I truly underestimated this book. You know how when you first read a book's blurb and it totally catches your attention as somethingActual rating: 4.5
I truly underestimated this book. You know how when you first read a book's blurb and it totally catches your attention as something different and unique? You know that feeling right afterwards that can only be described nothing short of "Gimme Syndrome"? Yeah, that's how I felt with The Archived. But for whatever reason, I got distracted and started picking up other books (you know how it is). Well, one day I was frolicking through my bookshelf, re-read the blurb and engaged the family in a battle of epic proportions for peace and quiet.
I won. Obviously.
It was a good thing that I had managed to find this rare thing called reading time, because once I started reading The Archived, I didn't want to stop. Oh boy, Schwab. I am a fan! The premise is so fascinating and fleshed out in the book, that you can't help but to drink the descriptions in. Just imagine a library existing for people who die with the sole purpose of preserving their memories. Then you'd have these Librarians who would catalogue the dead and Keepers to Return the Histories (the dead) to the Archive (library). Like I said, truly fascinating and I think Schawb really pulled it off well.
Mac was a fantastic main character. She was smart, resourceful and very relatable. In the beginning, we learn that she has lost both her grandfather, who she refers to as "Da", and her younger brother. The pain and grief that she feels for her brother, in particular, felt very realistic to me. There were scenes where she was desperate to hold onto her brother's memory by clinging to items that once belonged to him. Her feelings of guilt for not being able to protect him, anger at her parents for attempting to move on, frustration at herself for not remembering every detail about him, all resonated with me quite a bit due to my own personal experiences. I thought Mac was brave for dealing with her grief while still upholding her Keeper duties and coming in contact with Histories everyday.
Speaking of Histories, I thought that was a really creative way to show a new kind of paranormal character. I would almost classify them as a ghost/zombie hybrid. They look exactly like their human selves except for their eyes. They talk, walk around in corporeal forms and are generally confused about their whereabouts. They also don't know they are dead. (Yikes! Talk about being the bearer of bad news...) Because of that little complication, Mac has to sometimes fight the Histories, forcing them back to the Returns. If you are having trouble with picturing that scenario, just think of Cas hunting ghosts from Anna Dressed in Blood and you'll have a pretty good idea.
The plot is where a lot of the magic in The Archived happens. Schwab really wove a great mystery together that had me flipping pages without letup. Since she created a world so different from what I usually seen in YA lit, I was completely surprised at the twists and turns. The ending to this murder mystery is something I never saw coming.
Oh and *high fives Schwab for the love interest* I LOVED Wes. Even though he didn't get a ton of page time, I enjoyed the refreshing comical flare he brought to the story. I especially love how his existence didn't take over Mac's life. 'Cause the girl had bigger fish to fry, like, say hunting Histories, making sure they didn't escape into the real world and murder people in their sleep. Kinda important.
The only reason why I'm not giving out 5 stars is due to the beginning. It was a little slow and complex with the narrative mode switching back and forth. Sometimes Mac is narrating to the audience and other times she's chronicling her past Keeper lessons with her grandfather, but it's like she's narrating to him (ex. "We used to do this or that together, Da.") I adjusted to this style pretty quickly, but I can see it throwing off other readers a bit. However, hang in there because the flip-flopping tapers off pretty quickly as the story progresses. Not to mention the second half is simply phenomenal.
Anyway, brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. I definitely highly recommend people check out The Archived. It's the perfect murder mystery to keep you on the edge of your seat. It's the kind of book that had me thinking about the events long after I finished and now I'll be desperately waiting for book 2.
ARC was received from the publisher. Thanks, Disney-Hyperion!
These Broken Stars is going to be a hit or miss for a lot of people because it’s a survival book that has the characters walkiMore of a 3.5, I think.
These Broken Stars is going to be a hit or miss for a lot of people because it’s a survival book that has the characters walking through the wilderness almost the entire book. I usually hate books like these since it can get very boring. So, for me, I feel listening to the audiobook version of this book was a good decision. It has three narrators and they all did a marvelous job keeping me entertained as Tarver and Lilac wandered and wandered and wandered. The thing I loved was the plot twists because they were totally WTF-worthy. This is another one that feels very classically sci-fi with a pinch of Twilight Zone thrown in for good measure. The ending was so science-y that I can’t even begin to pick anything apart, so I’ll just stare off into the distance until I have book two, which I hear features two different characters. Interesting!
------ I seriously love this cover! There's this really fun interview with both Amie and Meagan up on the blog where Kat designs faux covers. Also, giveaway of an ARC!
OMG. If I could give this series 10 stars, I would! This is an amazing story and equally amazing audiobook. Plot: perfect. Characters: perfect. RomancOMG. If I could give this series 10 stars, I would! This is an amazing story and equally amazing audiobook. Plot: perfect. Characters: perfect. Romance: perfect. The only negative thing I can think of is that the first book does take a little while to get started. However, DO NOT GIVE UP ON IT. By the time I got to book four, The Crimson Crown, I was a zombie connected to my iPhone listening to Carol Monda’s every word. She has such a deep and gritty voice that she effortlessly switched back and forth to both female and male characters. LIKE WHOA GUYS. If you only ever read one audiobook series in your life, let it be this one....more
Guys, HE MAKES CUPCAKES RAIN FROM THE SKY. I love reading this one to my kids and it never gets old. It’s such a charming and cute story about jealousGuys, HE MAKES CUPCAKES RAIN FROM THE SKY. I love reading this one to my kids and it never gets old. It’s such a charming and cute story about jealousy and envy told in a way that is funny. The illustrations have legit GLITTER on the pages and the cover. This made my daughter eternally happy. (Okay… so me too. :D )...more
Thank goodness this didn’t fall victim to Second Book Syndrome. While I do think I enjoyed The Archived a tiny bit better than The Unbound, this was sThank goodness this didn’t fall victim to Second Book Syndrome. While I do think I enjoyed The Archived a tiny bit better than The Unbound, this was still up there as a tightly-plotted and well-written book. The best thing about both books is that the mystery is really solid. My mind was constantly trying to figure out who the bad guy was or how things would turn out in the end, but it surprised me. Also, more Wesley FTW! The thing that bugged me was Mac’s inability to trust Wesley. I understand why she held back, but I felt very frustrated when he obviously wanted to help. At the same time, he was holding back from her and it looked like a convenient and deliberate attempt to give the romance tension. Man, I hate when that happens. The worst part is that I’ll never know how it turns out since Disney didn’t pick up the third book. BOOOO, DISNEY! I really hope Victoria considers self-publishing it, because I’d totally buy it....more
My daughter and I really enjoyed this one. The illustrations were beautiful and eye catching. It's very different from the illustrations I'm used to s My daughter and I really enjoyed this one. The illustrations were beautiful and eye catching. It's very different from the illustrations I'm used to seeing in children's books because the technique used gives the pictures great depth making them very vivid. One thing I noticed from the start was that the family featured in the story was multi-racial. That was pretty cool. This is yet another must buy for the kids' library. ...more
I love, love, love Rocco’s drawings. I first picked up his other book, Blackout, and immediately became a fan. His books feature diverse kids of diffeI love, love, love Rocco’s drawings. I first picked up his other book, Blackout, and immediately became a fan. His books feature diverse kids of different ethnicities and I just don’t see that very often in picture books. This one is about a kid and his friends who have super powers because of their hair or so they think, until one day they all get a hair cut. Ha! It’s the perfect bedtime book....more