Saturday, August 30, 2014

*Gizmos Book Reviews* The Unbound (The Archived #2) by Victoria Schwab


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?
*My Thoughts*

The Unbound picks up 3 weeks after the end of The Archived. 16-year old Keeper MacKenzie Bishop is back and this time around, she faces new challenges with attending a new school, meeting a new circle of friends, keeping her Keeper duties without shirking them or being altered by Agatha, dealing with her relationship with Wesley Ayers, and facing the possibility that she she can't trust her own mind to make the distinction between reality and dreams. 

When several different people disappear without a trace, Mac becomes aware of one similarity; they each made contact with MacKenzie. With that in mind, Mac decides to do her own investigation which puts strain on her relationship with Wesley, her superiors at the Archive who want to know what she is hiding, and her parents who truly believe she's losing touch with who she really is.

Even though it has been 3 weeks since Owen Clarke disappeared, and Mac was cleared of any wrong doing, she continues to have vivid dreams of Owen killing her. Could the Archives have messed with her mind, especially Agatha? Or, is Owen still alive, and hunting MacKenzie like a bargain hunter hunts for cheap deals? 

The Unbound is a total mind trip. You need to take reality and toss it out the window while reading this story and just let your imagination go along with what Schwab has written. For much of the story, we really don't know for sure if MacKenzie is losing her mind, or if the Archives scrambled her memories, or if Owen really truly is alive and determined to ensure that Mac suffers for her actions in the Archived. 

A whole lot rides on the readers ability to wade through the facts through MacKenzie's POV. One harsh fact is that being a Keeper, isn't all that cracked up to be, and there will be personal challenges along the way. I love the relationship between Mac and Roland, whereas Mac's relationship with the rest of the Archive is tenuous and strained at best.

I admit that Mac is an interesting character even though she does have a bad habit of leaving everyone, including Wesley, out of the loop in times of trouble. As a Keeper, she hunts down rogue Histories and also can read memories which comes in handy when searching for clues as to why people have disappeared. Mac has faced a boat load of challenges from her younger brother being killed, to her grandfathers death, to facing her own mortality, and nearly losing Wesley to Owen. In the face of danger, Mac puts up a brave face, or what one would call her armor to keep the bad things from consuming her entirely.

I do believe the one complaint most readers will have with The Unbound, is the lack of a real romance between Wesley and Mac. While I understand the reasoning for it, and presume that if there IS a third book, the couple's relationship will be explored further, I didn't miss it. I was more interested in the dynamics between the Crew and Mac, Mac and Agatha, Mac and her new friends, and Mac and her parents who actually act like parents, and not just drive by stiffs who care nothing about their remaining child.

When I read this on Goodreads, "Schwab has said on numerous occasions that she plans to write the third book, though she doesn't know the format it will be released in, but nothing else has been confirmed." I was kind of stunned and disappointed to learn that a third book hasn't been written yet.

We are also in an age where Publishers want the most out of their dollars, and therefore if sales are not what they expected, they abandon the series entirely and let readers know that they don't matter in the long run. Let's hope that Schwab is given the opportunity to write a final novel even if it comes out later in 2015. I think Mac and Wesley desire one last story.

Title - The Unbound (The Archived # 2)Author - Victoria SchwabPublished by HyperionReleased: January 28, 2014Genre: Young Adult ParanormalFormat: Hardcover 368 pages

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