The Unbound (The Archived #2)

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5.0 (2)
 
5.0 (2)
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The Unbound (The Archived #2)
Age Range
12+
Release Date
January 28, 2014
ISBN
978-1423178200
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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.

Editor reviews

2 reviews

The Best Kind of Sequel
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
I was excited to pick up the sequel in The Archived series. The Archived was one of those books that stuck with me long after I closed the book and I was looking forward to whatever Victoria Schwab had in store for readers in The Unbound.

What I loved: Victoria Schwab has a way of entangling me in her rich and vivid world-building and I find myself reading for hours without noticing any time has gone by. The Unbound is just the right amount of suspense and scary for me. The story flows effortlessly through Mackenzie Bishop's crazy world. Readers will get a bigger glimpse into who Mackenzie is and the pain and struggles she feels on a daily basis.

Mackenzie impresses me in so many ways--the biggest way is probably her determination. She's faced with many challenges and meets each one head on. Mackenzie is great on her own but throw in Wesley Ayers and these two make quite the team. Wesley and Mackenzie compliment each other's strengths and don't capitalize on their weaknesses. These two have a special relationship and have each other's best interests at heart.

The Unbound is the best kind of sequel. The story picks up right where The Archived left off. There is never any down time and every event and scene is important and vital to the outcome of the story. The ending is satisfying but devoted readers will most certainly want more Mackenzie and Wesley stories. Who wouldn't want to know about mysterious Wesley?

What left me wanting more: Nothing, this hit the mark in every possible way.

Final Verdict: You won't regret diving into the world of The Archived.
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Everything I want and love in a sequel
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
I expect a lot from sequels. I need them remind me of everything I enjoyed in the first book, but not retread old ground. I need them to give me new likable characters, while allowing me to grow closer to characters I’ve already met. I need the events of the previous books to have consequences, and for the actions of the characters to have repercussions. I need higher stakes, deeper world-building, tighter plots, and more satisfying resolutions. Whether it’s the second or the third or the tenth book in a series, I need each sequel to continue upping its game to keep me invested in the series. It’s a tall order that is hard to fill, which is why I often wind up settling for less.

I’m pleased to report that no settling was necessary in the case of The Unbound. The narrative picks up shortly after the events of The Archived, with heroine Mackenzie Bishop coping with the trauma of a betrayal that nearly killed her, and the fallout of the decisions she made as a result. In the meantime, her world is broadened by the start of the school year. The story is no longer confined to the halls of the Narrows and the rooms of the hotel-turned-apartment-building that Mackenzie calls home. Now she has to deal with a new school and new friends, and must work constantly to keep the ghosts of her past and the demons in her head quiet — while still proving to the Archive that she is a competent Keeper.

Fortunately, she’s not alone. Guyliner-sporting co-Keeper Wesley Ayers is once again by Mackenzie’s side, livening up her life with sass and sarcasm while also providing the grounding and support that only someone who knows her secrets can. Their relationship grows and deepens as it is tested by both the trials of high school and the string of disappearances that seem tied to Mackenzie. His humor and openness provide a much-needed balance to Mackenzie’s seriousness and secretiveness. Mackenzie also makes some friends at school, and it’s fun to see her interact with people her own age who don’t share knowledge of the Archive.

The new setting of Hyde School gives The Unbound a freshness that is much appreciated after the purposefully claustrophobic confines of The Archived. With the move into the world outside the hotel, the scope becomes greater and the stakes feel higher. It’s interesting how the broadened environment plays with the narrowing walls of Mackenzie’s mind, as no matter where she goes, she can’t escape the haunting memories of the History who terrorized her. He even plagues her dreams, which results in nearly crippling insomnia and the concern that she may be suffering a break from reality. Mackenzie’s struggles are compounded by the disappearances happening around her, as the lines between reality and the Archived continue to muddle. It’s a brilliant balance of internal versus external conflict, with both plotlines weaving together and building on each other as they head toward a conclusion that is both intellectually and emotionally satisfying.

As always, Victoria’s prose is lovely, a perfect blend of poetry and suspense. It gives the book a visceral quality that makes it easy to picture and hard to put down. There are some authors who have the gift of stories and some who have the gift of words. It’s clear in Victoria’s writing that she has both. Not only are the tales she crafts smart and imaginative and original, but the ways in which she tells them are beautiful.

The Unbound is everything I wanted in a sequel to The Archived. More mystery. More suspense. A greater sense of purpose and consequence and world. Deeper relationships. Higher stakes. And, of course, more Wesley Ayers. If you read The Archived and are wondering if you should pick up the sequel, wonder no more. Go forth, read, and enjoy.
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User reviews

2 reviews

Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0  (2)
Characters 
 
5.0  (2)
Writing Style 
 
5.0  (2)
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Love
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Mackenzie is having a bit of trouble readjusting to life after Owen. On top of being unable to sleep because Owen haunts her nightmares, people around Mackenzie are disappearing. She is convinced it has something to do with the Archive - somebody who thinks Agatha's ruling at the end of The Archive wasn't exactly fair.

Victoria widens our cast of characters in The Unbound when Mackenzie goes to school. She is quickly inducted to The Court, and although we only see these individuals while she is at school, I grew rather fond of them. They give Mackenzie that sense of normal that part of her longs for, a friendship that she experienced with Lyndsy, where she isn't worried about Histories and the rules of the Archive.

Of course, there are also my two favorite characters - Wesley and Roland. I smile when Mackenzie interacts with both of them and I love the relationship she has with each of them. Wesley was already beyond swoon-worthy but he surpasses even that during The Unbound. Roland still continues to fight for and care for Mackenzie like the perfect elder brother/father figure that she desperately needs. (I'm not saying her father is not there, because he is and he loves her deeply, but he cannot be there for her in the way she needs when it comes to the Archive.)

Mackenzie becomes her own person throughout the course of The Unbound. She still reflects on the things Da told her, but she also starts thinking for herself. She worries she is faltering in the eyes of the Archive (aka Agatha) and that they'll wipe her memory and leave her with nothing but holes. Despite the terrifying dreams and disappearing people around her, she is determined to find out what is happening to her and why. I do wish she would confide in Wesley more, but at the same time she wants to protect him - especially after the events at the end of The Archive. However, he quickly informs her that "I care about you, Mackenzie, and because of that, it's never not going to be my fight."

This book makes me sad. Not because it was bad or because the content itself is sad, but because this amazing story followed it's amazing predecessor and now . . . it's in limbo. This series needs a finale. It needs a third book. The ending of this one? Powerful. And power like this cannot be stopped! Plus, I need me just a bit more Wesley in my life.
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Better Than Book One
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Amazing, creepy read. It somehow managed to beat out the first book in the series!
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