Review: The Archived, by Victoria Schwab
The Archived (The Archived #1), by Victoria Schwab • Published by Hyperion • ★★★★½ • Goodreads • TBDWhile halfway through reading The Archived at my desk by the window, I had to move to my bed that is not by the window because I felt watched (it was past midnight). If it's not a sign of how creepy this book is, then it's a sign of how easily spooked (or how deeply immersed in the story) I am. (I'm inclined to think it's the former.)
I think Schwab smooths the edge to what would have been a really terrifying story. Just take away the idea of the Archive, Librarians, Keepers, Histories. What do you really get? The Afterlife, ghosts, and ghosts hunters. And several particularly vengeful ghosts. It sounds crude when I put it this way, non? It just further exemplifies Schwab's ability to weave beautiful, almost gentle, stories.
Mac's development through The Archived was wonderful to read. Her estranged relationship with her family, her yearning for a normal life, her slow breakdown. You don't even realise she's falling apart until she crashed into Owen. Yet, she felt her own repulsion (as did I) but she didn't (couldn't) have anyone to turn to, because it's been drilled into her that truth isn't a luxury a Keeper has.
But what about Wes? I think Wes is Mac's chance to learn how to trust and she learnt it at a cost that was almost too dear to pay. He's her doorway to everything true. And of course, with his easygoing demeanour and surprising literature knowledge, it's hard not to adore Wes as a character or a person.
I docked 0.5 stars off because I was grasping at straws in the beginning about Mac's relationship Da. It takes several flashback scenes before I came to know that he's her grandfather. Maybe it's obvious to other readers but there were very little breadcrumbs leading to it. I was thinking brother (but it's just Ben and it's obviously stated he's gone), then boyfriend (but then the ageing flashback comes up)... before the final revelation was made. It's not that big a deal, it just threw me off track for a bit.
Overall, my first experience with a Schwab novel has been nothing short of excellent, and I will definitely be reading more of her works! :) Plus, anybody (or any author) whom Neil Gaiman has given a hug can do (almost) no wrong, me thinks. (It's in the acknowledgments, I do enjoy reading those pages quite a lot.)