Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The Unbound by Victoria Schwab
Narrator: Piper Goodeve, Gabriel Vaughan
Series: The Archived #2
Published by Tantor Audio on May 14, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Length: 10 hours, 57 minutes
Amazon, Audible, Audiobook, Barnes & Noble
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.
Unbound is the second book of the Archived series and needs to be read after The Archived or you will have no idea what is happening. It starts up at the end of the summer as Mac is getting ready for her first day of school. This has a solid conclusion for the story arc, but I didn’t quite enjoy it as much as the first book due to the PTSD and High School elements.
Mac is going through a lot after the events of the first book and shoving Owen through a portal to the void. She sees him everywhere, is struggling with going into the narrows where he almost killed her and isn’t talking about it with anyone including Wesley. It is hard to tell if the events are of this book are all in her head or if someone is out to get her. People Mackenzie has interacted with recently have just gone missing and no one knows why. Mac thinks it has to do with her, but can’t prove anything and the Archive seems to be trying to make her fail. It feels as if most of the world is against her.
Oh, the High School of it. Catty girls, multiple boys vying for Mac’s attention, lying to parents, a school dance *shudder*. There isn’t necessarily a love triangle as an attempt to say ‘hey look here is another hot guy who Mac could be with, she doesn’t have to end up with Wesley, even though the reader knows even if Mac doesn’t why Wesley is the only real choice. It was just an extra complication I could have done without.
Mac seems to repeat herself a lot while thinking of Owen. I was a little bored with the constant reminders of him. Plus, I thought there was a little bit of a plot whole with how/why people were disappearing. Again, like so many other books if the MC would just talk to the right person so many things in this could have been avoided, but the Archive seems to live off of secrets and isolation so conversations to clear the air just didn’t happen as much as they could have.
The ending came out okay, even if it took awhile to get there and I was left feeling decent about the overall story and how almost everything played out. I think my issue was just we spent more time at High School than in the narrows or finding out more mysteries about the Archive itself, which was the magic of the first book in the series.
“It’s okay to not be okay,” she says. “When you’ve been through things—whatever those things are—and you don’t allow yourself to not be okay, then you only make it worse. Our problems will tear us apart if we try to ignore them. They demand attention because they need it.”
“Wes hits the table. “You broke into a crime scene without me?”
“Be glad, Wes, or we would have both been caught.”
“We’re a team, Mac. You don’t go committing crimes without your partner in crime Besides, if I’d been with you, we probably wouldn’t have been caught. I could have stood at the door and made wild bird sounds or something when the cops came back. And if we did get caught, our mugshots would look fabulous.”
Piper Goodeve is a good choice for this book. She carries off the age of the characters nicely and performs the audio well. I was able to listen to this at my usual 1.5x speed.
Listen to a clip: HERE
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