(Just like with The Archived: so not excited about this cover. Hubby was like "what on earth is that supposed to be?" Just not a fan of the pouring-smoke-to-create-a-head look.)
After narrowly escaping being killed by a History, Owen, Mackenzie is back on her feet and back at her job. Everything would be back to normal if she could only get a good night's rest. Unfortunately, she is stricken with recurring nightmares of Owen and what happened between them. She isn't regretting her decision to have the Librarians keep her mind intact, but will she be able to carry on? And is there still illicit activity happening within the Archive's ranks? Recently, four people have vanished into thin air in her town, and they all have one thing in common: interaction with Mackenzie shortly before their disappearance. With just starting a new year at a new school, now is not a good time for mental illness or mysterious disappearances/deaths.
I have a tendency to be even more excited for sequels and prequels than I do for first books in series. I think it's because when authors know ahead of time that they get three books in which to tell a story, they spend a slightly larger amount of text in world-building in the first book than they would if the book were a stand-alone. So while I gave The Archived 4 of 5 starts, I give The Unbound 5 of 5 stars. I LOVED IT! Only one thing: I have read that this is not only the sequel but also the finale to the Archived books. I was originally under the impression that this would be a trilogy, but it turns out it's only two. Oh well. These two books are stellar enough to stand on their own! And Victoria Schwab knew ahead of time that there'd be no more after this one, so it wraps up nicely. No nail-biting cliffhangers.
My review is short and sweet because I love all the same things about The Unbound that I did about The Archived. I love Mackenzie: she's tough but still very "real" teenage girl. She kicks ass but also experiences crushes on boys. I want to be her friend. I also love the relationship between Mackenzie and Wes. I actually like that it's in a gray area for most of the book. That's very true to life. It's rare when you can know 110% for sure where you stand with a boyfriend/girlfriend. I love that she finds friends at her new school. I just wanted to cheer out loud. Yay! Mackenzie's making friends! And I love that her relationship with her parents is continuing to grow and mend. It's definitely not perfect at the end of the book, but it keeps getting better. And the kind of wound that her family endured doesn't heal overnight.
I can't think of any complaints at all about The Unbound. Like I promised: short and sweet review.