Book Review: Unbound

I haven’t been reading Victoria Schwab’s books for a year yet — 9 months from the look of it, but I have already commited to reading all of her books and everything she puts out in the future. And why, may you ask?

Because she seriously just keeps getting better. This was the second sequel book I’ve read of hers, and AGAIN, it’s just as good (or in this case better than) the first book. Which makes me REALLY excited to read Vengeful, the sequel to Vicious.

But this review is about Unbound, the second book in the Archived series. YES, I thought it was just a duology, which led to some disappointment at the ending. Good news — there’s another one coming! And this book didn’t end on a cliffhanger (or well, it was one that was resolved by a wonderful short story later on.)

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The Unbound

Victoria Schwab
Published 2014

Format: paperback
Genre: Young Adult, paranormal
Rating:  moose-mdmoose-mdmoose-mdmoose-md 3.75/5 Moose


Synopsis 

Mackenzie “Mac” Bishop: a sixteen-year-old girl who’s destiny in life is to be a Keeper, responsible for keeping Histories (ghosts) from escaping the Archive (final resting place). Unfortunately for her, one nearly killed her shortly after she moved to Colorado. Now onto of having to move on from her near death experience without anyone to talk to, she also has to start a brand new high private high school.

High school would be hard enough, but Mac is also dealing with nightmares, black outs, and now people are going missing, all of which saw Mac last. She’s convinced the Archive is involved somehow, though she’s not one hundred percent those missing aren’t her fault. With her sanity being threatened, her destiny is being held by a thin thread.

Characters

Mackenzie Bishop — The main character of the series, a junior in high school. She’s also one of the youngest Keepers (someone who can read Histories) to exist, taking over her grandfather’s role when she was twelve. Her family moved to Colorado after her brother passed away in order to get a fresh start. She shys away from human contact and friends. In the second book she is trying to deal with her emotional/mental state after Owen attacked her in book 1.

Wesley Ayers — Wes is the first Keeper Mac has met outside of her grandftather. He’s 17, charming, arrogant, slightly narcissistic, outgoing and “eccentric” (re: wears eyeliner and earings and spiked hair). This book shows how little anyone, especially Mac, knows Wes as she didn’t even realize Wes went to the same high school as her.  Mac and Wes seem convinced that they’ll make Crew together soon.

Roland — One of the head Librarians who has been put in charge of Mac. He’s a calming, patient force in Mac’s life, trusting her to make mistakes even after she didn’t tell him about Owen.

Owen — Owen shows up in nightmare form through out this book, a representation of how mentally unstable Mac is. He shows up any time Mac zones out even slightly, threatening her with a knife and chaos.

Rants, Raves and General Thoughts

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My reaction almost every time Wes showed up

So I was on the fence about Wes the first book, but I feel like I must say, I find Wes wonderful and need one like him now. I don’t particularly care for him as a love interest (I was team Roland until I realized it was creepy okay? It’s the Chucks. Damn Chucks get me every tim.) but given that Crew tends to be code for soulmates, it made sense that he’d shift into more of a love interest. Plus it’s been awhile since I’ve had a crush on a book character  (looking at my reading list of 2016, I think it’s been since my last book by Ms. Schwab?) And this crush definitely colored my love for this book.

As the book went on, I realized I relate to Mackenzie quite a bit — her internal vibe/aura being a thunder storm makes it even more relatable. I’m guessing mine sounds similar, though probably more like a tornado. (And Wes’s being metal music — swooooon.)

The pacing of this book is better than the first. It still jumps to the “past” (sometimes the past was a few days ago, not childhood) way too much for my liking, and I still found it a tad predictable, but it’s not as ridiculously slow. In true book 2 of a YA trilogy fashion, our lead heroine is quite broken after the events of book 1, but at least she’s not curled up in a ball doing nothing.

The ending is rushed quite a bit, again, but I was appeased by the knowledge of a third book. Maybe one where Wes/Mac make Crew?

I’ve always been good at math. It’s straightforward, black-and-white, right and wrong. Equations. Da thought of people as books to be read, but I’ve always thought of them more as formulas—full of variables, but always the sum of their parts. That’s what their noise is, really: all of a person’s components layered messily over one another. Thought and feeling and memory and all of it unorganized, until a person dies. Then it all gets compiled, straightened out into this linear thing, and you see exactly what the various parts add up to. What they equal.

Final Verdict

Before I read The Archived, I was toying with my own idea of what happens to people when they die. That thin idea has gone on the backshelf as this series does a perfectly wonderful job of handling the dead. If you haven’t read a Schwab book, don’t start with this series (Vicious or A Darker Shade of Magic. GO GO GO.) But if you’re already a fan, give this one a read. It’s still good, just not her top series.

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