Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Unbound by Victoria Schwab

Title: The Unbound (The Archived #2)
Author: Victoria Schwab
Released January 28, 2014
Bought on Kindle
Rating: 4.5/5


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 (Summary from Goodreads).

If you read the first book, I'll try not spoil anything :)

First of all, Wesley Ayers. Bae.  Yet another fictional character that gives me unrealistic expectations of men.  He's just such a supportive character to Mackenzie, even though she "friendzoned" him in the first book.

Also, I'd say there's some good messages about those who struggle with depression or anxiety in this book. Mackenzie has gone through a LOT.  Not only does she still deal with the deaths of her grandfather and little brother, but she is also suffering from some form of PTSD after the crazy ending of The Archived. When the book starts, we find out that Mackenzie has been suffering from very realistic nightmares about Owen, who tried to kill her in the previous book.  Since she hasn't been getting much sleep, she even has these nightmares during school.  Not only that, but Mackenzie has blacked out a couple times, acting without knowing what she's doing.

I've never experienced a serious depression, but I think a lot of people with depression tend to bottle in their inner struggle for fear of burdening others.  Similarly, Mackenzie bottles all of this in, even Wesley, out of fear for his safety.  When all this stress puts her over the edge, Wesley hugs her and holds her and offers her help in any way he can. What I liked about The Unbound was that a boy wasn't used to solve a girl's depression, and vice versa.  Wesley was there simply as a friend in Mackenzie's time of need.

As for the plot, there really was an air of mystery.  I was genuinely wondering how these characters were going missing, and why they connected to Mackenzie.  Once again, the prose was great and set the tone for Mackenzie's character.  Like I said in my review for The Archived, I don't typically like books with characters that are "depressing" (for lack of a better word) as one would typically see in a dystopian type of novel, but the writing connected me to Mackenzie and her struggles. 

Also, that ending had a ton of action! My jaw was dropped and I was on the edge of my seat the whole time.  I also enjoyed the new characters that Mackenzie went to school with, even Cash, who added a little romantic tension.  I wouldn't call it a love triangle, since there is no way in hell that Mackenzie would end up with a normal dude.  He was more of a character that Mackenzie would have ended up with if she was a normal girl, not a Keeper.

There's a third book coming out supposedly next year, but it looks like it will be a long way off since there's not even a cover photo yet on Goodreads!  It would be very interesting if Mackenzie and Wesley became Crew in the next one!

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