Book Review: The Unbound
By: Victoria Schwab
Published By: Hyperion
Publication Date: January 28, 2014
Page Count: 368
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Audience: Young Adult - Paranormal, Mystery
This is quickly becoming one of my favorite series. I love the creativity, characters, and romance in this one. I am fascinated by the Archive and how it operates. I loved finding out more about the Librarians, Keepers, and Crew in this one. While this series does have elements that are typical in YA, I think the intriguing world certainly sets it apart. The writing is also beautiful and haunting. I love when YA novels don't sacrifice good writing simply because the main character is a teenager.
Like with the first novel, Mackenzie has a lot of emotional baggage. She still hasn't fully recovered from her brother's death; I am not sure that her family can ever recover from such a tragedy, but her parents are making an attempt to put the pieces back together. Mackenzie's elusive nature and strange disappearances have both of her parents worried. They hope that the beginning of the school year will help Mackenzie get back to her new normal, but when you're a Keeper there is never a "normal". To make matters worse, Mackenzie is attending a private school with Wesley. She never expected to see him outside the halls of the Coronado or the Narrows. Things are super awkward between these two at first, but their friendship grows throughout the story. This is the stuff that true romance is made of - it is one of the most realistic, well written relationships in YA literature.
In addition, I also enjoyed meeting a new cast of characters that come into play at school. This allowed me to see Mackenzie interact with people outside of her family and the Archive. It also provided a chance for me to see Mackenzie in a new light. She doesn't let down her guard, but she does begin to let people befriend her.
The plot of this one also kept my mind working. It appeared that things were looking up for Mackenzie with the Archive at the end of the first book, but things begin to happen that put her job and her mind at risk. Agatha is back and she makes a truly creepy villain. She takes far too much pleasure in sorting through peoples' minds. I won't provide any specifics on the plot because I don't want to ruin the twists and turns, but I loved every minute. The last few chapters made my heart race.
The Unbound is a rare gem - it doesn't suffer from second novel syndrome. In some ways, it's even better than The Archived. I can only hope that there will be a third book.
One Last Gripe: I understand Mackenzie's inability to trust others, but I did find it frustrating that she wasn't more forthcoming with Wesley in parts.
My Favorite Thing About This Book: I love this world.
First Sentence: My body begs for sleep.
Favorite Character: Wesley
Least Favorite Character: Agatha
Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books. Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.
Last summer, Mackenzie Bishop, a Keeper tasked with stopping violent Histories from escaping the Archive, almost lost her life to one. Now, as she starts her junior year at Hyde School, she's struggling to get her life back. But moving on isn't easy -- not when her dreams are haunted by what happened. She knows the past is past, knows it cannot hurt her, but it feels so real, and when her nightmares begin to creep into her waking hours, she starts to wonder if she's really safe.
Meanwhile, people are vanishing without a trace, and the only thing they seem to have in common is Mackenzie. She's sure the Archive knows more than they are letting on, but before she can prove it, she becomes the prime suspect. And unless Mac can track down the real culprit, she'll lose everything, not only her role as Keeper, but her memories, and even her life. Can Mackenzie untangle the mystery before she herself unravels?
With stunning prose and a captivating mixture of action, romance, and horror, The Unbound delves into a richly imagined world where no choice is easy and love and loss feel like two sides of the same coin.