‘The Unbound’ Review

Title: The Unbound
Author: Victoria Schwab
Genre: Ya Fiction, Paranormal, Supernatural, Action, Romance, Urban fantasy
Premise: This book picks up after the first book. Mac now has emotional struggles because of the mark Owen left on her. Her mind is torn, and she is neglecting her duties as a Keeper. Plus school is starting. And she has to deal with many noises all over the place if she cares to survive high school.
Plot: Mac is plagued with black outs and nightmares of Owen killing her. In multiple ways but mostly stabbing. Mostly on the roof of her home the Coronado. She is forced into school in the beginning. She finds out that Wes goes there too. She feels betrayed by him not saying a thing about it. And Wes denies that he needed to say anything about it. Add in a ‘super cute’ Cash who seems to be making Wes jealous for his, meaning Cash’s, feelings about Mac. (Which is quite…good for the romance? I think it’s good…) But. We add in the emotional problems building. What was once nightmares climbs into Mac’s waking life. And…we get the missing people.
With one thing in common.
Mac.
Mac struggles to keep her Keeper life and Outer life apart as they slowly converge. She is forced to discover the truth about the missing people. And…a void. The crime scene she visits has a void which can only be made by Crew keys.  She immediately has to investigate. And…Agatha comes in. She enters the picture and seems to bring the threat of alteration with her.
And…now, Mac is terrified of losing her job. And Wes. And the Archive. And Da.
And she has a good reason to.
The plot continues with her getting arrested and cutting her arm with glass. That results in worried parents and sleeping pills. All related to her nightmares and the fact that Owen keeps appearing. Indirectly or not.
And Owen finally appears. And he tells Mac he wants to tell the truth about the Archive. He just needs her help.
Mac agrees, thinking she can trick him. But. He makes her fall for his trap. And she gets almost arrested. And has to go through the pain of seeing Roland looking at her with betrayal and confusion  in his eyes. And…Owen appears to save her. And disappears. Finally. He is gone at last.
Mac seems to patch things up with Wes. And everything seems normal.
Except she kept the All page in the ledger which Owen burned. That page can write a note to all the Keepers and Crew in the branch.
A cliffhanger ends the book.
What happens next? What does Mac do?
Character Development: I honestly love the characters. Except Owen. I hate him. Mac and Wes. Cash. Roland. They all have their strong points. They have their own little ticks. They’re more human than you might think. They aren’t simply characters. They have pasts and fears. I like that when it happens in books. Real characters, I mean.
Is it bad that I really like Roland? I want him to reveal his secrets. Maybe in a novella about his past. Or…perhaps, that’s good for the story. Having the Librarians keep their pasts and never reveal who they were. Roland is interesting, though. He is old. Very old. (If you’re looking at how much time has passed not how old his body is.)
Mac. Mac is still kickass. But she’s human. She has nightmares. She loses sleep. She stresses. Not over ‘normal’ things but she still stresses. You see this dark and haunted side of her. And I won’t say I love it, but it’s different. She’s haunted and confused. She has feelings for Wes…but…she doesn’t want him hurt. She is forced to lie and manipulate more than usual. I can’t say if I love that. But her determination is set in stone. She will protect who she loves. She seems to keep a burden at first, but that burden lifts as she slowly redeems herself. I do hope that the third book has her fully accepting Owen and her mistakes with him.
Wes. Wes is still that cute guy you always like. He seems to be more of a romantic partner than a friend in this book. More of a lover than a Crew partner. He still has questions that need to be answered. It is annoying that we aren’t given his name. No hint at all… I don’t mind that he’s with Mac. I really don’t. They’re actually really cute together. But. I miss his action scenes. I truly do. As much as I love Mac, Wes needs his own scenes.
Owen. Oh goodness. He came back. Again. I feel as if Owen is a character the author just likes. He’s cold and manipulative. He’s coy and witty. Smart to the razor point. I hate him. He is someone so convinced he’s right, he doesn’t even see the consequences of his actions. And I hate that in him. He could have been redeemed if he let the redemption happen. But he chose against it. He chose the path of an antagonist.
Problems: Problems… Hm. I feel as if there aren’t many. There is Owen, but you need an antagonist in a story. He’s just an annoying character. Keeps coming back even though you try to push him away. I know the next book won’t have him as the antagonist. But who is it? Agatha?
This book has romance. More of it than I expected. We have Wes and Mac. And Cash. Why, Victoria Schwab? I don’t need romance. This is one of the only books I wanted without romance. Or limited romance! Making Mac and Wes a couple accomplished my ship, but I rather have them as Crew partners. It would be  better that way.
Good points: There are so many good points. This book has an amazing plot. You are kept on your toes. You can’t think what happens next. You need to figure it out, but you can’t. You need to know what happens next.
The action is quite amazing. Mac isn’t a superhuman immortal. She bleeds. She breaks. She cries. I love that about her. She’s more real than you think. She is someone that you want to comfort but also want to cheer on. It’s amazing how she is written. She seems very real. The action is fast and makes you squeak when someone gets hit. I can’t help but smile sometimes. This is the book I want.
And I love how the story adds in real elements. This isn’t a story about the Archive anymore. It’s about Mac and her mind and her life. We have the private school added in. This is not a summer thing. It’s something more. I felt as if her parents thinking she ‘self harmed’ was an odd but nice touch. Not many authors outside of the realistic genre write about self harm and depression and suicide. This book, like ‘Bitterblue’ by Kristin Cashore, had those elements. And…I appreciate it a bit more. It’s rare to find in a fantasy or dystopian book. And it’s nice because not everyone acknowledges suicide. These types of books, unexpected darkness, show that authors aren’t just writing all about kickass characters. They are also writing about the emotional struggles.
For me, I dislike most sequels. This is one of those exceptions. And it’s extremely rare for me to prefer the sequel. Well…I didn’t love it. There are elements that could be better. But this was good. I really liked it.
This plot is much darker than book one. Now. Don’t think I’m against dark plots. They aren’t bad. But. They need to be done right. This author did it right. That’s what I think.
Score: 8.5/10 (I didn’t want to put a full 9/10 because the romance really got me. I’m not a fan of romance. That was a real turn-off.)
Recommended: If you liked the first book. If you like paranormal. If you like action. With a kickass heroine.
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