Review: The Archived (The Archived #1)

Title: The Archived (The Archived #1)
Author: Victoria Schwab
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Release Date: January 22, 2013
Rating: ★★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

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

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was: a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Being a Keeper isn’t just dangerous—it’s a constant reminder of those Mac has lost, Da’s death was hard enough, but now that her little brother is gone too, Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself may crumble and fall.

In this haunting, richly imagined novel, Victoria Schwab reveals the thin lines between past and present, love and pain, trust and deceit, unbearable loss and hard-won redemption.


Mackenzie Bishop’s family moves to a renovated hotel for a fresh start after the death of her brother and her grandfather. Mac had a special bond with her grandfather: they were both Keepers, people who return the dead to the Library where they belong. The dead are called Histories, and sometimes they escape the shelves in the Library where they are kept, and they can wreck havoc in the world if they get out. Mac meets Wes, another Keeper who often visits her new building. Mac has to adjust to her new home and the Histories that are kept there, while also piecing together the crumbling Library.

This was an original ghost story. The “ghosts” are called histories, and they are kept in a library. When they get out, they can become dangerous, so it’s important that a Keeper returns them to the library using their special key. I loved how the library and books played an important role in protecting people from the ghosts.

There were some flashbacks in this story to when Mac was taught how to be a Keeper from her grandfather, who she calls Da. These flashbacks were jarring at first, because I didn’t know who he was and when these flashbacks were happening. A couple of chapters into the story, I got into the flow of the narrative and I loved Mac’s voice in the story.

This is a great, original ghost story!

What to read next:

The Unbound (The Archived #2) by Victoria Schwab

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

Other books in the series:

  • The Unbound

Have you read The Archived? What did you think of it?

Author: jilljemmett

Jill lives in Toronto, Canada. She has studied English, Creative Writing, and Publishing. Jill is the creator and content producer of Jill’s Book Blog, where she has published a blog post every day for the last four years, including 5-7 book reviews a week. She can usually be found with her nose in a book.

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