Review: THE UNBOUND by Victoria Schwab


THE UNBOUND (The Archived #2)
Victoria Schwab
Published: January 28th 2014 by Hyperion
Pages: 360

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?


“You can’t be two people. You end up being neither.”

One word: disappointing.

Okay, so the last 30% of the book were actually kind of interesting, but everything before that just left a bad taste in my mouth.

Mac was not in a good place when we saw her again in this book. She’d been having nightmares, was sleep deprived, and one could argue she had a mild case of PTSD. It was no wonder, really, after everything she went through in The Archived. But instead of asking for help from the people who proved to her in the last book that they care about her, she decided to bottle everything up and keep it all to herself.

There was absolutely no character development to speak of from Mac. She continued to keep secrets, to think she could do everything herself, to deny help from those who helped her in the past… It was like she learned nothing for the absolute mess that happened in the last book. Not one thing.

I mentioned in my review of The Archived that I disliked both Owen and Wesley and thought the romance aspect was unnecessary, which contributed a lot to my dislike of this book. Because Wesley was back, but now a completely different person than he was in The Archived, which was not an improvement at all. He was painted as a popular guy with girls fawning over him, but maintaining a mysterious aura about him so no one got too close. He also accused Mac of taking no interest in his life, but once Mac started asking questions about him, he brushed them off and didn’t share one bit of information about himself.

And once again we found ourselves close to love triangle territory. There was Wes and, this time, one of Wes’s friends: Cash. The only reason I won’t call this a love triangle is because Mac was very clear about not wanting a relationship during this time in her life. A good decision in the middle of a lot of bad ones, really.

Another thing: Mac seems to have full conversations with every male character in the book about various things, but when it comes to female characters… There was Amber, who Mac used to get information from; Saf, who for some reason disliked Mac; and Sako, a Crew who also hated Mac for no reason whatsoever. It seemed like every boy who crossed Mac’s path liked her, while every girl/woman was there to make her life difficult.

I think a bad decision was made when the author decided to bring Owen back, and it was done late in the book. At first Owen was presented as being one of Mac’s nightmares, but only after the halfway mark did we find out he was actually real. There was very little time to established him as the villain again, but now with a new goal.

It felt like the same thing all over again, especially when Owen presented Mac with something she desperately wanted, but without any evidence to indicate that it would work. Mac was left to question things again when she already knew Owen couldn’t be trusted.

She also decided to help him accomplish what he wanted, which was just so dumb, god. This entire book was like watching Mac make the worst possible choices (some which got people killed) because she thought she could handle it all by herself instead of talking to people who proved to her they would help her in whatever she needed. That made the blind faith some of the characters still had in her seem cheap and, well, dumb.

The way the Owen thing was resolved painted Mac as this genius with an incredible plan while Owen was left looking like an idiot. It was a huge contrast from the Owen we met in The Archived, who bid his time and worked Mac exactly like he wanted to, which made the entire thing pretty unbelievable. And how anyone would think Mac was mentally okay to continue her work as a Keeper after all of that is beyond me. Honestly.

The After pages were what made not 1 star The Unbound. In less than two pages the author managed to set up a very very interesting thread to the next book, which I’m curious to see progress. Especially now that Owen is really gone and it seems like Mac and Wes got their shit together.



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