Saturday, February 1, 2014

Review: The Unbound by Victoria Schwab

The Unbound

Author: Victoria Schwab
Release: January 28th 2014
Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, Science Fiction, YA
#2 in the Archived trilogy
Series: The Archived (#1), The Returned (#3)


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.


Why is it that ever since I finished The Near Witch, every time I open one of Schwab's books, I have this uncontrollable surge of fear and dread that whispers: "What if this is the one book of hers I'm not going to like?"

And every single time afterwards, I chide myself, laugh about the silly fears, because that's all they are. Because Schwab always delivers. I can count on her not to disappoint me, and I'm really glad. 

Hm, where to start? I'll admit that I whilst I was intrigued by Mackenzie's newly found struggles to deal with the trauma and the nightmares that have been troubling her ever since the events of last book, I did get annoyed with her melodrama after a little while. Her hallucinations and nightmares got old some time around page 200, but just then, it all took a turn around ahaha just kidding and got terrific and horrifying. There was tension, because the whole thing just screamed dangerous and Mackenzie started kicking ass again. I mean, up until then, she still has been, but now she was back to her old self again. And still she's made some impressive progress throughout the novel, especially concerning her feelings towards the whole world and how she ties into all of it, whereas before, she's feared taking off her ring and coming into contact with people, now she's starting to question if it's truly that bad. Not to mention the revelations she draws about her relationships with her parents and Wesley, which I totally approved of.

Wesley was as great as ever, I daresay even that he was better in this novel. Mackenzie hides a lot from him and tries to keep him out of trouble, which puts him a bit on the back burner for a lot of the novel, but when he was around and not only waving hi he was great. I love him now more than ever. 

Then we get a few new characters: Amber, Dallas and Eric, to name some, and man, they were awesome. Especially Dallas was a badass therapist, and turned out to have a lot more depth than I would have expected her to have. Amber, on the other hand, didn't have any involvement with the Archive whatsoever, which made it all the more special that she stood out the way she did. I liked her and her camaraderie with Mac, they truly felt like a good team, like they could have a very nice friendship. The same goes for Safia, by the way, whom I also really liked because she was extremely interesting, and I really want to get to know her better. So far, though, her dynamics with Mac were great and I'd love to see them interact more. Cash kind of fell through, simply acting as a guy hopelessly in love with Mackenzie, but oh well, I didn't mind him though, which still says a lot. Schwab can really write characters, characters that you can't help but let into your heart, whether you'll remember them with like or dislike doesn't matter.

Plot was, like I said, at times a little slow, but I never had the urge to just put the book away or anything, I just read and read and ... read. And obviously, nearing the last 150 pages, there is a lot of suspension and all that, so it definitely won't disappoint concerning action and things happening. There's a nice balance of plot, and driving it forwards, as well as characters and their developments.

Of course, Schwab's writing was as lovely as ever. Of course. I do have to say, however, that it wasn't quite as melodic as in all of her other novels, but I'm still more than content with it. Some great quotes here and there that I'll relish until I can read more of her beautiful writing.

Most of all, I loved the ending because it's an open one, meaning: There's probably, hopefully, going to be another book. I mean, seriously, after that ending, there has to be. Right? In any way, I really hope so, because I was fearing this would be the last I'd get to see of all these characters, since there's no sources saying anything about a third book, but now my nerves are a little soothed. I honestly can't imagine it just suddenly ending here. So, am I in for a possible third installment? You bet your sweet ass I am.

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