The Archived: review & giveaway

January 25, 2013 2013, 4 star books, giveaway, sci fi or futuristic, victoria schwab, Wendy 132

Title: The Archived #1
Author: Victoria Schwab
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Release Date: 

January 22, 2013 
Publisher: Hyperion
Age Group: Y
ARC from ALA 

I have to admit, it wasn’t until the second half of the book that The Archived by Victoria Schwab really started clicking together for me. I‘ve heard that some people who read the extended preview online were unsure if they wanted to continue, and I can see why–but something about the writing was really appealing to me and I ended up having a great experience with it.

Here’s what I liked about the book:

* Dead people who are kept on shelves like books? Sign me on! Awesome premise. 

* I loved the eerie, something‘s-not-quite-right atmosphere. All this drama happening in the hushed hallways of a library setting somehow felt pretty creepy.

* The narrative voice felt comfortable and real.

* This isn’t written in a fast-paced sci-fi thriller kind of way, and I liked the slower pace and somewhat contemplative tone.

* The part of the story involving mysterious murders in an old hotel-turned-apartment-building was intriguing, and the way the clues gradually reveal themselves is enjoyable.

* I really liked some of the characters, especially the stern Roland, an older Librarian who mentors Mackenzie.

Things that were just fine:

* The romantic interests. Yes, there is an “s” at the end of that, but there isn’t really a love triangle here, and things are just interesting enough without overtaking the entire plot.

* The villain. Maybe a bit too easy to guess, but not until closer to the end.

Things I felt could use improvement:

* I found the beginning very confusing, in part because I thought “Da” referred to Mackenzie’s father, not her grandfather. The timeline also moved back and forth too much for my taste, and the switches in tense itched at me. Also, does her brother’s death have some further significance at some point? Between that, her grandfather’s death, moving to a new home, etc., there was a lot to take in the opening chapters.

* I was also never entirely sure how I understood how the mechanics of everything works in the Library or the Keepers’ exact roles. There were also definitely parts where I thought, “No way!” or “I don‘t get why this just didn’t happen.”

But there came a point when the story started coming together and taking off that I just let go of my doubts and just enjoyed the ride. In fact, I think zoomed through the last half in one sitting, it was such a page-turner! The book is well-plotted, well-written, and touched with some darkness, as well as humor. This isn’t a typical sci-fi story, and it’s all the better for that. I’m tired of wham-bam adventure stories that do little more than connect the dots between one action scene to the next.

This is the first book I’ve read by this author, but given the many positive reviews I’ve seen for her debut, I think I need to seek out The Near Witch very soon. And of course, I’ll be waiting for the new batch of Archives in the coming year.

This review also appears on GoodReads. An advance copy was provided by the publisher.

Win The Archived ARC!

The book was just released this week, but thanks to our friends at Disney-Hyperion, we have an advance readers copy of the book to give away to our readers. All you have to do is leave a comment below and fill out the Rafflecopter form, where you’ll find complete details.

Open Internationally to readers aged 18 and older, or aged 13 and older with parental permission.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

132 Responses to “The Archived: review & giveaway”

  1. Katie

    I have been looking forward to this book for such a long time. I actually had an idea similar to this years ago that never came to fruition. I’m glad someone has created a story. =D

  2. Grace

    I’m SO super excited for this one! I agree with you on a lot of points. The premise sounds awesome.

  3. Angela Chen

    Thank you so much! I heard great things about this book and I have a feeling I’m going to like it a lot. Even though I don’t normally like sci-fi, this one sounds really good!

  4. rashikathebookowl

    I’ve been looking forward to this book for a while, I mean it’s a book about a library of dead bodies. It’s sounds so original. I’ve read a lot of reviews for this one as well and I am so excited to read this!

  5. Shani K.

    Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of sci-fi, although, I suppose I haven’t read enough in the genre. But the premise of this book sounds cool! It doesn’t give off that hardcore sci-fi vibe though.

  6. Marianne Robles

    I’m really excited for this book because of its original premise! Dead people on shelves? Sign me up! I always keep my eye on new, original books, and this one is just on the top of my list to read!

  7. the_bosix

    I can`t wait to read this book, it reminds me a bit of Angelfall- all mysterious and kind of crazy, I love the idea!

  8. Genie_inabook

    Sci-fi novels are always interesting reads. With the new technology and endless possibilities for how our world may turn out in the future, us readers can always be prepared for the unexpected!
    This book in particular looks very promising and I have been waiting to read it for ages :)

  9. Genie_inabook

    Sci-fi novels are always interesting reads – with the new technology you are exposed to and endless possibilities of different worlds and societies it is very difficult to go wrong!
    This book looks so promising and I cannot wait to read it :)

  10. Amanda

    This sounds awesome! Reminds me a little of the Doctor Who episode “Silence in the Library”, therefore I must read it! :P

  11. pymette

    ooh, I’m very excited about this book. My former library-working self can never resist a good cataloging tale. Also for some reason it makes me think of the Dr Who episode “The Library” :) xo leanna

  12. Michelle Morris

    The premise is what really draws me to this book. I’ve never heard of anything like it! I’m also a sucker for books with eerie tones.

    Thank you for your review and your giveaway :)

  13. Mona Dong

    I wasn’t going to read this originally because I don’t do slow beginnings very well, but this review convinced me! Plus, I haven’t read a good mystery in a looong time.

  14. Megan Monell

    The Archived looks incredible. I love sci fi because of all the possibilities. I’ve always liked the forward thinking and huge imagination in sci fi, not just in creating a new world, but creating wonderful things in this world that are plausible or would fit nicely. Thanks for hosting a giveaway! Great review.

  15. Willinda

    I love Victoria´s writing. I have read The Near Witch and I still shiver when I think about it! And I am really excited for The Archived!
    Thanks for the giveaway!
    -Hana Trskova

  16. subtleadieu

    The Archived seems really haunting and mysterious and possibly like it could be beautiful – so I’m really looking forward to reading it!

  17. Jas Dela Cruz

    I was waiting for this since last year. The summary gives an intriguing yet compelling story and I can’t wait to read this… but first off, I need money :(

  18. Zemira Djedović

    I didn’t enjoy The Near Witch but I’m kind of hoping this would do the trick. Lately I’ve been reading only contemp so I’m pretty sick of the drama and want to read something scary and paranormal.

  19. Sel

    I think the blurb really does suck me in! The idea of dead souls residing on shelves as books just sucks me in :)

  20. denelian

    i’ve always loved sci-fi. read my first Heinlein novel at 8, so it’s fair to say i’m a lifer.

    that said – there’s less “new” in sci-fi, anymore. this seems really new. an interesting premise, an archive of the dead? i don’t know any more than that, and i’m totally blown away by the idea…

  21. Sharon ObsessionwithBooks

    Thankyou for a wonderful giveaway! I have been wanting to read The Archived since I first read the unique premise; it sounds so interesting and I have read some amazing reviews which makes me even more eager to read it.

  22. JessS

    Thank you for the giveaway! This sounds so interesting and I really want to read it because for starters it sounds like such a cool and original idea, I want to read more YA, and mostly because you said the romance is good and non-love-triangle-y.

  23. busyteacher

    A librarian friend of mine has been raving about this book on Facebook as she’s reading it. It’s making me quite jealous, so I’m thinking it’s something I need to pick up and read as well. Since I’m a librarian, too, she’s certainly intrigued me. Thanks for the giveaway!

  24. Nikki

    A library for bodies…knowledge held in bodies…As a librarian, it doesn’t get any more intriguing than that!

    Nikki @ Books Most Wanted

  25. Katie Tuccelli

    The idea of a library (archive) for bodies is so intriguing and creepy, I’m sure I’d read the book for the reason alone! Loved your review of it, and can’t wait to see if I agree.

    Thanks for the opportunity to win :-)

    Katie @ BlookGirl

  26. Stéphanie

    “Dead people who are kept on shelves like books? Sign me on! Awesome premise.” — That’s what got my interest. I definitively want to read this book now. I’m really curious about it.

    And I love just about any type of sci-fi books because I find there’s so many possibilities.

  27. ramydul

    I think this book is quite unique.The idea is very interesting,it’s unlike other books I’ve read.I want to try something new and I beleive this book is perfect for me.

  28. Sarah (saz101)

    I’m so, SO intrigued by this one, Wendy! I mean, the dead sitting on shelves like old back-ups alone intrigues me, and I’m partial to the cover (THOUGH IS SWEAR THAT IS THE PROMOTIONAL PICTURE OF JENNIFER LAWRENCE AS KATNISS IN THE THG POSTERS!) but… you know, sometimes I like seeing reviews which discuss the negative as well as the positive? They’re somehow more intriguing, the same as a person can be more fascinating and beautiful for their faults.

    It goes without saying, of course, but wonderful review! ♥

  29. Randi M

    I’m excited to read The Archived because of that crazy original-sounding premise! I love unique stories. :)

  30. Ashley D.

    I’m excited about The Archived because I’ve read The Near Witch and really enjoyed it and have since been looking forward to more of Victoria’s work.

  31. Janine

    This is one where I feel like the cover is a big deal. And I’ve had such good luck with my sci fi/fantasy picks lately I’m excited to read another one with good buzz!

  32. Aryn Bounds

    I love Science Fiction novels – my dad started handing me older scifi when I was in middle school, and I never looked back. Besides, I love libraries and the idea that every dead person has a story to tell (each a novel in and of themselves?) has SO much potential!

  33. A Canadian Girl

    You have to read The Near Witch, Wendy! The plot is a bit predictable but the prose and setting are amazing. I’m looking forward to reading this one because of its cool premise … dead people kept like books on shelves sounds very intriguing.

  34. rabbitsfortea

    It seems like I’ve been waiting for the book to be released since forever!
    Everything that you’ve liked about the book makes me want to get a copy asap (and the cover is gorgeous!). The idea of having dead people kept on shelves is kinda creepy but sounds totally awesome.

    I’m definitely up for a creepy mystery read right now.

  35. Enbrethiliel


    I want to read this book because I love magical libraries and wish I could live in one. At the same time, however, I wouldn’t ever want to be trapped in a book. So the premise alone already brings a great desire and a great fear of mine together.

    When you say that “something about the writing” made you want to read the book, I think that’s a great endorsement. There are books with what sound like good stories that I stay away from because the prose is just so bad. And there have been books I didn’t think I’d like that I got sucked into because the writers had such great voices on the pages. I’m keeping my fingers crossed now!

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  36. Sarahbotbonkers

    I actually read a sneak peek of The Archived and I immediately liked it. I would love to be able to read the whole thing. Thanks for the wonderful opportunity, Wendy! :)

  37. Aa'Ishah

    I love the premise for this. And as for sci-fi generally, I love seeing all the different ideas that authors come up with for future worlds, and how some of them might actually happen at least to an extent.

    Lol, like Bee, the idea of the Library does sort of remind me of Doctor Who!

    Thanks for the awesome giveaway, wonderful review. :)

  38. Bee

    I’ve seen that book float around many book recommendation sites, but I’d never stopped to read the summary. It sounds rather intriguing, and I can’t help but be remembered of ‘The Library’ in Doctor Who! *to some point at least

  39. Laurie House

    This sounds like a very interesting concept. I think a lot can be done with it. Thank you for the giveaway, and your review is lovely!

  40. Charlie

    Very interesting plot. The first thing that attracted me was the cover.

    Awesome review, as always. Thanks for the giveaway, btw. :)

  41. Viktorija

    This book is at the top of my to-read list this year, I can’t wait to find what is so great about the second half of the novel!

  42. Ash

    I agree, the books is very unique and the cover is great. I’m dying to get my hands on this one!

  43. Andrea @The Bookish Babes

    I honestly hadn’t given much notice to The Archived. It didn’t seem like a story I would enjoy. But, I’m kind of dying to experience what was so great about the second half of the story. And now that I’ve actually read a review, the premise does seem cool.

    Great review, Wendy!

  44. Sarah Johnson

    I’m hard to impress when it comes to sci-fi novels. The ones I have read were great and I’ve come across one or two that lacked in comparison. I really want to read this. I wasn’t too sure about it at first, but the more I hear the premise and see reviews for The Archived the more I want to read it.

  45. Sarah Johnson

    I’m hard to win over when it comes to sci-fi novels. Not because I love them, but because I don’t read them often and the ones I have read were absolutely amazing. The premise for The Archived sounds so different and interesting. I really want to see what the hype is about.

  46. KtTurner

    Thank you for this amazing giveaway. I am so excited to read this book. I have heard so many good things and the cover is so intriguing.

  47. Lori M. Lee

    The whole concept of this book is so cool and different. I love it. Plus, Victoria Schwab’s writing is GORGEOUS. It’s like poetry.

  48. Heather Roddenberry

    I felt the same way while reading, Wendy. Loved the eerie atmosphere of the Narrows and the quiet yet creepy feel of the Archive. I absolutely loved Roland, definitely my favorite character (I ALWAYS fall for the secondary’s becoming problematic) and yes, I too was confused about the Da/ Grandfather thing. Took me a bit before I figured out Da wasn’t her dad.

    Hoping for more character development in the next book and some more romance wouldn’t bother me a bit:) The writing is beautiful:)

  49. Keertana

    I’m so glad you enjoyed this one, Wendy! I can’t wait to read it soon and the premise seems so original. Plus, I’m glad that the characters are solid as well as that’s always an important factor for me. Amazing review, dear! :)

  50. dragongirl

    Wonderful review, Wendy! I’ve heard some great things about this and the premise is so intriguing. Can’t wait to read it!

  51. Nicole

    We had similar likes with this book. I really liked Wes so I didn’t mind the interes there but the interest with Owen actual disturbed me (for obvious reasons) and I felt it was too quick. Like “Oh my mind is quiet with you lets make out.” I didn’t buy it. Also, I couldn’t figure out who Da was either for a while. That could have been clearer. But overall, I LOVED the book. Anyway, great review, thanks!

  52. Lea

    This concept sounds so unique! Loved the writing in The Near Witch, too, so I can’t wait to read The Archived! (And now that I know Da is her grandpa, maybe it won’t be so confusing ;))
    Thank you for the giveaway!

  53. Lil Berry

    I had a chance to read the preview of The Archived and I have to say I am intrigued by the concept and also I didn’t find the “Da” as confusing.
    It is sad to know that it will be sort of easy to spot the villan thought :(

  54. erin

    Thank you for the great giveaway! I’ve been very interested in this book as it’s been generally praised across the blogoverse :)

  55. LisaFicTalk

    I actually really like the idea of the dead on bookshelves! I mean, who wouldn’t? Any person who loves to read and has a thing for sci-fi, etc, would be interested in a book like this.

    Also, something about the cover just screams: READ ME! I AM REALLY INTERESTING! lol

    Great review, Wendy. I’m actually looking forward to reading this.

  56. LisaFicTalk

    I actually really like the idea of the dead on bookshelves! I mean, who wouldn’t? Any person who loves to read and has a thing for sci-fi, etc, would be interested in a book like this.

    Also, something about the cover just screams: READ ME! I AM REALLY INTERESTING! lol

    Great review, Wendy. I’m actually looking forward to reading this.

  57. Christina

    As you may know by now, I was not wowed by this book. I mean, I liked it kind of, but I had a lot of issues with it too.

    I agree with all of your likes and just fine things, except for the narrative voice, which I struggled with. The MC never felt like a real person to me at all.

    The Da/you thing was simply awful. It’s such an odd narrative device to use, and I really do not know what it was supposed to add to my reading experience.

    Like you say, towards the end the story does really come together, and earned the book a three from me.

  58. Joanna

    The fact that the plot is actually coherent and well-balanced shouldn’t be such a rarity but it’s encouraging! I was intrigued by the premise of this book from the start so I’m really happy it lives up to its potential.

  59. Gina @ My Precious

    Sounds as great as the blurb. I have heard though the villain may be too easy to guess from other bloggers too. I’m glad you liked it and I myself am looking forward to reading it.

  60. Lark

    The premise sounds fascinating as well as original. I appreciate your candor regarding the things that didn’t quite work for you; sometimes knowing those ahead of time helps me get past a book’s drawbacks.

  61. Emma

    At first, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read this book but I’ve heard so many good reviews about it, I may just have to.
    Thanks for the great review and giveaway!

  62. Andrea C

    This book sounds so good and I’m always looking for a new paranormal/sci-fi book to hold my attention. Thanks for the great review!

  63. Danielle Nguyen

    I really enjoyed The Near Witch and have been impatiently waiting for something else from Victoria. She’s one of my favorite authors to follow online because of how real and honest she is with her fans. Can’t wait to read The Archived! Especially since libraries are such an important piece of the story :)

  64. Janita @ Book, Interrupted

    I’m glad that you were a little critical about this one. Everyone just gushes how amazing it is, but it’s good to have some critique and actual feedback. Thanks for the awesome review!

  65. Kirsten!

    I love the premise of this book- the archives sounds like some wonderful mix between a library and a morgue, which a macabre book-lover like me can’t resist!

  66. Sabryy

    I can’t wait to read this book! Everyone said that The Archived is awesome and I really want to try it.

  67. Livvy

    This looks like a great book. I’ve heard a few mixed thoughts, but I like the idea of the shelves and dead people.

    I’m glad you managed to enjoy it and zoom through to the end.

    I find that some sci-fi labelled books can be a little too technical and complicated and it sounds like this one in terms of the “sci-fi” kind of plot doesn’t do that which is good to hear.

    Great review! :)

  68. Tina

    This review of Archived makes this book sound like a scarier version of that Doctor Who episode in the library!

  69. Diana Evans

    I’m excited for this book because it sounds so unique. I have also heard other people gushing about it and I want to join in.

  70. Diana Evans

    I’m excited about this book because it sounds so unique. I have also heard other people gushing about and I want to join in.

  71. Maree

    Lovely review! I’m really looking forward to this one – I followed Ms Schwab’s ‘Making History’ videos in the lead up and really enjoyed them, so I am hoping to enjoy the book just as much!

  72. Ashley

    I’m excited for this book for many reasons, mostly because I’ve heard great things about it and the author

  73. Skye

    Good to know that it’s worth pushing through the beginning, even if it doesn’t click for me right away. I tend to give up on a book if I don’t like it in the first few chapters (I’m learning not to, though!). Thanks for the heads-up!

    I’ve been hearing such good things about this book, I can’t wait to get my hands on it!

    Thanks for the informative review, and the giveaway! :)

  74. Sallie Mazzur

    A blogger friend was a part of Victoria’s blog tour and ever since I saw it that first time, I see it everywhere. It just has such an original premise and I’m obsessed with libraries as it is, so for Victoria to take an attainable place in reality and mix it with a creepy/cool factor of storing memories in books makes it even more compelling! The cover also does a fabulous job of selling the book, it has a lot going on and it doesn’t elude to anything specific, but definitely invites you to imagine anything could happen.

    Thank you for doing this giveaway, I’m looking forward to experiencing The Archived for myself! :)

  75. Shirley

    WOW. Dead people are kept on shelves like books? I don’t think I care about any other aspects of the books anymore, just that and I’m definitely reading it! Hmm…I find it interesting how there’s love interests but no love triangle…hopefully I’ll get to read it soon :)

  76. Krispy

    I actually had mixed feeling about The Near Witch. I wanted to love it so bad, but there just wasn’t enough story for the length of the book. I kept wanting more. On the other hand, the writing was quite lovely – atmospheric and evocative – and I think Schwab did the whole small town fairy tale tone well. So I was interested when I heard she had another book coming out, and I LOVE the premise of The Archived. The whole dead people as books thing is so intriguing, and it sounds like a good mix of the mystery, moodiness, and creepy – all things Schwab did well in The Near Witch. Your review has made me more excited about reading The Archived! Thanks for the giveaway!

  77. Sophia

    I’ve also heard lots of really great things about Victoria’s debut and this one. I am a fan of science fiction, and the concept does sound very fascinating, so I think I’ll have to check this one out. I’ve heard really good things about the author’s writing itself, so I’m keen to see how much I like it. Lovely review, Wendy! :)

  78. Krispy

    I love the premise for this book, and I really enjoyed Schwab’s writing in The Near Witch, which is why I’m excited for The Archived. Your review is helpful because I did have some trepidation towards The Archived. I liked The Near Witch well enough, but I did think it was a bit slow and there wasn’t quite enough story for the length of the book. I kept wanting more from it, and I really wanted to love it but couldn’t. The writing was lovely though – atmospheric and evocative. So I was interested when I heard about the Archived!

  79. Valeria Andrea

    About Sci-Fi? I love the infinite number of possibilities it offers.
    I just love it.
    Dead people being shelved is just one part of the tiny universe that could be created from Sci-Fi, & little as it is, I love it.
    I seriously love the idea.

  80. Vivien

    I struggled with The Near Witch. It was so hard for me to get into and then I just lost all focus and couldn’t really enjoy it. Hopefully I’ll be able to get through this slow start and like it in the end as well. I do think this author has promising aspects to her writing. I’m willing to give her a second chance.

  81. Victoria

    I love Victoria Schwab! I’ve been out of the YA loop for a while, so I’m really excited to hear that she’s got a new book out!