The Unbound

The Unbound

Title: The Unbound

Author: Victoria Schwab

Series: The Archived, #2

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Release Date: January 28th 2014


Five Stars

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.

– Blurb courtesy of

This review may contain spoilers for previous book(s) in the series.

My Thoughts On…

…The Plot

“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.”

Despite sending Owen into a void, a place of nothingness where it is impossible to return from, Mackenzie can’t put what happened behind her. She has terrible nightmares about what happened on the roof of the Coronado; nightmares where Owen haunts her, hurts her, makes her question herself as a Keeper. On top of not getting more than three hours sleep a night Mackenzie finds herself struggling to keep a low profile around Agatha, afraid her increasing nightmares and lack of sleep could lead to her being tried as unfit.

After everything she learnt at the end of the first book, the truth behind the Librarians and what the Archive really is, Mackenzie is being closely watched by Agatha who seems to be searching for any sign of weakness. But it’s not just Agatha Mackenzie should be wary around. With people going missing in the city Mackenzie quickly makes and starling connection between all the victims, and after an altercation in the home of the first victim Mackenzie’s parents crack down, tired of her lies and the mess she had gotten into.

“I am not afraid of nightmares, because mine came true and I lived through them.”

Mackenzie needs to keep a low profile to keep her parents off her back, but with Agatha breathing down her neck, the Histories slowly building up in her territory, and the Crew watching her every move she needs help. However as the nightmares of Owen become more and more real, more difficult to distinguish from real life, is there anyone she can trust enough to help her?

The Unbound is a book that deals largely in the consequences of the actions that were taken in the first book; not just in terms of Agatha assessing Mackenzie, judging whether she is fit to remain a Keeper, but in terms of everything Mackenzie faced when she went against Owen and in terms of the lies she has told her parents over the years. It seems like everything is falling down around Mackenzie and no matter how hard she tries she can’t hold everything together.

…The Characters

“The funny thing about armour is that it doesn’t just keep other people out. It keeps us in. We build it up around us, not realizing that we’re trapping ourselves.”

Mackenzie learnt a lot in the first book she never should have been privilege to, and that knowledge weighs on her in this book. She struggles with the truth behind the Archive and the more she struggles the more her mind seems to fall on Owen.

The dreams she has are horrific, scenes of what could have happened if things with Owen had turned sour before she could send him away, and she struggles in silence. Mackenzie is determined to present a mask of wellness, she refuses to let anyone in close enough to see that she’s falling apart, determined to protect the people she cares about after Owen nearly tore them apart.

“Da used to say that lies were easy, but trust was hard. Trust is like faith: it can turn people into believers, but every time it’s lost, trust becomes harder and harder to win back.”

While Mackenzie’s family was shattered in the first book, still grieving Ben to be much of a proper family, in this book her parents seem to realise they still have one child left who needs their help. After losing Ben they don’t want to lose Mackenzie as well, and when Mackenzie finds herself in trouble they come down on her hard; finally calling her out for the lies she’s told and the fact that she’s turning into Da.

“Caring about someone is scary, Mac. I know. Especially when you’ve lost people. It’s easy to think it’s not worth it. It’s easy to think life will hurt less if you don’t. But it’s not life unless you care about it.”

In this book we learn more about Wesley. As Mackenzie started school we see another side to Wesley; his schoolmates may not know about his career as a Keeper but they are still open with him in a way people aren’t with Mackenzie. Wesley manages to deflect questions about himself really well, people open up to him and never seem to realise he doesn’t open up much in return.

Despite the two of them being partners, hoping to be Crew one day, Mackenzie still keeps a wall between her and Wesley. She seems determined to believe she’ll hurt him one day like she did when Owen stabbed him after she gave him the key to escape. She pushes him away and when she needs help the most she still refuses to allow Wesley in. Mackenzie is not in a good place in this book and while she doesn’t reveal everything Wesley can see some of what is happened to her. He can’t make her open up to him but he is there to support her no matter where her decisions lead her.

The Unbound seems like a much more dangerous book than The Archived was. The situations Mackenzie and Wesley find themselves facing are more deadly and it’s not just the outside they have to worry about but inside the Archive as well. The Unbound was an incredibly fast-paced read and I’m hoping, eventually, we get a third book in the series. It’s in the works but who know when it’ll be released.

What did you think of The Unbound? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.

21 thoughts on “The Unbound

    1. I think it is supposed to be a trilogy, but at the moment there’s no word on when the third book will be released, or even if one will. It’s a great book though, and so far a great series, I hope you really enjoy it Analee. Thanks! 😀 ❤


  1. I have yet to read this one and I have it on my shelf! I read The Archived and LOVED IT so I don’t know what’s been taking me so long to read this one but after reading your review, I know that I HAVE TO HAVE TO HAVE TO read it! I am super excited to get into it =)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh snap, I didn’t know she planned on continuing this series! :O It’s like Vicious! She is planning on doing a sequel to it or something right? Not like I’m in a hurry for it to release… Still have to read that too.. Gosh.. 😛 Love the sound of a much more danger-filled sequel. Great review, Beth!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well I really hope she does. I wouldn’t say The Unbound ended on a cliffhanger but it was definitely open for another book. Yep there’s a sequel for Vicious, and right now I just need more releases from her.
      This was definitely that, it seemed like there was so much more at stake. Thanks Lashaan! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The Unbound was such an amazing book! I enjoyed it even more than the first book, which I didn’t expect to happen. And I agree, it felt so much more dangerous than the first book. I’m really hoping that there will be a third book for this series in the future! 😀 I need more of these characters and this world! Also, I loved the fact that we got to see a lot more of Wesley in this second book, especially since he was my favourite character from the first one. Great review Beth! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Honestly I don’t think I could choose between The Archived and The Unbound for which was my favourite, they were both really good and in different ways I think as well.
      I’m definitely keeping my fingers crossed for a third book, I want more from Mackenzie and Wesley and more from the Narrows and all the characters really. Wesley is my favourite character as well, I’d love to see more of him in book three!
      Thanks so much Anna. 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m so glad you enjoyed the second book just as much as the first! This sounds like a really fast-paced and thrilling read. It’s always wonderful when an author manages to maintain a powerful story throughout the series installments. I also love it when characters are given different dimensions and are allowed to grow as individuals. This sounds fantastic. Let’s hope for that third book! Lovely review, Beth!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah this is a series that definitely doesn’t suffer from second book syndrome. The Unbound is just as amazing and I didn’t want to put it down. The story was great but the characters even more so. You got to see the consequences of what happened in the first book which I think is something you don’t always see as much in YA books you know?
      I’m keeping my fingers crossed the third book will be released soon. Thanks Azia! 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, we don’t. Usually authors try to gloss over the consequences, just to move the story along quicker than necessary. So, it’s good that she does that. Although, it IS V.E. Schwab and she seems pretty good at following up on her characters’ actions (i.e. Shades of Magic)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I always think that makes things less real. It’s not always that I like seeing my favourite characters suffer but when they go through what they do and come out unscathed it just feels unrealistic. Yes V.E. Schwab is great at character development, it’s great to see how they change throughout the series she writes. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Very true! I know it’s fantasy but it’s nice to have characters we can relate with on a basic level of feeling and shared experience. V.E. Schwab simply excels in creating believable and relatable characters. Can’t wait to read more of her works! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Exactly, I always think character development is the most important part of a book because even if it is a fantasy novel the characters are who we connect with, and we need to be able to connect with them. 🙂
        Me neither, I need her to release more books!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. We definitely need another book! I saw mention of it and was like WHAAAAAAAAAAT? because I had no idea! I’m sooo looking forward to it though; hopefully Schwab gets around to it! I feel like I liked The Unbound more, in terms of plot, but I felt like other parts lacked something that The Archived had. I don’t know. XD I LOOOOOOVE how Wes’ and Mac’s relationship came together at the end! I was rooting for them the whole time. ❤ ❤ Lovely review, Beth! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh we really really do, after re-reading it it’s almost like I remembered how much of a cliffhanger it seems to end on and now I can’t wait for the last book although we still have like no information on it.
      Hopefully soon though. I need to know how things go next for Mac and Wesley.
      I couldn’t really choose which one I liked the best. I did like this one for how Mac and Wes’ relationship progressed though, that was great to see!
      Thanks so much May! 😀 ❤


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