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The Archived Hardcover – January 22, 2013
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-Mackenzie was just 11 when her Da passed along the heavy responsibility of being a "Keeper": one in charge of returning Histories to the Archive. A History is a sort of ghost, but more like a copy of a dead person's life. Librarians keep every History on a shelf, in a complex and rigid order. But every once in a while one slips (becomes restless and crazed) and escapes the orderly Archive into the chaos of the Narrows-a lightless series of corridors filled with doors. A Keeper's role is to return the Histories to the Archive lest they escape into the real world. When her family moves to an old hotel turned apartment building called the Coronado after the tragic death of her beloved little brother, Mac's workload of wandering Histories begins increasing exponentially. Plus, she meets a strange-looking Goth guy named Wes who shocks her by confessing that he, too, is a Keeper, and she begins to bond with him. Soon the ordered quiet of the Archive is booming with the noise of escaped Histories, and there appears to be a saboteur. Mac uncovers a dark secret held in the walls of the Coronado. Something terrible happened there and great lengths have been taken to cover it up. Stranger still is Owen, whom Mac encounters in the Narrows, a History who is not on her list and somehow has not yet slipped. Schwab skillfully manages that rare accomplishment: a spine-tingling, supernatural, ghostly mystery that is fully believable. A writer to watch for sure-sequel please!-Tara Kehoe, Plainsboro Public Library, NJα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Sixteen-year-old Mackenzie Bishop is a Keeper; she works with the Archive, where Histories (the bodies of the dead) are filed away in a huge library. Periodically, a History will wake and try to get back to the Outer (our world) through the Narrows, a maze of hallways with doors that lead into both the Outer and the Archives’ Returns. Keepers are charged with preventing them from reaching our world and sending them back to their sleep. The Archives are ruled by Librarians, who maintain order by sending Keepers to dispatch escaped Histories. Mac is torn between Wesley, a fellow Keeper, and Owen, a mysterious History who seems to understand her better than anyone. The nonlinear exposition includes the unexpected death of Mac’s little brother, Ben, and her beloved grandfather championing her training as a Keeper. Schwab gently but determinedly examines the impact of grief on a family, as Mac and her parents struggle to accept the death of a child. It’s an intriguing view of the afterlife, and the thoughtful exploration of death and our reactions to it will draw readers and promote discussion. Grades 8-11, --Debbie Carton
Top customer reviews
I must be on a Schwab high because after finishing a Conjuring of Light I could find no other book to satisfy my What The Heck Am I Going To Do With Myself Next Itch...I ended up here, which was SO unlike a Conjuring Of Light...BUT...that's okay because this was satisfying on a whole different level while still having the Schwab(esc) prose that we fans have come to associate with her and love her eternally for. Anyway, a really quick summation: Archived is about dearly departed loved ones, their "essences" that are stored on shelves in libraries called...you guessed it, Archives after they do the actual departing... and the kick @$$ people who are learning to navigate the often times emotionally and mentally turbulent waters of Grief as well as acquiring and fine tuning the skills necessary to preserve said people/places and the Archives they occupy....holy run-on sentence...sorry about that all of you OCD grammar folks. Here is a sample:
"It hasn’t even been a year since Ben died. A year of words no one can say because they call up images no one can bear. 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."
I for one am constantly in a state of awe at how Mrs. Schwabs' mind works. Her mental gears must be pearlescent and Fabulous in order to create such a cornicopia of ideas. How does she repeatedly come up with such fantastical worlds and the characters to populate?- all of which are wrapped up in beautifully colored prose.
"you’re dying—not the fast, stone-drop way, there and then gone, but still. I can’t stop squinting at you, as if I might see the disease picking you clean, stealing you from me, bite by bite."
This was a good book. Will I continue on with the series whilst juggling such a daunting TBR pile that is populated with the likes of Laini Taylor and Adam Silvera? Probably not...unless one of those itches arises that apparently only Mrs Schwab can reach.
I must have not paid enough attention in my research and prep for reading this book because I was surprised to find it set in the real world. I don't know why I was expecting a fantasy land. The only difference between this world and ours is that when you die, a Historie of you is left in an otherworldy library. Well I guess that could be our real world and we just don't even know it. I like when worlds like this are created, but I find the creator must be careful to make it seem like it really could be the real world and we just aren't clued in. Other media that has done this well include the Men in Black movies, Monster's Inc., the Disney tv show, So Weird, from the late 90's, and the YA Paranormalcy series by Kiersten White. It also has similarities to Kendare Blake's YA book, Anna Dressed in Blood.
One part of this book that I thought really fit well and made the story was the Da stories. Mackenzie Bishop's grandfather has passed away when the novel begins, but he was a big part of her life and interactions between the two of them are sprinkled throughout the novel. I like how Schwab used a different font for them and they were always relevant to the main storyline.
Schwab does an excellent job at creating realistic relationships. The family dynamics of the Bishop household are very broke and real. The interactions between Machenzie's new and old friends as well as the other residents of the former hotel are done well.
Schwab did an excellent job of world building and writing. Her beautiful writing style created such a believable world with her descriptions of the supernatural locations. I give this novel a 4/5 and I look forward to reading more from Schwab.
Mac is one of my favorite lead characters of the year thus far. I loved her voice and how easy she was to relate to. Mac's story is also emotional and I had to blink away tears a few times. Her curiosity is catching and even though I had trouble sticking with this book, I couldn't put it down because I needed to know what happened. I liked Mac's parents were not the typical absentee parents and she had to work around them. Wesley is also wonderful and I want to read his story that Schwab has been promising on twitter.
The story isn't predictable which makes it all the more fun. In fact, I was totally caught of guard by how things panned out. I'm very pleased with the book and cannot wait to get my hands on The Unbound!
Most recent customer reviews
The world that Victoria Schwab has created is simply wonderful and very unique!Read more