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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This review originally appeared on my blog, There Were Books Involved.
There is something about Victoria Schwab’s Archived series that moves me on so many levels. The Archived and The Unbound are both incredibly, beautifully written, and they effortlessly pull on your emotions. They’re exciting, heart-wrenching, intense, and completely un-put-down-able, and they will give you feels like crazy. They’re just… utterly wonderful.
In this latest installment, Our Heroine, Mackenzie Bishop, is desperately trying to recover from the events that took place at the end of The Archived, but she’s suffering from horrible nightmares about the History she faced. This leads to long periods of time without sleep, which lead to blackouts… and worse. Mackenzie feels like her reality is starting to unravel. Add to that, the fact that people around her are disappearing, and Mac isn’t sure if she’s...
Victoria Schwab is one of those authors whose work somehow catches me by surprise every time. After three books and two short stories — all of which I rated between 4 and 5 stars, and most of which landed on my all-time-favorites list — you’d think I’d have learned what to expect from her by now. Once again, however, The Unbound has exceeded my expectations and left me reeling from (and I don’t say this lightly, because I do not use this phrase. Ever.) ALL THE FEELS.
What I loved about The Archived was the imagination, the world-building, and the storytelling. The whole idea of a person’s History being stored on a shelf in the Archives, maintained by Archive Librarians and Keepers? Brilliant, and fascinating to explore. I was happy to discover that there was much more of this whole concept in The Unbound. In addition, there were new themes, new characters, and new places that all piqued my interest.
“I am Mackenzie Bishop. I am a Keeper for the Archive and I am the one who goes bump in the night, not the one who slips. I am the girl of steel, and this is all a bad dream and I have to wake up. How many Keepers lose their minds?” (loc. 1905)
After the harrowing events that unfolded in the first book, Mackenzie finds herself dealing with PTSD, maintaining her Keeper job, and a new school. A turmoil of nightmares, blackouts and paranoia has Mackenzie feeling she’s been punted into the rabbit hole. People are disappearing and with the lines blurring between what’s real and what’s a dream, Mackenzie fights with trust and control. The source? The Archive.
“Keep your worlds apart, warned Da. Neat and even and solidly separate. But everything is messy now. My fear follows me into the Narrows. My nightmares follow me out.” (loc. 61)
I love how the book plays off of the PTSD that Mackenzie has after the scare with...
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