The Archived (The Archived #1)


The Archived (The Archived #1) by Victoria Schwab

Blurb:

Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.
Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures 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 may crumble and fall.

Review:

They tell me I have your gray eyes, and your hair – back when it was reddish brown instead of white – but I don't care about those things. Everyone has eyes and hair. I want the things most people don't notice. The ring and the key and the way you have of waring everything on the inside.

This was sort of a re-read – it was the first time I actually read the book and the first time I read it in English (in other words: I listened to a German audiobook of it before) – but I liked it a lot better this way. Not only is the writing impeccable and creates an eerie atmosphere but I was also able to look past some of the things which annoyed me the last time I delved into this story.

Honestly, writing-wise this might be my favorite book by Schwab so far. Sure, Shades of Magic is fantastic but there is something about the writing in this book (meaning The Archived) that compels me more (not so much in the story but we are talking about an incredible high level on both sides, so I'm anything but complaining). I was very much touched by Mac's descriptions, especially the memory-parts. I practically got lost within the words and didn't even notice the pages (and hours) floating by.

Moreover, the idea behind this story is, obviously, great. Nothing less than what one would expect from a book by Schwab. The concept is easy and engrossing enough that it is able follow a strict logic (although I have to admit that it has been brought to my attention that I might be cutting a little bit of slack on the logic-observing department when it comes to Schwab, but I don't really believe that) without ever becoming boring – especially because of all the secrets. Honestly, who can't resist a little bit of imaginative death-lore?

A confession: sometimes I dream of being normal. I dream about this girl who looks like me and talks like me, but isn't me. I know she's not, because she has this open smile and she laughs too easily.

In terms of criticism, there really isn't much left but I'm going to rehash one of the things I noted when I was listening to the audiobook: I thought that the villain figure was way too predictable and it did annoy me that Mac wasn't able to see through that person. This time, however, this lack of obliviousness just added to the eerie atmosphere and the tension so it might actually not bother you, if you happen to come across the same "problem".

But I would have wished for some more character depth in the side-characters. I would have loved to see more of the café/Mac's parents in general as well as Wes and his relationship with everyone, in general, and Mac, specifically. But for now, I simply hope that I'll get to see more of that in the next book, which I'll hopefully read very, very soon.

Four years of service, and the Archive is still so full of secrets – some big, like altering; some small, like this. The more of them I learn, the more I realize how little I know, and the more I wonder about the things I have been told. The rules I have been taught.

Rating:

I might have liked the book better this time than the last but it's not enough for me to warrant a change in my rating: Last time, the 4/5 stars were rather wary but this time they're exuberant.

Details:

Name: The Archived
Deutscher Titel: Das Mädchen das Geschichten fängt
Series: The Archived
Author: Victoria Schwab
Publisher: Hyperion
Pages: 321
Where?: Amazon (English edition), Amazon (Deutsche Ausgabe)

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