The Archived Review

The Archived by Victoria Schwab

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Summary: “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.” (Summary found on Goodreads).

This is probably going to be something closer to a rant than a review, so beware.

Look, I love Victoria Schwab and I love her writing, but let’s be real here, the writing was the only thing that kept me from putting this down. Though, I will admit The Archived had some good discussions on honesty. But that’s it.

The first 100 pages were complete info-dump and it wasn’t good info-dump either, but boring and confusing info-dump. Honestly, it made no sense. It took me forever to realize Da was Mackenzie’s grandfather and not her younger brother who I thought was her older brother. Yikes. It also took me ages to realize her parents had no idea she’s a Keeper. Uhhh…how would they not know though?

Then we’re introduced to two boys, one of which I knew would be the main love interest from the instant he’s introduced. It felt like romance for the sake of romance and they might as well have kissed the first page they met. I hate instalove; it is so unrealistic. The other boy was darker, more angsty and mysterious, but I knew pretty early on he’s the other side of the love triangle. Also, do you see the tropes here? The one boy is this sweet, funny dork who uses humor as a coping mechanism and the other one is mysterious and brooding. WHY??? Did I mention this has a LOVE TRIANGLE?? I know this book was written in 2013, at the peak of love triangles, but blech. Really?? Was it that necessary?

I also guessed the plot twist from about a million miles away, which is not good, especially given how confused I was…

And on top of it all, this book was boring and the characters were flat as pancakes. It needed more of everything, which is unfortunate to say. I think this reminded me why I should stick with Schwab’s later books because clearly she has improved as an author since 2013.

I really can’t say I recommend this, but I have seen good reviews, so if you want to read it, I’m not going to stop you. There is an audience for this book, an audience that probably won’t hate it like I did.

-Book Hugger

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