I know I haven’t been active, but I’m back again
hopefully for a long time with a review!
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 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 hard-won redemption.
AVG Goodreads Rating: 4 out of 5 (can change at any time)
THE WORLD BUILDING
The world building in this book was absolutely amazing. I’m not exaggerating one bit when I’m saying this. Victoria Schwab created such a unique world with so many unique aspects that it was really easy to lose sight of that world and make the whole book fall apart (much like how I felt with Under the Never Sky, though it was still a good read) but Victoria Schwab sold the premise of this story and the world with almost an effortless ease. She created such a beautiful world and system but it didn’t fall flat at all! The reader can imagine this world with all of its intricate little details and eventually fall in love with the world so much that it feels more like an indulgence than a book.
I’ll admit that I wasn’t completely into the plot at the beginning, but things started to get very interesting towards the second half of the book. I also very much liked how all of the events were so intricately weaved together, without the reader knowing, and were all very important to the story. It was fun seeing how it came together in the end, especially because I wasn’t sure where the story would go and got worried.
There is a sort of love triangle thing going on, but it definitely takes a backseat in this book because of the importance of the conflict and plot, which I very much appreciated. Nowadays in YA books, you find the main character making out with the love interest when they need to be, oh I don’t know, saving the world and stopping the downfall of humanity. Mackenzie, the main character, knew what was more important out of these two choices: saving the lives of people or her love life. However, don’t be so downhearted to find out that romance isn’t the main vocal point of this book! There’s still plenty of romance to go around, Mackenzie just knew that there were more important matters at hand. For example, one of the romantic relationships, was her relationship with Wesley Ayers. They definitely had a lot of cute moments, some that made me want to rip my hair out because it was so cute and swoon-worthy. As much as I appreciated the romantic accent in their relationship though
trust me, I do. I have the hospital bills to prove it, I fell in love with the fact that their relationship was more than two people in love: they were two people working together and were a team. Of course, there is also Mackenzie’s other relationship, Owen. Her relationship with Owen was kind of like the “no strings attached” sort of thing, but they definitely had their heartfelt moments together.
Mackenzie: She was a very likable protagonist. I wouldn’t go so far as to say she’s one of my favorite protagonists, but she was definitely a good protagonist! She knew what was more important (as stated in the previous part of this book review) and stayed close to her beliefs. I’ll admit there were times when I outwardly groaned because of her reactions to some things, but after thinking it over, I let it slide because those reactions, no matter how little and groan-worthy they were, was part of her personality and her background of being a Keeper.
Wesley: MEET THE NEW MEMBER OF DALENA’S FICTIONAL BOYFRIEND GROUP, EVERYONE. LETS GET THE CONFETTI AND THE CAKE AND START CELEBRATING. Okay so aside from the fact that he was totally swoon-worthy, or at least to me, he was also very kickass. HE HAD A FREAKING STAFF TO GO BEAT HISTORIES WITH. His sense of humor was also very humorous, which I undoubtedly fell in love with him for and
also for the fact that he wears guyliner that’s pretty damn hot in my book
Owen: I really liked Owen. He was the reason why I was questioning who I liked more actually, Wesley or Owen. He was very sweet, and could be very humorous at times, and there was also this whole mystery surrounding him that was interesting to figure out.
SOMETHING INTERESTING I LIKED
One unique thing I liked about this book, besides the incredibly written world, was the fact that there were flashbacks to Mackenzie’s lessons of being a Keeper with Da, her grandfather, in the beginning of some chapters. It was fun to see how that lesson played a part in Mackenzie’s decisions during that specific chapter. I also like how it’s in second person, rather than first, during these flashbacks, so it seems like Mackenzie is talking directly to Da.
ANOTHER THING I LIKED
It is heavily mentioned in this book, by Mackenzie, that lying is an essential role to be a Keeper and it totally broke my heart how she lied so much to protect the people she loved and to protect the world of The Archived. You could slowly see how it was affecting her and how her carefully made armor was slowly crumbling away as she kept lying.
Quotes I liked:
“What if I mess up?”
“Oh, you will. You’ll mess up, you’ll make mistakes, you’ll break things. Some you’ll be able to piece together, and others you’ll lose. That’s all a given. But there’s only one thing you have to do for me.”
“Stay alive long enough to mess up again.”
“Lying is easy. But it’s lonely.”
“What do you mean?”
“When you lie to everyone about everything, what’s left? What’s true?”
“Nothing,” I say.
“Because the only way to truly record a person is not in words, not in still frames, but in bone and skin and memory.”
“It takes at least three assassination attempts to scare me off. And even then, if there are baked goods involved, I might come back.”
“Curiosity is a gateway drug to sympathy.”
“Free caffeine and sugar, a recipe for making friends.”
“And then I get why Wes can’t stop smiling, even though it looks silly with his eyeliner and jet-black hair and hard jaw and scars. I am not alone. The words dance in my mind and in his eyes and against our rings and our keys, and now I smile too.”
“The Archive makes us monsters. And then it breaks the ones who get too strong, and buries the ones who know too much.”
“We make a good team, Mackenzie Bishop.”
“We do.” We do, and that is the thing that tempers the heat beneath my skin, checks the flutter of girlish nerves. This is Wesley. My friend. My partner. Maybe one day my Crew. The fear of losing that keeps me in check.”
Rate: 9.5 out of 10
Though it did take a while for me to get into the story, the fun, but scary, world of The Archived, the events that happened at the end of the story, as well as the comic relief and characters, made up for that.