Genre: Young Adult – Magical Realism
Target Audience: 13+
Rating: B+ (86%)
Goodreads Rating: 5/5
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.
This book doesn’t dive into everything straight away. You have to learn a bit about Da, a bit about Mackenzie and her family. You have to learn about Ben. Then, the party slowly starts to build and BAM! It’s over. This book’s start doesn’t have a definitive end, and I liked that. I spent so long wondering when would the book start that I didn’t realise, it already did.
The characters in this are truly amazing. They’re in depth and real. I feel like I could reach into the pages and feel the world beneath my fingers. (Wouldn’t that be cool if you could do that?) They’re full of — I want to say life, but that’s not the right world. They’re full of reality. They’re so real with the depth of emotions and, with just how human they are.
Now, let’s get started on V.E Schwab’s writing. Gee golly, she’s a freaking goddess at writing. The entire time throughout reading it, I kept thinking, ‘man, I wish I could write this well’. It’s true! She’s got the art of wordsmithing down to a freaking T. It’s incredible. I would definitely read her shopping list. Gimme!
Now, what’s bad about the book? The one thing I didn’t like, and I’m only saying it because it’s a me thing. I can’t handle embarrassing scenes in movies or books where I know that something embarrassing is about to happen. I can’t stand it. I will skim over the page, or I’ll walk away for a little while and return when it isn’t as fresh. This book had some of those moments, and good golly, were they a struggle to get through. (Again, this is a me thing. If you don’t have an issue with embarrassing anything, then, you’re all good!)
Beside that one thing, this book was incredible. I insist you pick it up and devour it whole. Because, man was it tasty!
The break down of my rating:
Style & Tone: 9/10
Enjoyment Factor: 8/10