The Archived (The Archived book 1) by Victoria Schwab (book review).

‘The Archived’ is book one in the ‘The Archived Series’ by Victoria Schwab, who also writes as V.E. Schwab when writing her adult novels.

The Archive is a place that all souls go to after death to be stored as Histories. Mackenzie Bishop is a young girl who makes sure that they stay there and don’t go wandering off into the Narrows between our world and the Archive or, even worse, make their way back to our world. Mackenzie is what’s known as a Keeper and gets on with her job as best she can given she’s not allowed to tell anyone in her life about it. That is until someone starts messing with the Histories, letting highly dangerous ones out into the Narrows, obliterating parts of their History and trying to destroy the Archive for some hidden reason.

This book gives the reader a constant sense of unease, not truly scary just a little bit off or wrong. It feels like everything apart from the Archive is weird and eerie and something is not right even from the beginning of the book. This is something I really enjoyed to be honest as I’m really not a fan of horror or scary books as a rule but this one I felt was really enjoyable.

Having said that it did take me quite a while to really get into the story and what everything meant as I didn’t feel there was a lot of explanation in the beginning. Things just happened, both in the current time and in the flashbacks we get to when Mackenzie was learning her trade from her Da (her grandad). I decided to just go with it and trust that I would get my head around it in time and that’s what happened. I would completely understand if not everyone did this and probably a lot of people will put this book down after the first few pages, but can I suggest that you don’t?

Talking of the flashbacks, I found these to be the most useful in terms of giving me lots of information about Mackenzie and her Da along with lots about being a Keeper. There were definitely lots of gaps that these flashbacks filled in for me, plus we got a look at Mackenzies past to help us bond with her. There was also flashbacks from the building Mackenzie is living in as she is able to read histories and emotions from the things and people around her.

There was a lot of mystery added to the story through these flashbacks. This mystery, along with the slow destruction of the Archive, form the main bulk of the plot.

I’ve mentioned Mackenzie but there are loads of other great characters in here as well, including her boss in the Archive, plus a couple of likely lads that then turn into a little bit of a traditional love triangle, as is the way with YA novels. I really loved all the snarky comments and conversations between Mackenzie and the other characters in the book.

Overall, I did enjoy this book, it flew by to read! I’ll be reading book two, ‘The Unbound’, in this duology nice and fast to make sure I don’t forget too much from this book. Having said that, if you’re not into getting into another series of books you can read this one as a standalone, the ending is nice and neat.

Sarah Bruch

February 2019

follow me @shelbycat


(pub: Disney-Hyperion/Hachett US, 2015. 321 page paperback. Price: $25.99 (US), $29.99 (CAN). ISBN: 978-1-42317-108-9)

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