Review: Arch-Conspirator by Veronica Roth


The planet outside of the last remaining city on earth is barren and desolate. The continued existence of humanity hinges on the preservation of the Archive, which houses the genetic material of the deceased. Despite the significance of entering the Archive, Antigone cannot find joy in it, as her parents were murdered, and her father’s throne now lies vacant. As her uncle Kreon seizes the opportunity to claim the throne, Antigone is consumed with anger. Although he extends an invitation for Antigone and her siblings to reside in his luxurious mansion, Antigone recognizes the truth behind the facade – it is nothing more than a gilded prison, where she is both a guest and a captive.


This beautifully written novella by Veronica Roth is a modern adaptation of the classical Greek tragedy Antigone, set in a dystopian future where individuals’ genetic material, known as ichor, is preserved in The Archive after their death for later revival. Antigone and her siblings are viewed as soulless abnormalities by society, as their conception was not through genetic engineering for optimal results. Despite this, their existence carries weight and authority as they are the living offspring of the deceased king and queen.

While not a complete letdown, it struggled to fully capture the essence of the original play in just a little over one hundred pages. The tightly packed concept left little room for the story to develop organically, resulting in a rushed and lackluster experience for the reader. In my opinion, the story would have been more effective if it focused on Antigone’s perspective exclusively and had more depth to it. The inclusion of multiple perspectives diluted the impact of the story, and I believe it would have been stronger if the author had taken the time to flesh out Antigone’s character and her struggles in more detail.

Although this novella is timely with the current tumultuous political setting in our country regarding women’s rights at the moment, it failed to add anything new to the narrative. However I did enjoy reading this novella and would recommend it to others.


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