Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The Archived by Victoria Schwab
Narrator: Piper Goodeve
Series: The Archived #1
Published by Tantor Audio on April 30, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Length: 9 hours, 54 minutes
Amazon, Audible, Audiobook, Barnes & Noble
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.
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 hard-won redemption.
Victoria Schwab has a very creative mind and builds on some really interesting premises, like; what if there was a library of sorts for dead people, where the bodies/records are kept on shelves asleep and what if sometimes those bodies get up and try to get back out into the world? See, very interesting premise.
Mackenzie is a keeper, which means that every once and awhile a name appears on a piece of papers and she is responsible to go to a place in-between the world and the Library to collect the escaped history, which is really the body of a dead person, who has woken up and made their way out of the Library.
That is her job, one she must keep a secret and one that is about to get harder as the new place her family has moved to has a lot more action in the in-between places than her previous home. It is a little lonely but it does come with some cool benefits and drawbacks as Mac sees things when she touches a place or person, she can read them, so to speak. Pretty cool superpower if you ask me, except it makes it really hard to touch people when you always hear their essence, especially your parents who are still reeling from the death of a child.
“The silliest things shatter you. A T-shirt discovered behind the washing machine. A toy that rolled under a cabinet in the garage, forgotten until someone drops something and goes to fetch it, and suddenly they’re on the concrete floor sobbing into a dusty baseball mitt.”
This fresh start her family wants is in an old hotel converted to an apartment building years ago after WWII. It seems full of mysteries, including who killed a girl in the apartment Mac now shares with her parents and why are the number of Histories escaping the Library starting to increase at a staggering pace.
The first half of the book with all the set up and backstory building did seem to take some time. For me, the story really didn’t get moving until the second half of the book when all the players have been introduced and parts or both the murder mystery and how it might be tied to the Archive are teased out. Then it is a fast read as I pushed through to figure out the mystery.
There are even a few guys in Mac’s life, but don’t worry- there isn’t really any love triangle situation. I do like that Mac finds someone else in her line of work she can talk to, since for a long time in the book she seemed so alone and Wesley is a lot of fun. Don’t let the pretty boy façade and eyeliner fool you, the guy has a lot of smarts and wit about him. He is a great compliment to the sometimes-somber Mac.
Overall this was an interesting story containing an inventive idea, likable characters, solid plotline and intriguing mystery.
“Because the only way to truly record a person is not in words, not in still frames, but in bone and skin and memory.”
Piper was really good at portraying Mackenzie. She made it easy to empathize with her and I liked her performance of this audio. I listened to this at my normal 1.5x speed.
Listen to a clip: HERE
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