Review: The Unbound by Victoria Schwab

the-unboundSource: Library
Series: The Archived #2 
Edition: Paperback, 360 Pages
 Young Adult Fantasy
Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository
Rating: 3/5

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.

It’s been years since I read The Archived, and in those years my reading tastes have shifted ever so slightly…unfortunately that means where I once loved The Archived I am now some what weary of it.

The Unbound started shortly after The Archived finished, and we pick up with Mac’s life getting more and more stressful as she deals with the aftermath of the insanity that nearly killed her before. She’s not sleeping right, she’s seeing things she shouldn’t and people are going missing. This book should have been an intense thrill ride, but it wasn’t. I loved the portions dealing with the Archive and the Narrows, and I really love the idea of Keepers and Histories. That part still stayed crisp and fresh, and that eerie feeling that I loved so much in the first one is still there.

So what’s different? I think I’m really tired of the relationship dynamic that happens in so many YA novels. One person is always self-sacrificing, one person always refuses to share any part of themselves but still wants the other person to share, parents are constantly flex their power over teens in ways that only get in the way or force the teens farther away…like this shouldn’t be the obvious result by now. The relationships were really obvious and so overdone, and having all of these obvious little troupes playing together in the same book is maddening. I just wanted to yell at them. What is the issue with people have conversations with each other? Actual conversations, where you say what needs to be said instead of whatever reading off lines of a script meant to add tension to everything. I’m tired of Wes as well. The mystery was intriguing before, but considering it’s now the end of a second book and I know only slightly more than I did at the end of book one I feel like the mystery is just tired. It’s not appealing and I don’t care who he is anymore, you can only hide a character behind a sheet for so long before I just write them off as some sort of plot device and write them off entirely.

That being said, I didn’t hate The Unbound…it’s still a good read and I think for those who really enjoyed the first one there is still a great chance you’ll enjoy this one too. Schwab has a gift for writing some really amazing passages. I just think there has been too much time between my reading of these books and some of that love really disappeared over the years.

3 star

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1 Response to Review: The Unbound by Victoria Schwab

  1. I’ve had this happen to me with a series. I’ve loved the first one, then taken a huge break in reading it and finding when I’ve gone back it’s just not doing it for me anymore. It’s a shame that this one didn’t work for you. I can understand your frustration about not really having the story in terms of the mystery moving forward especially since it’s kind of expected that it does move forward as the books progress. Great review!

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