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The Archive by V. E. Schwab


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.

Pages: 321
Author: V.E Schwab
January 22, 2013
Characters: Mackenzie Bishop
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Horror



Spoilers ahead.

This is going to be a mini-review because this kind of fell a little flat for me, so I’m not sure what else to say.

Hm.. where do I begin? This series has been on my TBR since almost when I first began reading. I’d heard so many great things about it and was super excited to finally begin reading it. Then I find out that the third book isn’t even out yet? — and the first novel was published 4 years ago?! What?! I mean I know it’s taking me an eternity to write my novel, but that’s a little much considering she’s been pumping out other novels like crazy. And to be honest, I think this is one of the reasons why I don’t want to continue reading the series. I don’t want to finish the second and have it be a never-ending cliffhanger until Schwab decides to release the final book. It’ll kill me to wait that long to find out what happens. That, and I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would which is disappointing.


While the plot was interesting; the whole, copies of the dead rest on shelves as “Histories”, and every now and then they’re awoken due to any noise or restlessness, and it’s Mackenzie’s job to send them back to rest. While yeah, that seemed cool, eventually it just got… super boring. I felt like over and over the same things kept happening: a name appears on her list, she has to go find it, gets into a fight, sends it back home. Yes, there was a murder mystery involved which definitely helped to make it more interesting, but I found everything so repetitive. I almost felt trapped inside that little hotel/apartment that Mac lived in, and even I wanted a way out. I’m glad there was that mystery aspect to it, but unfortunately it didn’t redeem the story for me. That ending, though? Didn’t see it coming even though I really should have, so I guess that’s not bad? I also liked how different this was of a read for me. I don’t think I’ve read something as eerie as this. There was always that ‘hmm, something bad is about to happen soon isn’t it?’ or even that I constantly felt like the place just had lotsa bad joojoo’s.


I liked Mac, though she wasn’t my favourite character I’ve ever read about. She felt a little flat, boring and monotone and I found it very hard to connect to her. I sympathized for her, and it was cool to watch her be one tough cookie when it came to those fight scenes, but I’m afraid that’s it.

Wesley was cool. He definitely earned points for fulfilling my 13 year-old emo self who wanted a guy with dark hair and eyeliner, so there’s that. I don’t think he was book-boyfriend material, but I definitely liked his wit and charm.

Even though that twist with Owen really pissed me off, I was still kind of rooting for him. I didn’t put two and two together with him, and just knowing that my sweet little Owen was betraying her the entire time gets me rattled. Grrr, you Histories!


I think I had really high expectations for this book because of all the hype that was surrounding it when I first heard of it. I hadn’t read the synopsis, as usual, so I went into this blind and still struggled with trying to find a connection to both the stories and characters. I thought it’d be a little deeper than it was, and for all those reasons, I don’t think I’ll be continuing it. I’ve tried reading another one of Schwab’s novels and I DNF’d it. Maybe she’s just not my thing? Or maybe I just need to give her another shot?

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