The old adage “Never judge a book by its cover” could be slightly altered to apply to a recent article published by Variety. In this case, I say don’t judge a book by its misleading article.
Within the announcement that The Archived, the first of the Archived series by Victoria Schwab, was being optioned by CW to potentially be made into a show, was the inaccurate description of the book, leading to some pretty harsh backlash online. The article alludes to this new show as the next Supernatural, but more than that, misleads readers as to what the plot is actually about.
Fans of the show Supernatural are still reeling from two fandom related hits in the last year: the potential spin off Wayward Sisters wasn’t picked up for a full season, and the announcement that the 15th season would be the last. To hear that CW is considering optioning a show that so closely aligned with what Wayward Sisters intended to be felt like a blow to fans, and they weren’t quiet about it.
Unfortunately, it was all a bunch of hogwash. The Variety article is dangerously misleading, causing what should have been some very happy news to have a nasty tarnish for fans of The Archived series and Victoria Schwab.
Here at Nerds and Beyond, we pride ourselves on presenting accurate fandom news. We’re fans ourselves, and it’s our top priority. As such, I decided to try out The Archived for myself to see exactly what sort of show we were in store for.
And let me tell you, dear reader — we are in for a TREAT.
The book follows Mackenzie (or Mac, or Kenzie, or M, depending on who’s addressing her) following the tragic death of her younger brother Ben. She and her parents move into the Coronado, an old hotel turned apartments, in search of a fresh start. Mac’s mother is a spinning top, hoping to stay in constant motion to avoid harsh reality. Mac’s father turns away from it all, quietly residing in denial. But Mac? Mac has a job.
Mac is a Keeper.
It’s a job she inherited from her grandfather, Da, when she was entirely too young. But it keeps her sane now, with a task and a focus. Keepers are in charge of restoring Histories to the Archive.
You see, when you die, everything that you are (your mind, soul, essence) is stored away, and you become a History. Sometimes, Histories “wake up,” and it is the Keepers job to find them within the Narrows (the space between the real world and the Archive) and lead them back to where they belong. If they aren’t caught quickly, things can turn ugly as they “slip.” As Mac moves into the old space of the Coronado, the number of escaped Histories keeps increasing, day by day. She’s part hunter, part detective, and one hundred percent shrouded in lies she has to tell her family so they don’t know the sort of work she does.
Really, I just want to take a nap for her.
The beauty of this book is how it’s told with interspersed moments from the past between Mac and her grandfather, who spent the rest of his smokey, violent life teaching Mackenzie the ways of the Keepers: how to lie, how to fight, and how to keep herself safe. These moments, besides providing necessary backstory, are like juicy insights to a pre-Keeper Mackenzie — one filled with more faith and wonder than the Mac who has been through the deaths of her grandfather and brother. I particularly enjoyed how the book deals with grief, and how it sits differently between Mac and her parents.
Did I mention she can read people? When Mac slips off her simple gold ring — which acts as a shield — she can touch people, objects, even the floor of the Coronado and see into their memories, good and bad. It’s an incredible power, and one that is as useful as it is absolutely heart wrenching, when something as simple as a hug from your mother can physically hurt.
It’s rare for me to find a book that I’m so hooked into all at once, but I confess I absolutely inhaled this book and ordered the next one even before I sat down to write this out. It was a curious exercise to indulge in this book, only to remember afterward that the reason I did was because it might get made into a series. And folks, I am positively FILLED with glee. The way that this book could be translated to a television medium is so dynamic, and I couldn’t be more excited.
I hope you join me in supporting The Archived being turned into a series. If you can’t wait (or want to get a head start) you can find The Archived in stores now!