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Monday, December 24, 2012

The Archived by Victoria Schwab

The Archived by Victoria Schwab
Rating: 4/5
Source: ALA 
Release date: January 22, 2013

Synopsis (from Goodreads): 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.

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 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 might 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.

Review: Each book has a different story to tell, and a different way of telling it. In The Archived, I was blown away by how Schwab structured her sentences, her characters, her world. 

It's been a while since I've read a fantasy novel. I forget how much time is required to become familiar with a book's world. Because of this, the beginning was confusing, and it took a while to become acquainted with all of its terminology. I wasn't completely absorbed  because the time spent connecting the dots actually resulted in disconnecting me from the book's world.

However, it does become easy to emotionally invest myself in Mac's world, where the dead are sorted into a library-like system, where their collective subconscious is kept for records, showing that history is us when we die just as much as when we are alive. The theme of love and loss was done in a totally creative way, and every character was fleshed out. Some funny, some brave, some both. 

The writing is rapid and direct; there isn't any fluff or unnecessary scene; and for a majority of the book, the descriptions are vivid, suspenseful, and in no way, boring. What I particularly liked about this book were the flashbacks. Whenever Mac addressed her father, she turned the pronoun "you" into something so crippling and dramatic. With other novels, the overabundance of flashbacks slow the pace down, but the flashbacks here are integrated and utilized so well that they actually propel the storyline. I get a better sense of who Mac is and why she does what she does. I love knowing  acharacter's motivation. I love clipped sentences and repetition in sentences and I love this book. 

Holy crap, man. Victoria Schwab's imagination. I love it. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Some thoughts...

This blog as a timeline
  • Evolution as a reader: Scrolling through my old posts, I can actually see how I've evolved as a reader. As a reader, I am no longer the same as I was in July 2009. I like different genres, different authors. I have different expectations.
Before, it was very difficult for me to write reviews because I was basically writing the same review over and over and over. I haven't updated in the longest time, mostly because I feel my position as a reader has changed. In my old reviews, I was so easily pleased. I had very little criticism about every book I read. And now, I'm finding myself being more critical, more demanding. Looking back, I cannot imagine Kim Now loving some of the books Kim Old loved in the past. Like, maybe. But love? No. Authors that I would have never thought about loving are some of the ones I love now.

I used to hate open endings--pitchforks, anyone?--and now, I appreciate them. I've learned to admire their depth and understand their ambiguity. Ambiguity is a huge part of our lives, and sometimes reading about ambiguity helps us come to terms with the uncertainty in our lives.

Honestly, I actually cringe reading some of my old reviews. But in some ways, I am still the same. I still take my fangirling to extremes. (Recently made a Facebook account for Augustus Waters. Guess who is in a relationship with him on Facebook? Heh. THIS GIRL. YEAH. WHAT IS LIFE.)

I am so thankful for this blog and other blogs because the truth is, we are still evolving as readers and as writers. Our blogs are timelines of that process.

Semi-hiatus is over. I am ready to start blogging again!~