The Archived

The Archived

Book rating: 04 Hardback Archived

By (author) Victoria Schwab

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  • Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children
  • Format: Hardback | 321 pages
  • Dimensions: 140mm x 212mm x 34mm | 499g
  • Publication date: 22 January 2013
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 1423157311
  • ISBN 13: 9781423157311
  • Sales rank: 8,492

Product description

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. 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 hardwon redemption.Advance praise for "THE ARCHIVED" "This gripping supernatural thriller features nuanced characters navigating a complex moral universe." "Kirkus Reviews"

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Author information

Victoria Schwab ( is the author of "The Near Witch-w"hich "Kirkus" praised for its "shivery horror tang"-as well as several upcoming novels. Victoria suffers from a wicked case of wanderlust, but when she's not haunting Paris streets or trudging up English hillsides, she can usually be found tucked in the corner of a coffee shop in Nashville, sipping tea and dreaming up monsters.

Customer reviews

By Brenna Staats 26 Feb 2014 5

Victoria's debut The Near Witch was a book so enchanting that I told myself I had to read anything she wrote afterwards. And luckily for me, The Archived is a book that appeals to my literary taste.

Victoria incorporates mystery, slight morbid curiousity, determined young woman, and an appreciation for the past in her newest release.

Reasons to Read:

1. Writing style that perfectly sets the mood:

I praised Victoria's writing in The Near Witch for its whimsical yet eerie style that accurately reflected the unearthly setting. Victoria utilizes this talent of hers and applies it to The Archived - Mac's voice is distinctively Southern and strikingly mature in some ways and young in others. Her familiarity with The Archives is notable, particularly when contrasted with her frustration at home with her family. The reader doesn't just read Mac's words, but feels them and experiences them as much as a reader can.

2. A ghost story...without ghosts?

The Archived makes the comment a few times that Histories are not ghosts and explains the differences between the two. So while it may not be a story about ghosts per se, it has the distinct flavour of a ghost story and all the good things that come with one. It's very creepy at some points, and fairly dark.

3. Reflections on living & the past:

Mac spends a significant portion of the book pondering the meaning of life and death and what it all means to the dead and those they leave behind. And this is where I can best describe this book as making me feel terribly homesick! I am personally petrified by the thought of losing those I love dearly, and this is one of the key themes of the book and one of life's most personal struggles. We will all experience it in one way or another, and as Mac tries to make sense of her grief, all it made me want to do was give my grandparents and sister and everyone the BIGGEST hug and hold them close. It's just so raw and painful - very, very real.

It took me a little while to adapt to the world though, and the reader is very much launched into it with little warning. Mac gradually explains bits and pieces of her world and involvement as a Keeper, and while that works well for staying away from any info-dumping or lengthy explanations, it also makes for a rather confusing beginning to a book.

I was a bit split on my impression of the villain as well. For the most part I thought it was clever and surprising, but about half of it seemed thrown it without much background or any hints. It was ultimately less fulfilling than I had anticipated.

A good book will resonate with its reader, and make you think and most importantly, FEEL. I can't stress how well The Archived accomplished that with my experience reading it. It delivered as a breath of fresh air in YA, and I can't wait to read the rest of the series as well as Victoria's other upcoming books.

ARC received from Hachette Book Group Canada for review; no other compensation was received.

By Jennifer Juckes 22 Sep 2013 3

Many thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for my review copy, this is in exchange for an honest review.

My Review:

The Synopsis to this sounded so good, I mean how cool is the idea of having the dead rest on shelves like library books.

But I have to say overall I found this one to be a bit of a deadpan, it stayed the same level all through the book. I was waiting for the excitement and the tension but I didn't feel it. I didn't connect with the book and I just about scraped through to the end. No I didn't hate it, it just didn't light a fire underneath me. Shame really as the concept sounded so good.

I liken it to a pan of simmering water, just a few bubble breaking the surface but not the great frenzy you get from a pan of boiling water.

The writing style was descriptive and very visual, it certainly didn't lack in imagination but maybe this was its downfall for me. Instead of creating the world I wish the story would have come through a bit quicker, then I think the story would have flowed through better.

I haven't got any characters that stood out, I did sort of like Mackenzie but to be honest I wasn't too fussed on the others.

Obviously this is my opinion of the book and it's not all bad, someone else may think it's a five star book. It just wasn't for me. The writing style isn't bad so don't be too put off by me.

Not for me and left me with a lukewarm feeling.

Review quote

Gr 9 Up Mackenzie was just 11 when her Da passed along the heavy responsibility of being a "Keeper": one in charge of returning Histories to the Archive. A History is a sort of ghost, but more like a copy of a dead person's life. Librarians keep every History on a shelf, in a complex and rigid order. But every once in a while one slips (becomes restless and crazed) and escapes the orderly Archive into the chaos of the Narrows a lightless series of corridors filled with doors. A Keeper's role is to return the Histories to the Archive lest they escape into the real world. When her family moves to an old hotel turned apartment building called the Coronado after the tragic death of her beloved little brother, Mac's workload of wandering Histories begins increasing exponentially. Plus, she meets a strange-looking Goth guy named Wes who shocks her by confessing that he, too, is a Keeper, and she begins to bond with him. Soon the ordered quiet of the Archive is booming with the noise of escaped Histories, and there appears to be a saboteur. Mac uncovers a dark secret held in the walls of the Coronado. Something terrible happened there and great lengths have been taken to cover it up. Stranger still is Owen, whom Mac encounters in the Narrows, a History who is not on her list and somehow has not yet slipped. Schwab skillfully manages that rare accomplishment: a spine-tingling, supernatural, ghostly mystery that is fully believable. A writer to watch for sure sequel please! Tara Kehoe, Plainsboro Public Library, NJ SLJ"