Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Archived

The Archived by Victoria Schwab

“Because the only way to truly record a person is not in words, not in still frames, but in bone and skin and memory.” 

The Archived is a young-adult, fantasy novel that takes place in modern day and follows Mackenzie Bishop, a teenage girl who is a Keeper, one of the people entrusted with stopping Histories from escaping the Archive into the world outside. Histories are essentially an entire person's life (or "history") contained in a replica of their body and the Archive is like a library that houses all Histories. These Histories can sometimes wake up and become violent, and Keepers, like Mackenzie (or Mac), are responsible for making sure the Histories don't make it out into the real world.

This story has a mixture of mystery and fantasy while dealing with multiple relationships (family, friendship and romantic). It not only deals with Mac's job as a Keeper, but also how her family is dealing with the aftermath of Mac's younger brother's recent death. In the midst of this, Mackenzie starts to notice that more and more Histories have been escaping from the Archive and that these Histories are becoming increasingly more dangerous. As she starts to investigate the reason behind this new turn of events, she meets a History who is unlike any other she has met before...

My Rating: ALL OF THE STARS!! (But since that isn't an option... FIVE STARS!)

I love both books in this series so much, they are everything I love and need in a story and the writing, story crafting and characters are so beautiful I just...

The first book has a bit of a slow start so don't be dissuaded, once the plot picks up you'll be happy you got all the important information (world-building is important people). Personally, it took me a couple of days to get through the beginning, but I am so glad that I did because it is now one of my favorite series. And after the first 50 or so pages the plot picked up and I couldn't put it down.

The story is told mainly in present time, but throughout the book you get flashbacks. The flashbacks help unravel a lot about Mac's character and we get to see some defining moments in her life. Particularly from moments with her grandfather and her brother, who both have since passed away.

The flashbacks and Mac's narration emphasize her feelings of loss, overwhelming grief and even guilt as a result of her brother's death. This book doesn't just deal with superficial emotions. It is a story that deals with relationships, trust, family, grief and it does so in an intricately developed world that exists within the one we know, while also following a mystery.

Through the flashbacks we also see Mac as she was learning to be a Keeper from her grandfather, Da, who passed the job onto her and taught her everything she knows. Her memories of her grandfather and his lessons provide insight into Mac's personality and why she treats being a Keeper the way she does. Those flashbacks give a context as to why Mac is so methodical, careful and withdrawn. She isolates herself from her family and is hesitant to let anyone in, including and especially Wesley, the first Keeper Mac ever meets outside of the Archived world.

Speaking of Wesley... He is definitely one of my favorite characters. Ever. He waltzed into my life with his dyed hair, loud music and lined eyes and totally won me over. He is funny, clever and just an all-around fantastic. I pretty much couldn't stop smiling whenever he showed up. Some of the best moments in the book are his interactions with Mac. I'll give you some examples:

“It takes at least three assassination attempts to scare me off. And even then, if there are baked goods involved, I might come back.” 

“'I’ve been thinking.'

'A dangerous pursuit.'


I mean... I think everyone needs a Wesley Ayers in their life. The world would be a better place if more Wesley Ayers' existed. I could go on, but I think you get the picture.

This book is just so stunning. Victoria Schwab is a beautiful writer. I read both books in the series this year and I can say that without a doubt this series is one of my favorites.

There are currently two books in the series and Victoria Schwab has announced that she is writing a third. And fortunately, both books in this series are wonderful in that they both wrap up in satisfying ways without cliff-hanger endings. I know, what a concept! Not to mention this world is so fascinating! The characters are captivating and feel so real that I just want to read more about them and this world. I truly fell in love with the characters.

And there is going to be a third book!!!

There is no set realease date, but I don't care. I'd wait forever to read another book with Mac and Wesley...

So, if this series sounds at all like something you'd enjoy, I strongly encourage you to go pick it up. You won't regret it.

Oh yeah, and if you were wondering about all the Princess Bride gifs, that's because Wesley in the story was partly inspired by Westley from the Princess Bride as if this book couldn't get any better. 

These books mean a lot to me. It's been months and I still go back and spend time thinking about the characters, the story, the world. I think that is the mark of a book that really has burrowed itself inside you. The kind that will stay with you even as you get older. My favorite books are ones that I know I will carry with me even after finishing that last page. This is one of those books.

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