Friday, February 8, 2013

Adventurous Archive

The Archived by Victoria Schwab

5 out of 5 gnomes

The Archived gives History a whole new meaning.   This is such an intriguing book with its plentiful flashbacks, insight into a grieving family, and a fantastical secret world.  Mackenzie Bishop’s character is truly complex and will have you rooting for her to succeed.

This book also has a wholly unique explanation for what happens/where people go when they die.  As the tag line of the book states, “Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.”  If you’re anything like I am then what you imagine after hearing that phrase is both fascinating yet terrifying.  The real explanation used in the world of The Archived is both creepy and cool.  While reading I always had kind of a foreboding feeling about the Archive and especially The Narrows (I don’t know about you but narrow hallways and hundreds of doors would creep me out, not to mention you never know what kind of History you’re going to run in to).

Being a full-time Library Assistant, I love seeing how Librarians are portrayed in fiction.  The Librarians in the Archive are an interesting bunch and like Mac. I’m also a fan of Roland because of how much he helps her in the book and of course a rule breaking Librarian is always a lot of fun.

Mac’s training and talking about her Da (grandfather) as seen in flashbacks is very well done and helps the structure of the story.  These flashbacks have a bit of a Buffy the Vampire Slayer feel to them and always fall in a way that helps add to the tension of the story.  

There’s so much depth to these characters and it feels like there are plenty of stories left to tell.  The Coronado where her family now lives feels like a character in the story too, the old building really helps set up an old school mysterious type atmosphere.  The residents that you do meet are all unique and or weird.

It’s refreshing to see her parents as a part of the story.  They are all grieving and her parents grieve in ways that are pretty much polar opposites.  Her mom is high energy always almost maniacally fake happy while her dad is quiet and low energy.  Through all this though they are there for each other as a family and you can tell that they love each other.

I adore Mac and Wesley and the fact that they don’t have an insta-love connection.  Their friendship feels realistic and they have great chemistry.  Their partnership is fun because she’d definitely the serious one while he’s more charming/goofy.  They work so well because they ground each other and find that they have a lot in common.

The ending was full of WOW moments for me.  I actually had more than one moment in the book where I found myself gasping because I couldn’t believe what had just happened.  The mysteries and secrets all culminate in to one heck of an ending.  I cannot wait to read this sequel and jump back into the world of The Archived.

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