Reviews

The Archive Undying by Emma Mieko Candon

bookfan1414's review against another edition

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adventurous challenging dark emotional funny mysterious reflective relaxing sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

5.0

_ash_mac's review

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Just not vibing with the book :/ thrown into the deep end a bit too much (usually I love that, but I think the world-building is a bit too complicated and we don’t get a lot of exposition in those critical first few chapters)
An incredible idea, but not for me :) 

theelizabethjoy's review

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challenging emotional funny hopeful mysterious slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.25

This was so very difficult for me to comprehend at times, I had to go back through and reread some of it because I would finish a chapter and just go "huh". With that said, it was very good, ended much happier than I anticipated. Definitely a good story but be prepared. 

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hexillith's review

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adventurous challenging emotional mysterious reflective slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

seraphis's review against another edition

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challenging dark emotional mysterious reflective sad tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

Give this book respect. It is dense, challenging, and you will need to be okay eith not fully undestanding whats happenning on first read. It also really needs a glossary but doesnt have one so take ur time. Recommend a physical read instead of audio but both are doable.

acfacci's review

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adventurous challenging dark emotional funny mysterious reflective sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.5

vengefuldime's review

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3.0

Forget about Harrow the Ninth being confusing! This was a unique struggle. Sometimes I will see negative reviews labeling a confusing book that intrigue me, and direct me to a book I will actually end up liking. Sometimes, though, it doesn’t work out. What makes me disappointed in this book are really the high expectations I had coming into it. Artificial intelligences that are perceived as/effectively are gods? A combination of the artificial and nature, as well as comparisons to loved works? A protagonist that is unable to die? (The way that Sunai “heals” and resurrects is always going to be an aspect that draws me into a story- it is constantly difficult and narratively interesting.) I have been so excited to read it. I was convinced it would be able to slot into my list of absolute favorites when I could actually read it. As little bonuses, the cover is beautiful, and it is a queer sci-fi that is heavy on plot. Being the start to a series made it seem even more perfect… but I felt uneasy as I read through the earlier chapters.

I want to point out the good first, as I still do think it does several things very well. I am fascinated by its exploration of identity through the body, perspective, and memory. Who are you when your body is different? When your mind is shared? When you have more than one self, or when lines are blurred? When you cannot go back to who you have been? When you cannot, or do not want to, remember all you have experienced? How do lies shape you? What counts as your body, even? The worldbuilding finally feels actually lived-in to me, with the details and people existing solidly within a vibrant world. The relationships between gods and people vary, and contribute to complex situations. There is so much left unspoken, but it comes across as natural. There is great description, especially in body horror. They do some fucked up things at the end for sure. It is easy to connect to the emotions detailed, which are often supported by the text rather than simply stating. The level of involvement and interest in the characters is made more authentic in part because of the way their internal narration is told. I like Jin and Imaru, although I didn’t expect it from either at first.

Now, the unfortunate. I just couldn’t understand. I was not capable. I usually feel as if I am a lover of books that expertly dance around the true details right under the surface, laying hints and obfuscating them before the final epiphany. I may not understand, but I am trying! I am there feeling it out, noticing threads but unable to create a clear meaning without the next pieces of information- but being enthralled, involved, and then finding satisfaction with knowledge and my own efforts. I could not find that here. I was confused on the set-up for the world for a long time. I had difficulty understanding what was happening, but that wasn’t anything I hadn’t worked through before. About halfway through I kind of understood what was happening and why, but it wasn’t until maybe the last third that I felt any kind of pull into the book. I am positive that rereading would be much easier that this first time, but I am unsure when I will want to do that at this moment. I know that it is intended to be confusing, but I felt too far removed from any understanding to be truly involved. I was not experiencing while I read, because I didn’t know where to start. The longer it didn’t click, the less connected I could even try to be. The ability to be a part of emotional beats or plot relevancy was taken from me by that confusion and lack of understanding.

While it was an interesting aspect initially to have multiple interweaving points of view, as the book progressed their distinctions felt less and less noticeable. And maybe that’s the point, but it didn’t feel important. It felt like there was no point in having the perspectives if the same voice was going to be used. The voice worked, but… Again, interesting themes of identity, but frustrating. I do wish Veyadi had died. It almost happened a couple times, but not really. I do think his and Sunai’s relationship ended up much more interesting than I thought it would be, but I also ended up disappointed. I think he was such a frustrating character for me because I could only see the complicated connection/conflict, and felt nothing at all for their complicated connection/love. This is a romantic book without having a romantic subplot, and their integration was extremely dependent on that sense of connection. I am very frustrated that I never understood, even a little bit, WHY. It is hugely, vitally important, and I could not know why it was happening. I was definitely told that it was, but I have never been so out of the loop on what I was being told to feel. By the end, it was way too late for me to be in the right space to feel catharsis. No understanding, no opening of a new possibility, and no satisfying ending were available to me. I had given up long before, because I felt I had already gotten too far in, but I felt both relieved and disappointed to finally end my time with The Archive Undying.

tbaer's review

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5.0

This is a challenging read, particularly at the end. I'd argue it adds rather than detracts from the story. Language fails to capture so much of human experience. Seems fitting, at least to me, that the further from the "normal" we venture, the more this failure becomes apparent. So I think of the confusion as congruent.

pagesandgloom's review

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emotional mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

8ekka's review against another edition

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adventurous challenging mysterious tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

2.75