review-ish-thingy: the archived by victoria schwab


Unfortunately, I couldn’t take a picture of my own. BUT LOOK IT’S SO PRETTYYY

Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

This book hooked me right from the summary all the way to the end. I COULDN’T STOP READING. It’s got a unique premise, it’s written wonderfully well, and I quickly got attached to the characters–even the ones that only show up in flashbacks. Everyone is super well-developed, including minor characters. And then there are the settings, which I absolutely love. My favorites are the two creepiest ones, of course: the Coronado, a hotel-turned-apartment with mysteries and murders in its past, and the Narrows, a skyless dark alley between our world and the Archives, where escaped Histories are hunted between endless walls.

The basics of the story are this: Histories are what they call the dead, and they are essentially records of their entire lives. In the Archive, Librarians watch over the Histories and try to prevent disruptions; in the Narrows, Keepers hunt the escaped Histories before they can get to our world; and in our world, Crew hunt the dangerous Histories who have managed to escape anyway.

The story begins with Mackenzie Bishop (a Keeper)–who lost her brother less than a year previous–trying to deal with how her parents have decided to move to the Coronado in order to run from their memories. Throughout the book, she tries to deal with the loss of her brother, she builds up a friendship with Wesley Ayers (who’s hilarious and WELL-DEVELOPED), and she also uncovers a past murder. As she investigates it, the Archive’s secrets slowly unravel.

So yeah, it’s sort of a murder mystery, but the whole library-of-the-dead thing keeps it super unique and exciting. It’s an on-the-edge-of-your-seat sort of novel, with great worldbuilding and character-development and there’s absolutely nothing in the story that doesn’t have a depth to it. There’s so much to love about this book (and yes I’m obsessed).

It’s emotional, it’s mysterious, it’s funny and sad and scary . . .


Two quotes I loved:

  • “Because the only way to truly record a person is not in words, not in still frames, but in bone and skin and memory.”
  • “‘It takes at least three assassination attempts to scare me off. And even then, if there are baked goods involved, I might come back.'”



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