The Unbound, by Victoria Schwab
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal
“Treat all the bad things like dreams, Kenzie. That way, no matter how scary or dark they get, you just have to survive until you wake up.”
New reading goal: read more Victoria Schwab.
I read the first book, The Archived, at the beginning of this year, and it was incredible—a wonderful surprise. It’s about a place called the Archive, where replicas of the dead are stored, called Histories. One touch and all of their memories will be revealed. Mackenzie is a Keeper, who are in charge of returning Histories when they wake up and wander into the Narrows—a dark, foreboding place between the Archive and the Outer. It had action, mystery, suspense, and a twist that I didn’t see coming. It left me craving for more.
The Unbound is pretty different, since it mostly takes place at a school and focuses less on being a Keeper and more about Mackenzie’s dissolving sanity. After the end of the last book, she’s haunted by nightmares that are far too real and struggles to keep her place in the Archive—because, if she’s found unfit, they will alter her memories and cast her out forever. Meanwhile, strange, unexplained disappearances are happening all over town, and they have one connection: her.
What makes this book so great is its balance: it has nail-biting suspense, but it also brings something more light-hearted, brought by probably my favorite love interest of all time, Wesley Ayers.
“Ah, well. Remember the guy who disappeared before Bethany? Judge Phillip? I went back to check on his house, since that’s where he vanished from. And I might have entered the place using less than legal methods.”
Wes hits the table. “You broke into a crime scene without me?”
“Be glad, Wes, or we both would have been caught.”
“We’re a team, Mac. You don’t go committing a crime 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 mug shots would look fabulous.”
If you are going to read this series for anything, please, please read it for Wes. He is the most adorable Goth/prep boy in the entire world, and his platonic relationship with Mackenzie that borders on romantic melts my heart.
His forehead comes to rest against my shoulder. “You sound like thunderstorms and heavy rain, did you know that?” He lets out a soft, low laugh. “I never liked bad weather. Not until I met you.”
That aside, because I had to get that out of my system—he’s just too much oh my god—I love how Victoria Schwab keeps me on the edge. There is never a dull moment, and there’s this haunting aura that lures you in. The plot is unique, drawn out, and there’s this underlying theme of questioning authority: whether the Archive is as good as Mackenzie originally thought it was, or whether it has corrupted; whether she should try to stay in or find a way out, with her memories still intact.
I hope the third book comes out soon—there is going to be a third book, right? RIGHT?—because the way this one ended, I’m intrigued even more about which direction Mackenzie will follow next: whether she’ll play it safe or whether she’ll decide to revolt against the Archive, in her own way.
AND WHAT’S WESLEY’S REAL NAME, ANYWAY!? I. NEED. TO. KNOW.