29. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Paranormal, Teen Books

The Archived by Victoria Schwab, 328 pages, read by Courtney, on 03/16/2013

Mac and her family have just moved into the Coronado, an aging LA hotel-turned-apartment building. Mac is not particularly thrilled about it. The move was precipitated by the death of her little brother and Mac’s not ready to let him go yet. This unwillingness to let him go is beginning to severely interfere with her secret job as a Keeper for the Archive. The Archive isn’t an ordinary repository; it is a place where the lives of the dead are stored. These are called Histories. Each History has his or her own coffin-shaped shelf. Each History is physically similar to its former living state. Trained by her late grandfather, Mac was the youngest Keeper in history. Most Histories are calm and remain in the Archives, but a few “wake up” and escape into a sort-of-purgatory called the Narrows. It is here that Mac must apprehend these escaped Histories, who typically become increasingly distressed and violent the longer they are “awake”, and return them to the Archive. Mac’s pretty good at her job, but things start going awry shortly after her arrival at the Coronado. For one thing, there’s another Keeper on the premises. And Mac might have a tiny crush on him. This, however, becomes eclipsed by the volume of work skyrocketing to unprecedented levels. It’s normal for a few Histories to wake up now and then, but multiple instances every day? And then there’s the strange boy lurking in the Narrows whose presence makes no sense. And the mysteries of the hotel itself….Mac’s got her plate pretty full. Assuming she survives her work.
Fascinating concept, but not as well-realized as I had hoped. This is, however, the first book in a series, so there’s necessarily a lot of world-building going on. Very little of the book takes place outside the Coronado, so it begins to feel a little limited at times in spite of the “real world” setting. Still an interesting examination of the nature of death and grief with a distinctly supernatural twist.

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