Remember when I said there was another author at the event with Ally Carter? Well, it was Victoria Schwab, and although I’d heard of her, I’m not sure I would have picked up a copy of THE ARCHIVED anytime soon without the event. So, a note to authors: events work! And I’m so glad. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting Victoria Schwab. She was a delightful presenter who left me very intrigued about this boy who uses guyliner. Don’t worry, I’ll tell you more about him. But first, here’s the description of the book.
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 may crumble and fall.
What are the five things I loved most about this book?
1. Wesley – Retyping that description, I see that there’s no mention of Wesley, but I was ready to meet him because of the way Victoria Schwab talked about how much she wanted to write a guy who wore eyeliner. He wasn’t at all what I expected. I loved his personality, and I wanted Mac to figure him out sooner than she did.
2. Point of view – You don’t see second tense very often. It’s so hard to do well. THE ARCHIVED is written mainly in first, but there are passages throughout addressed to Mac’s grandfather. In each one, she relives a scene from the past, but it’s filtered by what she knows in the present and contains important information she needs to survive. I really liked this as a way to insert backstory without it seeming like backstory. However, I don’t know that everyone could pull it off so skillfully. It’s the kind of thing I read and file away as a “maybe I’ll try that someday.”
3. The mystery – I’m not going to ruin this for anyone. This book had so many twists and turns, but the clues were there. I saw them, but I didn’t want to believe what I thought was happening actually was because of how it would affect Mac in the end. How’s that for being totally confusing? Come back after you’ve read it and we’ll discuss it.
4. Mac’s emotional journey – I love it when I can really see a character growing through the story. Much of this book is about secrets and their consequences. Mac’s been taught to live her life as a secret, so when she has the opportunity to open up to someone, it’s a struggle. Even though I sometimes thought, “Just tell him already!” (and I’m not talking about just one “him” here), I completely understood why she didn’t. She came so far by the end of the book.
5. The ending – Sometimes I get to the end of a book and am frustrated because too many things were left hanging. I felt the opposite here. So much was wrapped up, I wonder what Victoria Schwab will come up with for the next one. How can things get any worse? But even though it seems like we learned many of the secrets, I have a feeling Mac’s only skimmed the surface so far. Plus, there must be more to come with Wesley and his guyliner …
So who wants to win my signed copy of THE ARCHIVED? I almost want to keep it, but at least I also snagged a signed bookmark, so I’ll hold on to that. I’m a paperback girl, anyway.
To enter, leave a comment on this post by noon next Thursday, April 11. I’ll announce the winner then. U.S. and Canada only. Good luck!