I'm not really the sort of person who needs to have all her questions answered by the end of the book. I don't sit and dissect every book I read, trying to figure out the allegories, once I'm done - I'm mainly in for the ride. Make the story and the world it's set in (not to metion the writing) plausible and I'm a happy camper. So, it's not wonder that The Archived
(where, though the world-building is not fully explained away, it is enough to make you think "A library for the dead? Sure, why not.
") compelled me to stay up half the night and finish it in one sitting by reading it for 5 hours straight. Yep, for me, it was THAT
good.How do I love thee, dear book? Let me count the ways....1.
Lovely characterisation. All the (main) characters are neatly fleshed out. Even Da, who is only seen in flashbacks, is written about in such a way that even the few scenes he's in, speaks volumes about him.2.
Oh, the brillaint writing! The crippling pain of the loss of a loved one, the aftermath where you deal with it and try to move on, and the mental anguish of seeing them again but knowing
it's them but also not them
, but just a record of their memories, is captured so beautifully that if you don't shed a tear or two at a particular point in the book (you'll know which one when you come across it), then I DECLARE YOU HAVE A HEART OF STONE.3.
Not only is the male romantic interest a charming, sweet, witty, eyeliner guyliner-wearing goth, who is also NOT tortured or angsty or broody, and has had a completely normal childhood (all things considering), THANK GOD, but also, also
, the romance in the book is so subtle that it, refreshingly, doesn't intrude upon the main story. One extra star for this book, just for that.4.
I admit, I could have done with more info on the Archive, the Returns and the Narrows, how things work, how the Keepers, Librarians and the Crew are chosen, etc. etc., but did I mention it's a LIBRARY for the DEAD? (If you had the chance to see a loved one, who is long gone, again; remember how they looked, how their touch felt, again; spend just 5 minutes with them, again, even though you KNOW it's not exactly them but just an echo of who they used to be when they were alive, would you take it?)5.
The mystery of the Archive, the rouge Librarian, the source of all the chaos happening in the Narrows was neatly done. It kept me guessing till the end (I was half-right) but the final reveal did shock me - it was not even close to what I was expecting. I think I've said too much.6.
IT HAS A SEQUEL!!!!!!!!!!!!