Stars: 4 out of 5
Another book scratched off my oh so long TBR list. This one has been languishing on it since 2014.
I really liked it. The world is interesting. The existence of an Archive where all the memories of people who die are kept is fascinating. Though I would like to know who created it and for what purpose. Since technically, the Histories just kind of stay there and should never “wake up”, and should never escape into the Outer world. Yet they do, and they go bad every single time. I wonder why?
And I definitely could relate to Mac’s pain and her struggle to come to terms with Ben’s death. I understand that she blames herself, no matter how absurd that is. I think for her the grief of loosing her little brother compounded with the grief of loosing her grandfather, with whom she was a lot closer than with her parents. Grief can make you do some stupid things. I also understand how having to keep her job as a Keeper secret isn’t exactly conductive to creating strong friendships. Honestly, I don’t envy Mac her life. It’s lonely, having to lie to everyone all the time. Having to put on a mask for others and never ever show them your real self.
All in all, I was also pretty okay with our protagonist, though I question her grandfather’s decision to pass his mantle of Keeper to an 11 year old child. This is not just irresponsible, its downright cruel. Not to mention that a child, at least in normal family, would not have the freedom of movement necessary to do this job. Are you seriously telling me that Mac’s been sneaking out of the house at all kinds of hours of day and night and coming home with cuts and bruises, and nobody noticed? Her parents didn’t sound the alarm? Her teachers didn’t suspect child abuse and call child protective services?
I understand that they might pay less attention to Mac after the tragedy that struck them with Ben, locked in their own grief as they are, but she’s been a Keeper for 4 years before then. Are you telling me that her parents never called her on her lies? Never questioned why she is hurt so often? That was the thing that was the hardest to suspend my disbelief on.
This book also suffers from the usual YA trope where the characters simply don’t talk to each other about important things. A lot of the problems Mac had to deal with were created or made worse by her unwillingness to confide in others. She could have told Wesley about what’s happening in the Archives. He isn’t stupid. He’d figured out that the uptick in woken Histories wasn’t normal. She could have told him about Owen and asked for his help. Instead, she chose to lie and stubbornly try to deal with the situation on her own. Well, we know how that turned out.
We also have the incompetent adults trope that made me roll my eyes a couple times while reading this book. It’s so old and tired that it gives me the hives now. It would honestly make for a much better story if the adults and young adults worked together. Then again, we might not even have a story, because if Mac’s parents paid enough attention to her, she wouldn’t be a Keeper, because she would have been grounded the first time she’d snuck out at night and came back with bruises and knife marks. Oh, and in therapy.
But all in all, I actually really enjoyed the story while I read it, and all those questions didn’t really bother me until AFTER I had finished the book and started thinking about it. And I will definitely read the next book in the series to see if we get more answers about the Archives.