Monday, December 30, 2013

Review: The Unbound by Victoria Schwab

Monday, December 30, 2013 with 20 comments
Title: The Unbound
Author: Victoria Schwab
Series: The Archived, book #2
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publication Date: January 28, 2014
Source: received from author/publisher via Netgalley
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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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.



I re-read The Archived prior to picking up my prized galley of The Unbound because, well...because of the Wesley Ayers. Among other things.  But, gawd, if I wasn't stoked  for the sequel before (and I was, I really was), then to say that giving that bad boy another read did unspeakable things to my determination to read The Unbound stat and without interruption would be an understatement.

I don't know about you, but I love an unreliable narrator.  And in this sequel, Mac becomes just such a narrator.  After the horrific things she survived in The Archived, girl is allowed a little mental breakdown, but when she starts to see Owen Chris Clarke, to feel his presence not only in her dreams but in her waking hours, too, something's gotta give, and for a good while, it looked like it was going to be Mac's sanity.  But it goes without saying that because of her questionable mental state, she might not be the most trustworthy source for information.  It might help if she'd actually talk to someone (ahem, Wesley) about what's troubling her, but you know she's not going to make it easy on herself.  Mac is tough as nails thanks to Da, and she will see this thing through, even if it kills her...but hopefully not.

And to add to the chaos of the situation is the fact that Victoria Schwab is boss as misdirection.  I had suspicions.  I had theories.  I felt at times that I was being pushed in one direction so that I'd get all turned around, like I were in those awful tunnels myself.  This sequel is all kinds of twisty, and I never knew who to trust, if anyone...well, except Wes.  I just can't not trust that guy.

Speaking of, if you were disappointed by the lack of swoons in the first book when it came to Wes and Mac, your patience will pay off in this book.  Though you should be warned, Mac's become a bit of a babe magnet as of late.  But fret not fellow Wesley fans, this is nothing compared to that awkward triangle-type thingy that happened in The Archived. Which, if I'm being perfectly honest, wasn't really there either since that was a case of Mac and OCC using each other for different purposes and really involved no feelings.  Anyway, back to my point:  lots of Wesley Ayers page time and you will see a side of him you've never seen before. And he's all kinds of adorbs, but that's to be expected.

New friends, new foes, old friends, old foes...this sequel isn't lacking for entertaining characters.  Roland is still a great counter to Mac's brash, impulsive personality.  I enjoyed the almost fatherly role he played in the first book, but he's an even more prominent ally now, which is perfect because Mac needs him now more than ever.  Even Mac's parents get more action in this sequel, though I can't say that it made me like them any better.  I empathize with their situation, but losing one child does not net you permission to be absent for your remaining offspring.  They seem to wake up a bit from their stupor and take notice, but it's all the wrong things they're seeing, and Mac can't say a word otherwise to dissuade them.

The interactions between Da and Mac still preface the chapters, but rather than being a present-tense memory where Mac is "speaking" to Da, this time around they actually feel like flashbacks, usually ones that precede some training aspect Mac is putting into action.  They still contain those nuggets of wisdom, but Mac is seeing the Archive and its actions in a different light, and she's starting to question what Da really knew and understood about the people he was working for.

Which is partly what makes this sequel so unbelievably good:  everything is in question and nothing can be taken for granted.  Also:  the resolution that should mollify all involved parties but likely will only result in inciting further rebellion...because it leaves room for more story, which I desperately need.  I could wax poetic about all the things I love about The Unbound, but there's only one thing that I'm disappointed in. And that's the fact that I can't find any info on a third book!  Grrr.

Check back for my stop on The Unbound Blog Tour later in January!


GIF it to me straight:

No words could adequately describe how amazing this sequel was.  Truly.




The Archived (The Archived, #1)The Unbound (The Archived, #2)
Gawds, I love those covers.  Eye porn for my book shelf.
About the author:

I am the product of a British mother, a Beverly Hills father, and a southern upbringing. Because of this, I have been known to say “tom-ah-toes”, “like”, and “y’all”. I also suffer from a wicked case of wanderlust, made worse by the fact that wandering is a good way to stir up stories. When I’m not haunting Paris streets or trudging up English hillsides, I’m usually tucked in the corner of a coffee shop, dreaming up monsters.

My first YA novel, THE NEAR WITCH, a dark original fairy tale, debuted with Disney*Hyperion in August 2011, and is now out in paperback.

My next YA novel, THE ARCHIVED, is the first book in a new supernatural series about a world where the dead are shelved like books, and it hits stores January 2013, also with Disney*Hyperion.

My first adult novel, VICIOUS, about two brilliant and highly disturbed pre-med students who set out to generate their own superpowers and end up mortal enemies, is out in hardcover from Tor September 2013.

I have more books coming out in 2014, but I’ll get to those later.

These days, when someone asks me what I do when I’m NOT writing, I just kind of laugh nervously. But in truth, on the odd occasion I’m not typing away, I’m probably baking cookies, or watching BBC shows, or wandering. (See how we came full circle, there?)

Find Victoria:

WebsiteTwitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest | Tumblr | YouTube



20 comments:

  1. Ooh, I've actually been eyeing this series for quite a while (Especially because of those covers!) Glad to hear that the second books still stays amazing! I always feel kinda hesitant when trying on a new series, but this one sounds like a definite must-read!
    And BIG YAY to the unpredictable plot and swoony boys! :D :D Feels like I should run straight to bookstore right now and buy The Archived! (Which might not be a good idea, since it's like 11 pm here ._.)

    Anyway, thanks for sharing, Jen!

    Neysa @ [B.O.O.K.L.I.F.E]

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  2. I LOVE WES. HE IS AMAZING. I'm glad that the conversations/flashback with Da are still present in this and that the characters are as great as ever. Gosh! I'm so excited to get my hands on a copy of this now.

    Great review!

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  3. AAAAHHH I just posted a comment and it disappeared. WHATTT???? Ugh This keeps happening to me. Let me try again…I'm excited that this book takes place more out in the world, as THE ARCHIVED was solely in the hotel/apartments and the archive. While I'm very nervous about Mac being called a "babe magnet," I will trust you and not worry too much about what that means. But if she acts like an idiot and hurts Wesley again with her loose lips, I'm done with her. I'm already a little worried she's going to annoy me if she doesn't SPEAK UP about what is happening to her (again), but I'm glad that Scwab did a good job at misdirection. Basically, I can't wait to discuss this story with you when I finally grab a copy.

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  4. Thanks for the review! The book covers are beautiful ♥♥♥ Added to my TBR list for sure!!

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