Genre: Fantasy, YA, paranormal
Author: V. E. Schwab
Synopsis: Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.
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.
Mackenzie Bishop’s grandfather first brought her here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now her grandfather 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.
This story had a super cool concept. I usually really love Victoria Schwab’s story ideas and this was no exception. However, I didn’t love the series as much as some of her other works. I could tell that it was one of her earlier works, and while I still enjoyed it, it just wasn’t as well written and I usually tend to rate books on a curve if I’ve read other books by the same author. Had I read it earlier in both my reader life and my V.E. Schwab career, I would have loved this much more.
The world was by far my favourite. The concept is so cool. The whole between life and death thing, mixed with monster hunting. It’s just so cool. And Victoria’s writing really brings the world to life. The plot and characters were weaker than I’m used to. Although I really enjoyed the mysteries in both the first and the and the second book, I really didn’t like that there was in each book a suggestion of a love triangle which was used as a plot device. And I really don’t like love triangles and there was a different one in each book. But as I said, they were mainly used as a plot device and were then dropped as soon as they weren’t needed for the plot anymore. Which I thought was just kind of bad writing and there were better ways to move the plot forward than through teenage horniness. So I didn’t really like that.
The characters were okay. They weren’t bad characters, but they felt a lot more cookie-cutter than Victoria’s characters usually are. So I found myself not caring very much for them. I liked them well enough, but in the way that you like bread. You know, very basic. There wasn’t really anything to dislike because while they weren’t uni-dimensional, they just had very predictable motives and were a bit tropey. So I didn’t connect with them as much as I would have liked to.
Overall, I definitely enjoyed this series. I’m glad I read it and I recognise that this was one of her first series and she’s since evolved as a writer. It’s definitely a Victoria Schwab book in style and creativity, but it’s not as well executed as some of her later novels.