Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures 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. When her nightmares begin to creep into her waking hours, she starts to wonder if she’s truly 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. 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?
Title : The Unbound
Author : Victoria Schwab
Series : The Archived (book two)
Format : physical/hardback
Page Count : 346
Genre : YA fantasy
Publisher : Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date : January 28, 2014
Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★
Hollis’ 4 star review
THE UNBOUND picks up a few weeks after the end of book one and things are both better, for having survived and having come out ontop of the villain from the previous book, and also worse because surviving, and winning, doesn’t mean you come out unscathed. Family dynamics take an even messier turn over the course of this installment because of near misses and secrets and oh boy. I get the difficulties but these particular parentals were something. Additionally, Mackenzie is haunted both literally and figuratively by what happened to her but this time she doesn’t have the freedom of movement or time because summer break is over and school’s in session. It’s a new school, too, which means new routines and new faces but maybe one familiar one.
“I’m not ready for this.“
“You hunt down the animated records of the dead in your spare time. I’m pretty sure you can handle private school.“
I’m always a sucker for an ensemble and while Mackenzie’s new social group doesn’t take up too much page time they are still very present and very fun — and not without complicated histories (little h!) to navigate.
The walls between worlds used to feel like they were made of stone — heavy and impenetrable. These days, they feel too thin. The secrets, lies, and monsters bleed through, ruining the clean lines.
And it’s not the only thing to navigate. The Archive is coming down hard on her, in new ways, and while in some ways the villain from before is still present in this book, there’s also a new baddie : one of the top members of the Archive is out to discover what Mackenzie is hiding, by any means necessary, but all for the good of the Archive. I did kind of question this insane zeal but it does kind of fit with the the mixed bag of feelings about the Archive itself; it has an important role but not everyone involved is on the level.
And speaking of important role? Wesley. That’s all.
I don’t remember this feeling as open ended as it clearly is but in the years since I’ve read this at least we know (?) there are plans to continue this series. Eventually. Maybe. That’s reassuring. Plus I’d love to see where Schwab goes with these characters after all these years. I am definitely here for it. I’m not sure I liked this one as much as book one but as an overall arc? It works so well. Plus this just brought with it so much more Wesley and, as established, that’s all I need.
One more thing? Don’t forget to read this after you finish.