Book Review: The Archived by Victoria Schwab

Posted August 24, 2014 by Debby in Book Reviews

Book Review: The Archived by Victoria SchwabThe Archived by Victoria Schwab
Series: The Archived #1
Published by Hyperion on January 22nd, 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Ghosts, Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 328
Format: Hardcover
Source: Gifted

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 she 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.

4.5 Stars

The Archived is one of those books that has just consistently been raved about since it came out. It was also one of those books that I had oddly written off – I didn’t think it would be something for me because, like, ghosts? Really? WELL DON’T I LOOK STUPID NOW. The ever fabulous Gaby forced me to read this and I’m so glad she did. It’s one of those times that reading out of your comfort zone totally pays off. This has none of the paranormal romance elements/drama that I feared and instead brought an exciting, creative, and entertaining story that I thoroughly loved.

It was my first time reading one of Victoria Schwab’s books – but it definitely won’t be the last. Woah. Not only am I seriously impressed by her fluid and engrossing writing style, her story is just so damn creative. It appeals to ever single inch of me. The dead resting on shelves. The Archives, the doorways, the Keepers, it all created a really vivid and unique world that I just absolutely loved. It blends perfectly with this dark, cryptic murder-mystery plot that I found extremely enjoyable.

But let’s face it, a big reason for me reading this was the ship that has people gushing and GUYS I AM ON YOUR SIDE NOW OMG. I loved Mac right from the start, because she’s just plain fierce. And as soon as Wesley appeared, I was totally intrigued. A hot, mysterious guy who wears EYELINER, oh how hilarious. I knew there would be more to him than that – and yeah, he’s kick ass and awesome. But then. Then the bantering happened. THE BANTER. Authors, this is how you get Debby to SHIP YO SHIP.

“Well, you can’t go through life without touching anyone.”

“Watch me,” I say.

Wesley’s hand floats up, a single, pointed finger drifting through the air toward me.

“Not funny.”

But he keeps reaching.

“I. Will. Cut. Your. Fingers. Off.” The Archived by Victoria Schwab

I realize it might make me kind of weeeeeeeeeeeeird that THAT part really made me flail and giggle like a maniac, but Wes and Mac just have the PERFECT dynamic for me. So teasing. Much hilarious. Very fangirling. Wes meeting her parents made it even more perfect. He’s just so charming and obnoxious in a funny way, and the way that Mac reacts to it all is priceless. Obviously, she tries to deny it because who even is this kid, but banter and charm like that always ends up wearing you down. JUST GIVE IN MAC TEEHEE.

“I can see why my daughter likes you.”

Wesley’s smile widens as his hand slips back to his side. “Do you think think she’s falling for my dashing good looks, my charm, or the fact I supply her with pastries?” The Archived by Victoria Schwab
That made the sort of love triangle a bit annoying for me, because AGH. Don’t worry, it’s not a typical love triangle – and it actually is tied to the plot, but I was feeling very intense emotions about it because I shipped Wes and Mac so hard. I didn’t trust Owen at all and I wanted Mac to just return him. Don’t mess with my ship, dude.

The mysterious plot definitely worked for me though, because my mind was rapidly coming up with theories and then frantically telling Gaby my suspicions. The murders were cold and creepy – though not too gruesome – and some parts did give me a bit of a chill. It was super fun to try to puzzle it all out and really made the story that much more engaging. In the end, I was right about some things but other things still managed to surprise me – which is pretty much the perfect mix, right?

There are a lot of Easter eggs for Doctor Who fans, as Gaby had raved about beforehand. I’m not gonna lie, that was a big selling point for me to read it as well. But while I am a huge Whovian, it sometimes felt like it was a bit too much. It’s really confusing to me that that would be the thing I think is overdone, but that’s the way it is. Cracks in the wall, creepy hotel, library full of the dead, and even Roland’s resemblance to Ten – it’s funny, but as a fierce Whovian, I didn’t want it to overshadow the originality of the actual story, and sometimes it kinda did. But for those who don’t know Doctor Who at all, this won’t be an issue, obviously.

Summing Up:

This was super duper fun, and I just want to thank Gaby forever for actually pushing me to not keep putting off reading this. Wes and Mac are two of the most fun and entertaining characters I’ve met in quite a while and OH BOY DO I SHIP IT MUCHLY. With great writing, unique world building, and a wonderful storyline, this is one book I’ll happily recommend. I have dubbed it a Debby Book. Now I just need to get on it and finally read The Unbound – I’ve been putting it off for far too long already.

GIF it to me straight!

silence in the library 3

Recommended To:

I’m tempted to just say everyone, so there we go.

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9 responses to “Book Review: The Archived by Victoria Schwab


    Victoria’s writing is fantastic and WESLEY IS MY EVERYTHING!!!

    *pushes The Unbound and Vicious at you*

  2. This is definitely one of those books that’s always been raved about it. I must admit though, I actually never read a thorough review of it. Or if I have, I don’t remember it. :3 Literally, every paragraph in this review is making me wanna go and buy this right now. Even the sort of annoying love triangle sounds tempting haha! Lovely review Debby!

    • *twirls* You would nooooot regret buying this book. But I get you, I wrote it off for the longest time just because paranormal? ghosts? that didn’t seem like my thing. I love to be proven wrong.

  3. I really liked this one, but I absolutely LOVED Unbound. If you are shipping Mac and Wes now, just wait. It gets even better!!!! We have to spread the love for these books because my understanding is that, if enough people don’t buy these books, the series is done. Unbound ends with everything wrapped up plot-wise but there is so much more story to be told, especially for these characters!!!! Love love love Mac and Wes (ok, really Wes).

  4. I loved this too! I still have to read The Unbound though. The Archived series is great, but my favorite by this author is Vicious. That book was just incredible.

  5. I’m happy my Sinterklaas present was a success 😀 I remember really like her other book, The near witch, and I’ve been meaning to pick this one up for such a long time. The unique world-building is one of the things that attract me to this book and I’m also pleased to hear there is a perfect chemistry between the characters.