Genre: YA Fantasy
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 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 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 hardwon redemption.
“The Archive is a prison, and not only for the dead. And that’s why I’m going to tear it down, shelf by shelf and branch for branch”
Ever since I started reading V E Schwab’s books this year, I’ve been intrigued to collect all her famous fantasy novels. And whilst waiting for the final installment of Shade of Magic and Monsters of Verity to be released, I decided to find The Archive and give this a try. The Archive is Schwab’s lesser known fantasy novel, a part of a trilogy but only the third book hasn’t been released (not sure if it ever will?)
The Archive is a fantasy novel with a brilliant premise: a 16-year-old girl out hunting Histories (copies of dead people) who escaped The Archive and are going restless in the Narrows. She hunts them in her new apartment, an ancient hotel, that she recently moved into after the death of her 10 year old brother. When things started to go wrong, she starts investigating and discover a huge missing gap in the hotel’s history and seeks to find out what happened. The plot is definitely unique and I loved how fast the pace of the story felt. The writing was amazing as always and the jokes are always on point in Schwab’s books. There is always great chemistry between the main characters and for once the troubled family/nasty parents predicament were not overdone in this one.
“Curiosity is a gateway drug to sympathy. Sympathy leads to hesitation. Hesitation will get you killed…”
But the characters felt a bit flat for me in this one. As much as I like Mac and Wes, they don’t really leave much of an impression on you. Schwab’s famous characters like Kell, Lila, Victor, August and Kate are known to be very impressionable and independent to the point we can predict what they will do if left in a coffee shop! But in The Archive, it’s hard to re-imagine them elsewhere. And I believe that’s why this novel felt short since its publication in 2013.
Nonetheless, I would recommend this IF you are a huge fan of Schwab’s and would like to try more of her fantasy novels. But I wouldn’t recommend it as your first Schwab novel (for that I would recommend Vicious!)
“We are nothing but recorded moments…”
Hope you enjoy this one as much as I did! :)I’m looking forward to reading the sequel, The Unbound!