Rated Reads

The Archived (The Archived, book 1)

by Victoria Schwab

Rated: Mild

Mackenzie Bishop first learned about the Archive as a young girl; her grandfather was a Keeper, and he taught her how to replace him when he died. No one but Keepers and others who work to protect the Archive know that the memories (more than that, really; the stories, the very lives in pictures) of every person who ever lives are kept as a history after they die. And sometimes those stored lives wake up and escape their “file” and can get out into the Narrows, a kind of buffer place between the Archive and the outside world. And if the Keepers tasked with finding those escaped Histories don’t return them to their files, sometimes the Histories even make it to the Outer.

When he became sick, Mackenzie’s Da chose to apply to have her become a Keeper at the young age of 12, so by the time she’s 16, the usual minimum age for Keepers, she’s already returned a lot of escaped Histories to the Archive. It’s tricky to do her work without her parents knowing anything about the Archive, but she manages. Unfortunately, in the past year, it’s become a bit easier to get away to the Narrows because her parents have been emotionally withdrawn and distracted since the death of her little brother, Ben.

After yet another move instigated by her mother, who’s chasing after new career “dreams” one after the other, Mackenzie finds herself in an old apartment building that was once a hotel. There are more Histories to deal with here, and a few mysteries. Even though her Da always warned her not to use her particular skills to satisfy her curiosity, she can’t help herself, and she learns that a murder was committed in her bedroom. Not only that, but it seems that someone tried to cover it up, in the Outer and even in the Archive. Trying to solve the mystery becomes very dangerous for Mac and for the new friend she makes at the Coronado.

The Archived has a really interesting premise, the rules of which are mostly murky for readers, probably an intentional choice by the author, because readers learn that Mac doesn’t even know many of the rules by which the Archive is run. The mystery is intriguing, and the action ramps up at a perfect pace, making the book wholly entertaining.

Rated: Mild. There are occasional uses of mild language and a few uses of moderate language, as well as a few uses of the name of deity. There are a few kissing scenes, and there is some discussion of past violence, as well as violence in the current action. It’s mostly lacking in much detail, but as the action gets more intense toward the end of the book, there is a bit more blood.

— Reviewed by Cathy Carmode Lim

Cathy Carmode Lim has been reviewing books for newspapers for more than 20 years, two of which she was a book page editor. She founded Rated Reads in January 2008.

2 Responses to The Archived (The Archived, book 1)

  1. […] the scary and dangerous events at the end of The Archived, teen Keeper Mackenzie Bishop is having a difficult time moving on. The rogue History with big […]

  2. […] her YA books and this shortened pseudonym for adults. I’m still waiting for a third book in her Archived series, the premise of which was clever and which I really […]

  • The Archived (The Archived, book 1)
  • by Victoria Schwab
  • Rated: Mild
  • Genre: Young adult
  • Reviewer: