Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Get a copy! Amazon
Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.As soon as I got into this book, I wondered why I had waited so long to read it. In The Archived, Ms. Schwab has created a richly atmospheric world where a person's History is preserved and kept on a shelf like a book. Mackenzie's job is to make sure that when a History accidentally awakens that it doesn't escape into the Outer--the world of the living.
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.
What I Liked:
The atmosphere that Ms. Schwab has created was really awesome. The whole idea of a parallel world where the souls of the dead are kept on shelves like a library--brilliant! (Maybe that's the librarian/archives geek in me but I loved it.) Also, this hallway in between the two realms had this eerie feel that I just loved. Every time Mac was in this place hunting escapees, I was awesomely engaged. The writing in The Archived once again pulled me right into the world, just as Ms. Schwab did with The Near Witch.
The Not So Much:
The beginning didn't really pull me in. I actually had to start this one over twice before I was able to make myself sit and keep reading. I'm not sure if it was the interactions with her grandfather (whom I didn't realize was her GRANDfather at first) or simply the pacing, but it wasn't a pull you right in kind of start.
I loved it and I think that there are many teens who will enjoy the story. I would highly recommend it to motivated teen readers who are willing to really stick with a story before it gets good. That being said, will I put it on MY library shelves? The likelihood is that I won't with my limited space and budget. Not because it's not a good book (because, again, I loved it) but because most of my teen readers like stories that grab you from the start and are likely to put a book down quickly if not engaged quickly. I would definitely recommend adding it to the shelves of a larger library (and I would add it in a heartbeat if someone donated a copy *winkwink*).