Well, before I got into the book, I was a bit unsure. SURE, there were tons of great reviews, but I'm usually the black sheep. And maybe (possibly?) it was because I was expecting such great things from it at first, that I started worrying that it wouldn't meet any of my expectations.
But it did. It so did.
I can not tell you how lush the worldbuilding was! The Archive, The Narrows, Histories, Librarians, Keepers, and Crew, oh my! Everything that Victoria wrote was so vivid and fascinating that I immediately wanted to learn more about it! Which is another thing that I found unique about this book. Instead of info-dumping you (new reviewing word for me lol), you learn things slowly and gradually--enough to keep you intrigued and eager for one more nugget of information, but not so slowly that the happenings confuse you.
The writing was also one of the highlights of The Archived. We change tenses every so often, from present to past, and it was fascinating to see how Mackenzie was trained and what she learned from Da. Not only that, but there was something about it that made you feel everything so clearly and in sync with Mac. Being transported to another world? That saying's never been more true!
This book was definitely filled with action and mystery. With a place like The Narrows and zombies like Histories, it's really not that surprising! But what happens definitely is. There's a panicked feeling when we find out what's happening in The Archive and a thrill of excitement when we're fighting Histories alongside Mac. And of course, a suspicious glance towards Owen. Who just appears like that?
Speaking of, characters. I absolutely loved Mackenzie! She had all the qualities of those heroines we love--headstrong, a bit stubborn, strong, and maybe a bit cold and alone. We all know those kind of characters make for a great story! But I'll admit, I really wanted Mac to warm up a bit to Wesley--in a more romantic sense I guess. Then again, that may have ruined the plot a little...so go you Victoria Schwab for making something I usually wouldn't like (lack of romance. What? I'm one of those sappy people) into something that enhanced the plot's greatness. ;)
By the way, Wesley. I lovelovelove Wesley. Seriously. If I ever have a boyfriend, I want him like that. Except, no guyliner. Wesley was hilarious and added a comic relief to this otherwise dark story and I loved his scenes! He made me laugh every time he was present and always managed to irk Mackenzie in an adorable fashion! Throughout the book I really did want to shove them together and chant kiss!
I never trusted Owen in the first place. NEVER.
The last thing: This is possibly the first time I teared up in a paranormal novel! It was heartbreaking, how much Mac loved her little brother and how much she was willing to risk. And then, near the end...well, I can't spoil that, now can I?