Apr 1, 2014

{Review} The Unbound by Victoria Schwab

Victoria Schwab
Pages: 368
Publisher: Hyperion
Format: Hardcover
Age Group: Young Adult
Date Published: January 28, 2014

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.

Okay, so y'all know how much I loved The Archived, right? Like, so much I got to help promote it for Victoria, right?? Well, The Unbound was EVEN BETTER. We got the intrigue of the Archive, but it was coupled with private school and more Wesley and friends and family and psychological problems, and I am one huge sucker for characters with psychological problems. It was so well written and brilliant and darling and I constantly wanted to give poor Mac a big hug (and also make out with Wesley). It was beautiful.

One of my favorite things about The Unbound is the dialogue. It's so real and funny. The way Mackenzie and Wesley talk is perfect. I love their banter and his ability to be both mean and charming at the same time. Like, you know he's not actually being mean, he's just being sarcastic and adorable. I love wit in men. Seriously. And I like the way the new characters were introduced. Cash and the gang were hilarious. Safia is literally my fave. I love the fact that she can't say anything nice. I feel like we'd totes be friends.

I am also a total sucker for private school books. Like uniforms and rich kids and weird-ass gym classes are so up my alley. I really liked that we got to know Wes and Mac outside of school in the first book, and then saw how they interacted in school. Mac's many dilemmas with dealing with her two lives are incredible to read about. There's this MASSIVE convergence of her Archive life and real life that is equally incredible and heartbreaking. AND WESLEY JUST WANTS TO BE THERE FOR HER BECAUSE HE'S A SWEETHEART. God, they just give me feels, man. Also, we get to see Wes and Mac spar and it's so cool. I love trained fighting. It's like sexy knowing that people can take care of themselves in a fight. 

On that note, Mackenzie proves that she can totally take care of herself several times. She can do anything she wants on her own, even though it sometimes isn't such a good idea. Basically, I want her to take Wesley everywhere with her, just in case, but that's not always what happens.

I love the relationships in this series. Nothing is one-dimensional and it's amazing. Like, Mac is still having a hard time with wanting to be with Wes because her life is complicated and she doesn't want to overcomplicate it with him. However, Victoria throws some more obsticles in their way and everything is murky in that department. There's no clear answer and you never know if they're going to be together or not. I love how nothing is a given. There are plot twists and turns that I never saw coming, and that's one of my favorite parts of reading, you know? Like, being surprised by a book is the coolest thing ever. You're reading and a lot of the time you can totally tell what's gonna happen next, but then something totally different happens and you're all *MIND BLOWN*. 

The world of The Archived sucks you in and makes it hard to leave. Before I was even done with The Unbound, I was ready to reread it. I love the darkness that surrounds Mac's life and the different struggles she faces. My favorite part of the book is her mental health issues after the events with Oliver in the first book. It's really well written and just perfect. I didn't think this series could get better than the first book, but The Unbound stepped it up a notch. 

I started this review over week ago, and had a really hard time finishing it. I love the book. I wanted to reread it immediately after I finished it. I just couldn't seem to get my thoughts out in this review. I'm basically just really upset because I heard that the third book in the series wasn't picked up by Hyperion and there's so much more I want to know about Mackenzie's story. I'm not ready to be done with the Archive. I'm not ready to let go of Mackenzie. I'm not ready to release Wesley. I need more. I'm just really sad that, as of yet, I won't get more. 

Also, even though there isn't going to be a next book (yet), there isn't a cliffhanger. So it's not like we don't get any closure (I know that might turn some people off from reading it). There are definitely some things that I would like to know in a third book, but it's not like Mac and Wes are trapped in a collapsed underground cave surrounded by demonic Histories at the end. Everything wraps up nicely, so don't let that deter you from reading it! And, hey, if we can get a big enough fanbase together, somebody other than Hyperion might pick up the rest of the series (remember when this happened for Wendy Higgins??) So, yeah. Something to think about.

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