Friday, March 8, 2013
REVIEW: THE ARCHIVED
The Archived by Victoria Schwab
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Books are especially powerful and potent late at night. I read this one late at night, and was thrilled by the creepy, mysterious, haunted feeling it had. And I think I would have felt that way even if I hadn't read it at night, in the dark. When I was by myself. It's the story of Mackenzie Bishop, who lies a lot. She has to lie, because she's a Keeper--responsible for keeping the dead people stored on the shelves of the Archive where they're supposed to be. This isn't so easy, especially since nobody except her dead grandfather knows what she is, and the fact that her young brother died and then her family moves to the ancient hotel-turned-apartment building, the Coronado, which holds dark secrets of its own.
It's haunting, fast-paced, and carefully woven. The story seems to always be a step ahead of you, so you are guessing and wondering about some things until closer to the end when you are swept up in the action and are able to see how everything comes together. The premise is fascinating to begin with, and even though the first part might seem to slow you a little (took me a while to wrap my head around the concept of the Archive, and to realize duh! that Da is her grandfather), this book builds and builds and gets more exciting the further you get.
The setting contributed to the creepy, mysterious feeling. the old building with its secrets and clues, the Narrows & the Archives with their quietness. Bodies stored in a library? It's eerie and intriguing. The writing style was descriptive without compromising on the real, strong voice of the narrator Mackenzie. She was a strong character with certain exposed weaknesses that made her interesting and rounded. The whole romance(s) were realistic and a little breathtaking sometimes.
Definitely, this book can be dark and contemplative. It spends some time with issues of death, grief, identity, and right vs. wrong in powerful, subtle ways. It's fair to say I underestimated it, but was pleasantly surprised when I finally read it.
Recommended for: book lovers, people who like to read creepy/haunted thriller type stories, or if you like suspense.