Mackenzie, chosen by her grandfather to take on the responsibility of being a Keeper now that he’s passed on, has the task of returning Histories that have escaped. Histories, or the dead, can become restless and she must return them to the Archives, a library where the dead rest on shelves like books. When her family moves into an old hotel, she discovers that the hotel is grounds for a lot of restless Histories and it seems that someone is disturbing, and altering, the memories of the dead.
I had no idea how much I would enjoy this book. I knew there was a lot of love for it and, to be honest, didn’t know a whole lot about the premise but I really fell into the story. I love ghost stories and Schwab has imagined such a vivid and intricate world that blends the line between the living and the dead. The use of library imagery, in the context of filing away the dead’s memories and histories like one would with books was an interesting one. Often it’s used in a more metaphorical sense but this was meant literally, and worked very well with the overall story.
Mackenzie’s ability to “read” the history of objects by touching them also posed an interesting plot line when she realizes an unsolved murder had taken place in her room years ago and nobody wants to talk about it. A ghost story AND a murder mystery? Seriously – how had I not read this until now?? Especially when I liked Schwab’s other novel Vicious so much too.
The protagonist is a complicated character, and it’s interesting to see her tough, hardened exterior with those around her come away at times. There’s a reason she is the way she is, and while I rolled my eyes at the boys that show up in her life who soften her a bit, I liked that she does open up a bit more and doesn’t maintain the guarded outlook on life throughout the whole book. The pacing was good and it kept me guessing and suspecting everyone to be the culprit the whole time, managing to catch me off guard on several of the reveals (which I find fantastic, as I tend to over-think and over-analyze mysteries as I read them and therefore ruin them for myself).
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ (4.5/5 stars)
Available: January 22, 2013
Goodreads | Book Depository | Chapters Indigo
Read as part of Brunch Book Club with Lost in a Great Book.
Wrap up discussion to follow in the coming weeks.