She put the reader in the world of Mackenzie and she let the reader feel/see/hear everything Mackenzie was going through, but in a different style, more deeper and personal than other first-person stories. It's hard to say which characters I didn't like because Schwab builds them up wonderfully. All of them are realistic, though in the beginning I found the forced relationship between Mackenzie and parents a little off.
   While I didn't find the parent-daughter relationship believable, I love Mac's relationship between her and her grandfather, and between her and her brother. Her and her grandfather are the only little flashbacks, but the fact that throughout the story Mac tries to become closer with her brother who died a year before, I felt like it showed the realest part of her. There's a bunch of things she has to keep to herself (her job being the absolute non-negotiable one), but also, and I feel the one she has to but shouldn't be quiet about, is the fact that her brother is gone (there are others but I won't reveal any spoilers in this section). Her family doesn't like to talk about Ben because it's so painful, but the very fact she can't with the only people she should be able to without any constraints makes it even, well, sadder.
   I just want to live in this world. Schwab does such a phenomenal job. It's so creative and new and fresh and I haven't read anything like it. I can't find anything I could argue against in this book (and if you read my reviews you probably can tell I'm not shy about complaining about what doesn't work in books for me).
   The only thing I don't like is the fact that I have to wait a year for the next book! And honestly, I don't care if this book is in a series, there could be 100 books and I'd read every single one of them gladly. I need to read another Victoria Schwab book in the meantime I guess. Such a fantastic writer! The Archived and Victoria Schwab would definitely rank in top book and author all in one.

I give this beautiful book 5/5 stars. Seriously an amazing read, of course I'll recommend it to anyone and I'd read this book multiple times and still wouldn't get tired of it!

Author's Quote:
“Because the only way to truly record a person is not in words, not in still frames, but in bone and skin and memory.” 
― Victoria Schwab, The Archived

My Goodreads:

Next To Read:
The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson

River Song's Spoilers:
(unsafe for those who haven't read this book yet, so don't read this section)
    I love the irony. Of the dead wanting to come back to the Outside. Of the living, wanting to come to the Archived to see the dead.
   I'm so happy that Wes didn't die at the end. I would've knocked down a star probably if she had, but if this is in a series, it makes sense. We need some Wes in future books. ;)
   Owen turning out to be the bad guy surprised me. As I was reading I was trying to see who the culprit was so when it turned out to be him I almost twisted the book like I would twist a towel to squeeze out the liquid. Owen and Carmen. I admit I suspected Roland because he sometimes gave little hints like he was giving Mac too much information to get her into trouble, but then in the end it couldn't be him. I knew it couldn't be Patrick, he just acts annoying and really by-the-rules but that was the extent of it, I knew he couldn't be bad. And Wes of course, he just became a Keeper, he had no ulterior motive. However I didn't know much from Carmen so I sort of felt a little out in the open about that reveal.
    The only thing I didn't really get was near the end when Owen admitted to taking care of Robert. But every time he told Mac about him, he made it sound like he got away. So he didn't get away then? He just lied to Mac about him getting away and actually killed him?
   I can't wait for the next book! January needs to come faster!

Until Next Time,
Nicole Ciel

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