Navdha's Reviews > The Archived

The Archived by Victoria Schwab
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's review
Aug 14, 2012

really liked it
Read from August 15, 2012 to February 06, 2013

Just imagine a place, a massive library with unending rows of stacks marked with names and dates of the loved ones you’ve lost. It sounds strange right? If someone told you that those stacks held the entire history of the person, what would you expect? A file? One rivaling gigantic encyclopedias but a file nonetheless, right? Now imagine that you’re standing in front of one of those stacks (assume it’s a stranger’s stack) and curious to find what’s inside, you open it.. and find a person. A person who looks like he’s sleeping. How freaked out would you be to find yourself in a crypt overflowing with such stacks? Taking up the imagination to another level, what if I tell you that on touching that person, you wake them up? They feel real, they look real, they act real but they’re not.

Of course, in Victoria Schwab’s hauntingly beautiful tale of love, lies, mistakes, secrets and heartbreak, you won’t be able to get inside that library called the Archive in the first place if you’re not a) A keeper, b) A crew member, c) A librarian or d) Dead. Second, even if you manage to snag a key from a keeper and get inside the library, the librarians would catch you in a moment.. and let’s hope you don’t get caught or..ummm.. really bad things might happen. Well, on the benefit of doubt, let’s assume that you escape the librarians’ eye and get to a stack, what next? This brings me to the third point. Every stack needs a key to be opened. Just like every door to the Archive or the Narrow or the Outer needs a key.

How is that for a refreshing and undeniably innovative concept? Spice it up with a plot that is not only well thought out but remarkably executed and voila.. You have the Archived.

Having read and liked the sneak peek version of The Archived earlier, I was very much looking forward to this book. I’m genuinely pleased to say that the book was worth the wait. Other than the obvious reason, the premise, which I’ve appreciated at length right from the beginning of my review, there were many other things that made the book a very satisfying and wonderful read for me. For one, it was the characters. Especially Mackenzie Bishop, our protagonist, who was not only smart and focused but so broken and lost that her pain for her little brother and grandfather made her so very real. In fact, not only her, but all the other characters, be it Wes with his easy smile and charming personality, or Owen with his calm and fierceness, or Roland with his secrets and geniality, or even Da..with his small yet very powerful appearances that I grew so fond of, everyone was real and complex and had their own story to tell..or hide.

If I talk about the plot, the meticulous search of finding the truth about the Colorado and the mysteries revolving around the Archive kept me intrigued and deeply immersed. The pacing wasn’t fast but just right. The narrative was engaging and even though the villain’s identity wasn’t really a shock, the other secrets weren’t something you would have expected.

Another thing that I really liked about this book was the romance.. or lack thereof. It wasn’t on the frontlines unlike every other book today and to my delight, wasn’t the driving factor for the story. Mac’s relationship with everyone was different and understandable. Her actions might have proved disastrous but I could see what made her do what she did. And I think that’s what makes her a flawed yet peculiar and strong character.

I’m sure the 4 stars are making your eye twitch with all my positive comments by now. Why not 5, you ask? Well, because even though this is an amazing book, there are many things that I either found odd or that could’ve been explained better or I’m hoping will be touched upon later. So here’s a list of things that made me take a full star back:

- A question that’s been bothering me for long: How do the Histories manage to get out after waking up if they’re freaking locked inside!?

- The Archive. Even though the author tried to make us understand the concept of Histories and Keepers and Librarians, I’m not sure what it really is or where it’s coming from. (view spoiler)

- Another big bothersome question: Why was Ms. Angelli hiding what she was hiding? How does she fit into the story?

- Something that’s been nagging me: The scene with Jackson, where Mac and Wes raid an apartment and cause a mess? Where did the police disappear? I’m sure being only one floor above a flat which was vandalized warrants a police appearance when they’re in the locality.

- (view spoiler)

- The big suspense: I have a mixed feeling about what the truth turned out to be. On one hand, it makes sense but on the other hand, I wanted to know more about (view spoiler) rather than what followed after it. Also, it somehow felt a considering the contemplative tone of the entire story.

Anyhoo, even if a few things could have been done better, it still makes for an amazing read. I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a well written and well-paced novel with the right blend of humor, pain and mystery.

Sneak peek review:

I should have known better than to read a sneak peek. Reading so many books with satisfactory endings had made me forget how flipping mad cliffhangers make me.. I want the whole book NOW! It holds a lot of promise and I was liking it so much! Other than the instant attraction which I'm trying to be optimistic about and hoping that it won't be a case of insta-love...*groans* Who am I kidding? It is going to be another book with insta-love, isn't it? *sigh*

So tell me what am I supposed to do till the book comes out? Tell me!
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Reading Progress

08/15/2012 "I don't have the whole book, just a sneak peek of 108 pages from Netgalley..eeeeppp!!"

Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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message 1: by A.Z. (new) - added it

A.Z. Green I want to read this too now. Just came across it. Looks very interesting... But fortunately for me I didn't read the sneak peek. I can't stand reading some of it and not knowing what else is to come, like, RIGHT NOW. :p You're own fault!

Navdha Sadly, yes. :/
On a brighter note, it will hopefully release by the time I'm not so busy and back to reading a book a day. :)

message 3: by A.Z. (new) - added it

A.Z. Green Navdha wrote: "Sadly, yes. :/
On a brighter note, it will hopefully release by the time I'm not so busy and back to reading a book a day. :)"

Here's hoping... *crosses fingers*

Mitch O.o I hope your full review will be sooner than someday. I felt empty and I'm wondering what's wrong with me :(

Navdha I really enjoyed it. I'll try writing it tomorrow after work since its almost 4 in the morning for me.

Empty? Uh.. I'd never use that word for this book. It had its flaws but it was a nice package.
Nothing is wrong silly, you've been feeling this way about books for so long now. :p

Mitch Yeah you're right. I probably shouldn't have laughed at the end of Romeo and Juliet, I think that was when the curse started.

Navdha You laughed! Astounding! You didn't cheer or cry tears of joy that the melodrama was over? Jeez.. I can see why you were cursed now.

message 8: by A.Z. (new) - added it

A.Z. Green Navdha wrote: "You laughed! Astounding! You didn't cheer or cry tears of joy that the melodrama was over? Jeez.. I can see why you were cursed now."

*GIGGLES to myself*

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