Book Review

Book Review | THE ARCHIVED, by Victoria Schwab

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The Archived (The Archived #1), by Victoria Schwab

Publish Date: January 22, 2013 (audiobook published March 30, 2019)
Published by: Hyperion/Tantor Audio
Audiobook Narrated by: Piper Goodeve
Length: 9 hrs 54 min (321 pages)
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy/Paranormal
My Rating: ★★★★★ (4.5 out of 5 stars)


Synopsis:

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.


My Review:

I really enjoyed listening to this audiobook. I’ve been struggling to find something that captured my attention as wonderfully as the Kerstin Gier audiobooks did (especially Dream a Little Dream and its sequels), and while I’ve enjoyed other audiobooks, none of them have kept me engaged as much until The Archived. Maybe it was the narrator who captured the emotion so very well (although she could have varied the voices of the characters a bit more to separate them from one another), or maybe it was Victoria who always manages to write a story that has me enchanted. Or maybe I just have a thing for other-worldly doors.

I loved the characters, despite some flaws in Mackenzie that felt…typical of YA heroines (I hate it when they don’t communicate and instead omit and lie and let things build up to the point of causing harm – and I’m not talking about the lying to her parents, I’m talking about the lying to Wesley. And then there was the whole “I don’t need help or protection” like girl sometimes everyone needs help stop being so stubborn all the time). I understood, though, why she made some choices that she did, because she wasn’t handling her brother’s death well, and it was resulting in some misguided decisions. It was easy to see how she could miss certain clues. Wesley was adorable and fun, just the kind of male protagonist I love, and I like that he has his own issues and isn’t perfect but he is a right fit for Mackenzie.

The plot was fast-paced and easy to understand in terms of world-building. Like I said, it kept me on the edge of my seat and unable to stop listening (and when I had to I luckily have the paperback of the The Dark Vault: Unlock the Archive to supplement my reading addiction when I couldn’t have my headphones in my ears.) I am definitely glad this is the audiobook I chose to listen to, because it turned out to be just what I needed – a fun, fast-paced adventure with flawed characters, dark mysteries, and another world reached through hidden doors.

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