The Archived Novels Book Reviews





The Archived by Victoria Schwab

Published: January 22nd, 2013

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal


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.

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“The dead are silent, and objects, when they hold impressions, are quiet until you reach through them. But the touch of the living is loud. Living people haven’t been compiled, organized—which means they’re a jumble of memory and thought and emotion, all tangled up and held at bay only by the silver band on my finger.”

I loved this story so much. I am starting to fear the power in Schwab’s fingers because magic and all-consuming stories are all that come out. The Archived is no different. She took me on another whirlwind of a ride but this time I was hunting Histories which are dead people that don’t seem all that dead. I love that she can craft a tale from anything and have me devouring it whole. How does she do it you ask? I don’t know and I don’t care because I love it.

“The Narrows remind me of August nights in the South. They remind me of old rocks and places where the light can’t reach. They remind me of smoke—the stale, settled kind—and of storms and damp earth.”

The writing and beautiful prose in this book were breathtaking. Her writing in this book was so haunting and whimsical. I was intrigued and captivated from chapter one. The whole story had an air of mystery to it. I felt like I was trying to solve the dilemma with Mackenzie & Roland right along with them lol. Like pages 131-133 I was screaming who is to blame? What is happening? I don’t trust Owen! My gut was right obviously but it was such a rush and I had many jaw-dropping OMG moments like with Carmen.

“The only thing the three places have in common,” you say, “are doors. Doors in, and doors out. And doors need keys.”

I loved how Victoria set up this world. Her world building is always phenomenal but this was amazing because it was three different place all in one book. The Outer is the regular world. The Narrows was an eerie, daunting, and nightmarish corridor place with different doors leading to different places. The Archive was a large, warm, peaceful place where the dead rest. I pictured it all yet all were so different and gave a different feeling.

“There’s only one reason Keepers have the ability to read things,” you say sternly. “It makes us better hunters. It helps us track down Histories.”

Mac’s job is a great aspect to the book. The job of a keeper is quite lonely. It’s mysterious, tiring, dangerous, and loud. It was interesting seeing how Schwab handled the fact that when a keeper touches someone they see their memories and heard their noise. I really felt like I did too and I enjoyed that because it made it more real and daunting. It’s a sad life though always having to lie even if it protects the ones we love so I felt that emotion as well from Mackenzie.

“No, I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t give anything. I wouldn’t give the bond I had with Da. I wouldn’t give the time I had with Ben’s drawer. I wouldn’t give Roland, and I wouldn’t give the Archive, with its impossible light and the closest thing I’ve ever had to peace. This is all I have. This is all I am.”

I really related to her love for her brother because that’s how I am with my sister. If I was Mac and my sister suffered the same fate as Ben I would probably do a lot of what she did. Even though I don’t have the gift she has I related to not like being touched lol. I really love that on page 108 she mentions not being afraid of fear and that it helps to survive.

The pace of the story is crazy good. It’s the perfect blend of action and quiet moments. I like that it’s not too much but not too little. I was able to appreciate every moment and retain it all. The juicy moments, the mystery, the haunting.

“I am still frozen when he reaches out and brushes a finger over the three lines etched into the surface of my ring, then twists one of his own rings to reveal a cleaner but identical set of lines.”

I adored Wesley from the moment he closed his eyes and smiled at Mac as she crossed over him. He was such a ball of cheer, charm, and love. It was a slow burning romance and I loved it because it hasn’t still yet reached full potential. I am going to mention my favorite moments by pages 98, 279-280,300, 319-320. I liked how the story felt lonely and sad like Mackenzie and then when Wes came their loneliness was gone and the story felt happier. I don’t know if Schwab matched the characters feelings on purpose but it worked so well.

“Look at me.” You knock my chin up with your finger. “Curiosity is a gateway drug to sympathy. Sympathy leads to hesitation. Hesitation will get you killed. Do you understand?”

We didn’t read about Da when he was alive but we learned about his through Mac and I loved him. He was wise and prepared her for a lot of what she would deal with. The lessons in bold that we saw throughout added to the overall plot and understanding of Mac’s character development.

“The first trick to lying is to tell the truth as often as possible. If you start lying about everything, big and small, it becomes impossible to keep things straight, and you’ll get caught. Once suspicion is planted it becomes exponentially harder to sell the next lie.”





The Unbound by Victoria Schwab

Published: January 28th, 2014

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal


Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books. Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive. Last summer, Mackenzie Bishop, a Keeper tasked with stopping violent Histories from escaping the Archive, almost lost her life to one. Now, as she starts her junior year at Hyde School, she’s struggling to get her life back. But moving on isn’t easy — not when her dreams are haunted by what happened. She knows the past is past, knows it cannot hurt her, but it feels so real, and when her nightmares begin to creep into her waking hours, she starts to wonder if she’s really safe. Meanwhile, people are vanishing without a trace, and the only thing they seem to have in common is Mackenzie. She’s sure the Archive knows more than they are letting on, but before she can prove it, she becomes the prime suspect. And unless Mac can track down the real culprit, she’ll lose everything, not only her role as Keeper, but her memories, and even her life. Can Mackenzie untangle the mystery before she herself unravels?

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“The walls between worlds used to feel like they were made of stone—heavy and impenetrable. These days, they feel too thin. The secrets, lies, and  monsters bleed through, ruining the clean lines.”

The Unbound was even better than the first. It was more horrific, spine-tingling, nail-biting suspense, OMG moments, romance, twists and turns, and dazzling. It left me wanting more in a good way. I can’t way for The Returned to come out so I can be even more obsessed with this world than I already am. I want to delve deeper into Mac and Wesley’s relationship because that short story that miss Schwab wrote left me yearning for much more.

“I rack my brain, trying to rewind my own mind, trying to remember when he scratched me, or what made him run in the first place, or how we met, and panic coils around me as I realize that I can’t.”

The writing style was just as excellent as the first. This is never an issue in Victoria’s books, to be honest. The Unbound had stunning prose, a captivating mixture of action, romance, and horror. The mystery was mind gripping it reminded me of Shutter Island because I was equally terrified and intrigued to know what was happening. The supernatural setting and world building were wonderfully haunting.

“He used to tell me there were no bad dreams. Just dreams. That when we call them good or bad, we give importance to them. I know that doesn’t make it better, Mac. I know it’s easy to talk like that when you’re awake. But the fact is, dreams catch us with our armor off.”

Unbound has a page-turning plot that was never dull or shy with the action sequences. It was as I said earlier spine-tingling. I had many moments where I was like RUN, DON’T DO THAT, GIRL, WESLEY, BRO, DAMN IT AGATHA, OH SHUT UP SAKO, MOM WHAT ARE YOU DOING, and so forth. It kept me up well into the night because I couldn’t put it down.

“And having you in my life is terrifying and addictive, and I’m not going to lie and tell you it doesn’t make my heart race. It does…But I’m here. No matter what happens with us, I’m here.”

I am dying for them to just let me live. Mac and Wes made my heart hurt which means it was really Schwab. She has no regards for my feelings whatsoever. It was sloooooooww burning but so good yet I was screaming JUST BE TOGETHER. Literally, I don’t think I read a relationship that was so slow but it made my heart squeal and I just love them a lot. They have a pleasing edge of unpredictability. My favorite pages were 38 (LOL), 196 (angry/protective Wes is hot), 210 (SO SOFT), 213 (it’s not them but what her dad says about them MY HEART), 224 (honestly let me die here), 306 (Wesley missed her noise and couldn’t sleep WHY SCHWAB WHY?), 319-320 (Wesley wanting to help and just pouring out some love onto Mac I can’t anymore), 350-351 (yes yes yes yes yes love and kissing is what I like), and the bonus chapter where Mac says she’s in love (Here lies Kathryn Calderon 1994-2017).

“Societies are afraid of their citizens,” echoes Mr. Lowell. “The more a society tightens its grip, the more the people fight that grip…Tighter and tighter, and the resistance grows and grows until it spills over into action.”

This story had a really morally complex universe. The archive was a place with many dark and twisted secrets. The Keepers, the Crew, the Librarians, and the head all were kept apart and this leads to many doubts and secrets. You really don’t know how deep things go but Mac got a closer look into her world. Schwab had a lot of foreshadowing going on like on page 50. Pretty much anytime Mac was in Mr. Lowell’s class there was some sort of foreshadowing to what would happen.

“Besides,” he adds softly crossing to the side table to fetch his watch, ” I promised your grandfather I would look after you…That’s a promise I intend to keep.”

I wanted to make a special mention of Roland. I really loved his character. He has indefinite trust in Mackenzie and what she did. I really loved the whole “do you regret it yet voting me through” and “no you make things infinitely more interesting” thing they kept saying throughout. He was always protective, caring, and there for her since she became a keeper.

“Eric gives me a guarded look…But the thing is, what we do, it’s in our blood. It’s who we are. Normal wouldn’t fit us, even if we wanted to wear it…I’d say stay out of trouble,” he says, “but it just seems to find you, Miss Bishop.”

New characters in the story were intertwined nicely. They were all very different yet they all had very distinct and different voices/personalities that translated well on the page. The court at Hyde school was very funny, interesting, and a cool group of friends. Eric was sweet and caring he deserved more 😦 Director Hale reminded me of George Clooney lol. I picture him when I see Director Hale. We saw more of Agatha and I honestly wanted to fight her. Sako was another new character that I just feel might be a problem in book 3. Lyndsey wasn’t new but I just thought she was a truly great friend. She was constant in Mac’s life and lets her be her. I LOVED DALLAS!!!!!

“I think you’re wearing too much armor,” she says…”The funny thing about armor is that it doesn’t just keep other people out. It keeps us in. We build it up around us, not realizing that we’re trapping ourselves. And really, you end up with two people. That shiny metal one…and the human one side, who’s falling apart.”

Mackenzie’s mental state is prevalent in the book and Victoria did a great job with it. It was real and we saw the spiral happening. She show’s how the world reacts to people in her mental state and how she tries to keep the lies intact and from everything going out of control. She is a brave and amazing character and I loved how she handled Owen. THAT’S MY GIRL (cue 5H song).


This was amazing and I am anticipating the release of The Returned. I know it will be just as fantastic as these two. She only get’s better with every book and I can’t wait. What did you think of these books?



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Kathryn Calderon | 24 | Artist of many trades | Villains are my soul

10 thoughts on “The Archived Novels Book Reviews

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