The Dead Never Rest

8:35 AM


Summary of The Archived by Victoria Schwab

16 year old Mackenzie Bishop is a Keeper; she works to make sure Histories stay in the Archive. A History is a sort of ghost or copy of a dead person's life.  The Archive is an enormous library where the Histories are kept.  Most histories are peaceful, but every once and a while, a history wakes up and escapes from the Archive into the Narrows (tight, long corridors with hundreds of doors).  Whenever a History escapes into the Narrows, it is the job of a Keeper to track it down and return it to the Archive before the History crosses from the Narrows into our world, the land of the living.

Shortly after her younger brother's death, Mackenzie and her family move into an old hotel turned apartment building called the Coronado.  Her parents claim it will be a fresh start for their family, but it turns out to be anything but for Mackenzie.  The number of Histories she has to hunt down increases faster than she can send them back to the Archive.  Once she takes care of one History, two more are added to her list.  As she works to solve the mystery of a series of strange deaths that took place at the Coronado, Mackenzie comes to realize that someone working in the Archive is releasing violent Histories and is trying to erase other Histories altogether.

Review

I think it is necessary to make a few disclaimers before I give my review of this book.  
Disclaimer #1: I am a new teacher and tried reading this book during the school year.  As I'm sure any teacher will tell you, especially fellow English teachers such as myself, it is sometimes difficult to read for pleasure during the school year.  Therefore, if I'd read this book when I had more time to do so, I may have enjoyed it more.  
Disclaimer#2: Young Adult books have been my go-to genre since I was ten or eleven.  I have a list of young adult authors whose books I know I will enjoy.  Unfortunately, I think I have read too many young adult books.  Now, I know what you're thinking. There's no such thing as reading too many books.  You're right.  However, there is such a thing as reading so much of a particular type of book that they become predictable and less fulfilling to read.  I believe I have reached that point when it comes to young adult fiction.  Does this mean I am going to stop reading young adult fiction?  Probably not.  As I said before, it's been my home in both libraries and bookstores for more than a decade (also, I have yet to find my niche in the adult fiction section).  I just thought I should mention my current feelings toward the young adult genre so you can take my review of this book with a grain of salt.  If I had read The Archived when I was still in high school, you'd probably be reading a much different review.  All right, now that I'm done with the disclaimers, on to the review.

The cover was definitely what caused me to pick up this book.  It's cool and spooky looking and draws the eye.  Once I read the description, I added it to my list of books to check out from the library.  I enjoy reading books which explore what happens to people after they die.

The premise of the book is original and creative.  I liked the idea of Keepers having to track down escaped Histories.  

Overall, I liked the idea behind the story but didn't care for the execution.  To begin, the narration is told in a nonlinear fashion.  Now, normally, this isn't a big issue for me as a reader, especially if it is done well.  However, I didn't care for it in this book.  The narration goes back and forth between what is happening to Mackenzie in present day and conversations she had with her grandfather (a fellow Keeper) when she was eleven.  I realize that Schwab probably used this narration device to avoid info dumps, but I just didn't care for it stylistically.  Another aspect of the writing that I found troublesome while reading was the fact that the time Mackenzie spent in the living world and the Archive was unbalanced.  It seemed like Schwab only used the real world as a place for Mackenzie to hang out until she could go back to the Archive.  Finally, there's the issue of romance.  Now, as I said before, I've grown a little weary of young adult books.  Lately, it seems like every young adult author thinks it is necessary to have a love interest for the main character, and in some cases, like The Archived, the main character is given more than one love interest.  I like romance just as much as the next girl, don't get me wrong, but it would be nice to have a change of pace and read a young adult book where the main character, especially if it is a female protagonist, faces other challenges than deciding between two different boys.

So, to conclude, this book was not my cup of tea.  I had a hard time finishing it because it wasn't holding my interest.  It is not a book I plan to read again nor would I recommend it.  However, don't take my word for it.  If this book sounds of interest to you, go ahead and read it.  Comment below and let me know what you thought of it.

Coming Soon

Up next on my list is The Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin.

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2 comments

  1. I'm surprised to hear the inclusion of unnecessary romance in this book, as the Victoria Schwab books I've read are utterly devoided of it! I hope you'll try out some of her other works :)

    readatmidnight.wordpress.com

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  2. I'll be sure to give Victoria Schwab another shot. As I said in my review, I did like the idea and her writing was strong. Which of her books is your favorite?

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