Title: The Archived
Author: Victoria Schwab
Rating: 5 stars
There's a place few know about. A place where the dead don't rest in coffins, but on shelves. This place is the Archive. There are Librarians to read the Histories[the dead], and Keepers to catch them if they escape. Mackenzie has been trained by her Da to be a Keeper from a very young age. Now, years after Da's death, Mackenzie's family is moving to start fresh after her little brother dies. In a new territory, Mac's skills as a Keeper are tested. More and more Histories are finding their way into the Narrows, and Mac is going to find out the truth. Even if that means going against everything Da taught her.
Let's start with the prologue, which is my favorite part of most of my favorite books. Sorry if that seems confusing, but seriously, the prologue in this book amazing. One of the best I've ever read. Here are the first few lines:
“The Narrows remind me of August nights in the South. They remind me of old rocks and places where the light can't reach. They remind me of smoke-the stale, settled kind-and of storms and damp earth.”
Isn't that amazing? I was so absorbed into the story after just those first few lines. The imagery in this book is amazing. People are shelved after they die, so essentially people become books, or Histories, that can be read. I've never read a book quite like this one, and I appreciate how hard it is to produce something new, something completely fresh when most YA books follow the same formula. This book is about Mackenzie being a Keeper first, then there's the [potential]relationship second. I loved that. This isn't another story where the amazing new world story is overshadowed by some over the top love story. The descriptions throughout are so damn good, I felt like I was right there with Mac. I was chasing the Histories, skulking through the creepy Narrows, and turning the key to meet the bright white light of the Returns.
A lot of my favorite moments were flashbacks between Mackenzie and her Da. She struggled with doing what she thought was right and following what Da trained her to do. Mackenzie was such an awesome heroine. She was tough, compassionate, smart, and flawed. Oh, how I love a flawed character.
Let's talk about guyliner. Yes, guyliner. I loved Wesley. I loved his relaxed, somewhat cocky, attitude. I didn't quite get to the book boyfriend level, but there was something so damn right about him. I just felt really invested in him.
I loved everything about this book. The lone complaint I have is that perhaps it could have been longer, but I don't even know if I actually feel that way. It's not the size of the book, but the contents within the book, right? If that's true[which I think it is] then I guess I really have no complaints.
Some of my favorite quotes:
“Because the only way to truly record a person is not in words, not in still frames, but in bone and skin and memory.”
"It's a shame they do that," he says, thumbing through the pages. "Requirement ruins even the best of books.”
“Mom may be able to power a city, but Dad barely stays lit.”
Bottom line: This book is entertaining, thought provoking, fresh, and completely amazing.
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