‘The Unbound’ is book two in ‘The Archived’ duology by Victoria Schwab. This is one of her young adult books. As this is the review for the second book in a series there will be spoilers for book one, ‘The Archived’.
‘The Unbound’ follows Mackenzie Bishop, this time as she starts her new and very exclusive school. As in book one, Mackenzie is finding it hard to keep her two lives apart: her life as a Keeper and herding the Histories that have escaped the Archive back to their nice safe shelf. Plus her more normal life with her parents in their new life running a coffee shop on the ground floor of their new building. This time Mackenzie is also having to deal with being haunted by what happened in book one, some of these dreams are quite realistic and get her into all sorts of trouble with her new friends. Alongside this, people that Mackenzie bumps into in her normal life are going missing and she thinks she knows how, but has no clue as to why.
After what happened in book one, we get a lot more about Wes and Mackenzie and their newly budding romance. I’m personally not sure how I feel about them getting together as I think I prefer them as friends. I’m also not sure that the reasons behind why they’re getting together are all that healthy.
I really enjoyed the scenes in Mackenzie’s new school, I got definite Secret History vibes from the people she meets and the way the school is run. It just made me feel that something bad was going to happen at some point, just waiting for the other shoe to drop I guess. I did like that Mackenzie was finally able to have some nice friends, plus their characters were really entertaining.
I did feel sorry for Mackenzie as she was trying to work through the horrors of what happened in book one on very little sleep and almost no support from her friends or family. I know she had Wes but she was even trying not to let him know what was really going on with her. Then on the other hand, I found myself getting quite annoyed with her, trying to do everything on her own and failing so badly. I know why she did it as she felt she couldn’t trust people after what happened in book one but I still found her a little grating. I just found Mackenzie quite hard to empathise with as a character, so this did make the book drag a little for me. This is not to say it’s a bad book, it really isn’t, it but it just didn’t work well for me personally.
Overall, this book does end this duology quite tidily but there are some elements that could be used in some spin-off books or even more in the series. I, for one, would like to know more about the Librarians and how that part of the world worked. I did enjoy this book but, if I’m honest, I preferred book one and the duology but I’m glad it hasn’t been extended into a trilogy just yet.
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(pub: Hyperion/Hachette Books, 2014. 357 page hardback. Price: about £18.00 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-4231-7820-0)