Author: Victoria Schwab
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance
4.5 – This is a really solid, good, fun book. But it isn’t a five. It is a book I will tell others to read. It is a book that makes me smile. But it isn’t a book I will open again and again for quotes or make my heart stop. So only a 4.5.
The Unbound follows Mackenzie a few weeks after the action of The Archived. She has suffered a great trauma at the end of the previous book and is struggling to cope with this effectively. This is coupled with the start of school, and Mackenzie will have to deal with making new friendships, defining existing relationships, and how to couple this with a secret life that is becoming ever more stressful and potentially dangerous.
“The funny thing about amour is that it doesn’t just keep other people out. It keeps us in.”
Writing the review of unbound is proving to be harder than anticipated. See, I liked this book. I liked it just as much as I liked the previous book – almost. And I devoured it, reading it in less than a day. However, when I’m thinking back on it like a couple of weeks later and trying to write about it, I’m really struggling with the words.
I think The Unbound was a good, solid book. While the world of The Archived is developed further in the previous book and is kind of a background aspect here, I think the rest of the elements really make up for this. This book is a discussion of trauma and how the affects this can have on a person’s mental health and it definitely deals with some tough topics here.
Trigger warning: this book makes mention of suicide attempts and self-harm.
But that is what is so good about it. Here Schwab takes a story about Mackenzie joining a new school, and suffering from sleepiness nights and possibly paranoia, as a way to address the myriad of health issues suffered by many young adults. When Mackenzie’s friends learn that she is going to counselling, they all understand, because they have been there. I loved this aspect of it as I feel that Schwab is able to discuss issues like mental health, without ever condemning it or preaching about it.
I also loved the incredibly human elements of The Unbound. The fleeting relationships that Mackenzie makes with characters who only appear momentarily, still have an incredible amount of depth, and allow for a bigger discussion about humanity and the issues that people face on a daily basis. How does Schwab do that?!
As for pacing? I enjoyed the book and the story. I think the dialogue really works here, the characters feel fun, and not forced, and I think it is an enjoyable read. I enjoyed the plot of The Archived a tiny bit more, but I am definitely not complaining this.
Overall, a really fun and solid read. Which I would recommend to anyone, and I cannot wait to pick up another Schwab novel! A Darker Shade of Magic is the next one on my list.
If you liked this…
While it is in a different genre completely, I really feel that Jennifer Niven’s All The Bright Places is a book to read that is just like The Unbound. It’s the humanity in it, and the relationships and dialogue, and the way in which mental health is addressed. It is a contemporary young adult read, rather than a fantasy, but give it a try!