Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.
I don't know where Victoria Schwab got the idea for The Archived, but it's a brilliant concept. The tagline is visual and creepy enough to standout (…the dead rest on shelves like books) and makes you crave more. I was curious about the Librarians that oversee this place called the Archive that houses Histories aka recordings of the dead.
And we learn about the world through the perfect MC.
At 16-years-old, Mackenzie Bishop has already been a Keeper for four years, inheriting the position from her Da when he passed away. Her job is to return Histories who've woken up and escaped into the Narrows back to the Archive before they slip into violent insanity. And all Histories who escape slip eventually. It's an unwritten rule. But when she and her family move to the Coronado, an old motel with dark secrets, Mackenzie discovers that not all rules are set in stone.
In my head, the Archive was this cross between a library and a morgue. The "drawers" that were supposed to house the Histories made me think of a creepy human-sized, morgue-ish card catalog. And the QUIET PLEASE sign at the front desk? Which is there to keep Histories from "waking up"? Because you wouldn't want to wake the dead?
The Narrows was like the worst back alley ever with locked doors upon doors and recordings of dead people (Histories), looking for a way into the living world--and going berserk when they can't find it.
Scary, creepy, made me glad our MC was there to protect us.
Mackenzie's been through a lot, losing her younger brother in a hit-and-run, keeping the Archive secret from everyone, including her grieving parents. Those scenes where she went to visit her brother's History were endearing. The journal entries from Mackenzie to her Da give us a glimpse into her thoughts, her fears. MacKenzie was a strong character, dedicated to her job as a Keeper (and her Da's memory).
And through it all, she still takes care of business.
I think this is what I liked best about her. There were no excuses. Not only was she dealing with internal conflicts, but externally, she's this total kick-butt Keeper, who has to tangle with dangerous Histories. I loved the romance with Wesley as well. He and his "guyliner" were a great addition to the book, and I looked forward to every scene with him in it :).
The mystery was an added bonus and driving force in the book. The Archived got progressively better as the story went along, and by the end, I was rushing through the pages to find out how everything would be resolved. Great writing, even better world-building, really enjoyed this one!