The Unbound: An Archived Novel (The Archived) Paperback – January 6, 2015
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PRAISE FOR THE ARCHIVED "A refreshingly angel-free departure in afterlife fiction, this gripping supernatural thriller features nuanced characters navigating a complex moral universe."--Kirkus Reviews
PRAISE FOR THE ARCHIVED "This is no common policing-the-supernatural romantic thriller: Schwab's image of the Archive and its Librarians is both poignant and intellectually piquant, a suggestion that the repository of human memory goes beyond personal loss and is central to human culture. She writes of death, sorrow, and family love with a light, intelligent touch and inventive vigor, and provides romance with a pleasing edge of unpredictability. It isn't often that lines from Dante's Inferno make their way into supernatural thrillers for teens, but they do here-and to good effect."--Horn Book
About the Author
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Title: The Dark Vault: The Archived and The Unbound
Author: Victoria Schwab
Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.
Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.
Mackenzie Bishop's grandfather first brought her here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now her grandfather is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was: a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.
Follow Mackenzie as she explores the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking, through these two timeless novels, now bound together in this thrilling collection. With stunning prose and a captivating mixture of action, romance, and horror, The Dark Vault delves into a richly imagined world where no choice is easy and love and loss feel like two sides of the same coin.
Victoria Schwab is one of my favorite authors. I have read her Darker Shade of Magic Series, VIcious, and I am currently reading her Monsters of Verity series so I had very high hopes for these books as well. I had some issues finding it in the store though (I learned that they are going to be re-releasing these books as a set later on) so I ended up having to get it from my local library. I will be get it for my shelves later though. Before reading this series, I thought the concept of the dead being cataloged like in a library was very original. I loved the idea as I am a librarian myself and thought it would be neat to see how the lives of the dead were stored.
What I liked:
The idea of Histories and hunting for them was very original. When I first read the book cover, I believed that each History was going to actually be written down in a book and cataloged within the archive, so I was surprised when the archive was more like a morgue with the sleeping dead within that happened to wake up within the archive. I found that very clever and well thought out.
This book was written in first person and sometimes switched over into an almost diary like tone where Mackenzie recalled something from her past which helped the reader understand things that needed to be explained as they happened. It was a very small cast in the first book and then blossomed as Mackenzie started to branch out a little more allowing her character to develop from the first book.
The character development throughout the series was really well put together. None of them felt too flat and all changed, showing different sides as the story progressed. One character in particular captivated my attention with this was Wes. I really did find myself enjoying his character.
What I didn't like:
There were a few things in this world that didn’t quite make a lot of sense and didn’t seem to be explained all that much. One thing I thought could have been explained better was exactly how the Histories get out into the Narrows especially when there are librarians monitoring the area and making sure that they do not escape.
I really did enjoy the series, but I felt that it was rather repetitive at certain points within the book. There were times where sequences were nearly identical to one another and it could be a bit distracting for me. Also, rather than move the story along, it was rather like each time something was repeated it was because the characters were in a standstill situation.
Mackenzie Bishop: She wants to believe that she can take care of herself, and is too stubborn to really ask for help from others. I liked how she was independent, but something that threw me off about her was how she continued to push people away even after they had shown that they could be trusted and would understand what she was going through. Trust is a two way street and she only seemed to think that others should trust her without her trusting them.
Wesley: He was a really cool character. I loved his bubbly personality, but he was also quick to display his emotions. I really liked how he complemented Mackenzie.
Owen: Everytime he appeared within the book he made me nervous. He greatly paralleled Wes within the books.
The librarians: Some of them I liked and others I didn’t. They followed their rules and did what they had to to keep the Archive running smoothly.
Roland: I loved this character. I actually think that he was my favorite. He felt so relatable as a father like figure for Mackenzie when she needed it. He was firm with her, but was also willing to bend the rules some because he understood what she was going through with the death of her brother.
Da and Ben: Both of these two are dead at the beginning of the book so you don’t get as much of their characters as if they were still around, but it was interesting to see how their deaths and their pasts influences the character’s decisions through the series.
Mr. and Mrs. Bishop (Mackenzie’s parents):These two were not my favorites in the book, however I did sympathize with them. Both wanted to protect Mackenzie, but they also had their own agendas in a sense. Her mother seemed a bit scattered while her father seemed more put together, but still distant.
Overall, The Archived and The Unbound were very fast paced and held a certain mysterious aspect to it that I enjoyed. I would recommend this book to those who enjoy a nice thriller mystery book series and On a side note, please go read some of her other books as well. Victoria is again one of my favorite authors.
If you're already a fan of The Archived, dare I say: The Unbound is even better!
- The writing is even more impressive as this author fine-tunes her skills with a vision and prose that surpasses her previous work. So many quotable passages in this book, guys. But, anyone who is familiar with Victoria's work really should not be surprised. Like a fine wine, this author only gets better with age.
- The emotional levels are through the roof. Victoria takes risks in how she treats her main characters. She forces them to deal with such issues as PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) due to the horrific events in book one. There were moments when I wondered if our main characters would be successful, or if they would just give up, give in or worse. Bonds of trust are severed and misunderstandings between family and friends run rampant within The Unbound. You will wonder who is right, who is wrong - and who to trust until the very last page. This books is both breathtaking and heartbreaking in its beauty, but you will love every page of it.
- In all but one case, the book is entirely unpredictable. Oh goodness, if I had to make comparisons, The Unbound is like a mix of Carrie by Stephen King, meets Something Like Normal by Trish Doller. Odd combination, I know, but you will understand one the plot and the psychology behind it come to light. Though I had a good idea who the villain would be in the end, I had no idea how they would pull off their devious plots. Suspense galore, my friends. Suspense galore.
- The pacing in The Unbound is a bit off at times, but is an improvement over The Archived. Mainly early on in the book when Mac goes back to high school and acclimates to her new friends and schoolwork is when I had issue with the pacing. Otherwise, once the meat of the story kicks in and all heck breaks loose, the sluggishness of the earlier chapters is quickly forgotten. I never once found myself wanting to put the book down, at least.
- Mac's depression occasionally dragged me down. But then again, I doubt that the emotional level and the story wouldn't have been half as interesting if it hadn't. Just make sure you read with a fluffy animal or with pictures of unicorns and rainbows around you. You might find that you need to pick-me-up.
Any other cons? Not really. But how quickly can we expect book three? With that ending, I know that things are going to get interesting...
Top international reviews
Il problema, oltre alla trama un po’ troppo confusionaria, è nel personaggio. In “The Archived” mi limitavo a trovare Mackenzie poco simpatica, in questo libro la detesto! Non ho mai amato i personaggi (in particolar modo se femminili) testardi, che pretendono di voler fare tutto da sé senza mai chiedere aiuto a nessuno. Non lo considero coraggioso questo tipo di comportamento, al contrario, dimostra palese immaturità e cocciutaggine… condita con una buona dose di egocentrismo. Proprio questo egocentrismo ha portato la protagonista a voler affrontare tutti i problemi da sola, mettendo in pericolo molte persone (e causandone anche la morte).
Da quello che ho successivamente letto nei vari commenti, ho potuto capire che questo atteggiamento è un cliché trito e ritrito dei libri YA. Un motivo in più per leggerli col contagocce.
Il personaggio più affascinante e meglio riuscito, per me, è sicuramente Owen, l’unico veramente coerente nell’arco di tutti e due i libri. Per quanto riguarda Wesley, invece, ho di gran lunga preferito la versione del primo libro. Il Wesley di “The Unbound” è molto diverso e totalmente inaspettato; un cambiamento che non ho apprezzato.
Nell’insieme, ho trovato la storia alquanto confusionaria e a tratti noiosa (non essendo più un’adolescente, gli episodi ambientati a scuola li ho trovato inutili). Con spiegazioni frettolose e a volte inefficaci, come se l’autrice avesse fretta di finire il libro.
Nonostante il secondo libro sia stato abbastanza deludente, leggerò sicuramente il terzo (che sembra in lavorazione). Speriamo bene!
I had a problem with the very slow start. It wasn't because I was bored, but because it was the musings of her every day life. Her thoughts and actions were stagnant and the plot doesn't move until the 100 page mark. It was nice to see her at school, starting something new and normal. The struggles with her hiding her Keeper life from her family is even more apparent in this sequel.
I found it odd that there was hardly any mentions of Ben. Not like it was before in The Archived. The purpose of the bolded passages offered a glimpse into the past, but it didn't work out too well here. I think that there was a lot that needed to be set up which is why it was such a slow start. If it weren't for my love for Wes and Chase, I would have probably DNF'd this for sure. In all honesty, the Archived and their crazy rules didn't seem so interesting to me this time around. I felt annoyed all the time when the politics shone through. There's not much history that was given and I would have loved that to be given. Maybe it'll be in the last book?
I especially love the fact that there's new friends and having Wes and Cash on the pages helped me glued to the pages when things weren't happening. They are so hilarious and funny especially when competing for Mackenzie's affections. Though I only thought that Chase liked her because she was pretty and he tells her to her face too. We also see a more kinder and less jokey Wes which I appreciated.
It felt like a solid stand-a-lone, but then you get to the last page and it's such an open ended ending. Ah! *crosses fingers the last book gets published*
The plot in The Unbound picks up three weeks after the ending of The Archived, when school term is about to start and Mackenzie will face new (and old) problems: those involved with having a double life, making new friends in a new high school, but also some about The Archive and all the demons she has in her dreams.
Although the first instalment has a kinda good closed-ending, there were some minor open questions about The Archive and secondary characters that will finally be revealed through this book.
Although the general plot is quite predictable and you won’t find cliffhangers or extremely well-thought-out plot twists, I want to point out some of the things I liked the most about this book: the new extension of the world-building with more detailed explanations about the doors, The Narrows and so on; Hyde School (a private and elite high school) as a new setting with the introduction of new and really interesting characters; and the depiction of Mackenzie’s mental problems.
Last but not least, I know this series was meant to have a third instalment, and I truly hope we get one someday 'cause the world-building and characters are amazing. I was very happy with how this book ended, tho.
die Ausgabe selbst ist sehr schön (Taschenbuch), weil das Format etwas größer ist, aber mit weichem Cover. kann ich nur empfehlen!
A história é simples, mas cativante. Tem algo muito gostoso na narrativa de Victoria Schwab, que nos envolve de uma forma, que termino a leitura já saudosa desse universo.
Irgendwie erging es mir wie beim ersten Band, ich las das Buch unglaublich schnell weg. Ich weiß wirklich nicht woran das liegt. Dabei finde ich es nicht einmal wesentlich besser als so manch anderes.
Wie in meiner ersten Rezension schon bemerkt, handelt es sich um den typischen Aufbau von Young Adult Romanen: neue Schule (auch noch privat), der Rebell, der Schönling, das Mädchen was "besonders" ist. Eigentlich ein totales no-go für mich. Aber Schwab stellt damit wirklich etwas tolles an.
Die Romantik wirkt sympathisch und ist ein logischer Teil der Handlung und der Charakterentwicklung, sie übertrumpft nicht das eigentliche Geschehen, sondern fügt sich passend ein. Die Charaktere können für sich selbst denken und handeln und wirken durchweg nachvollziehbar und authentisch. Mac braucht niemanden der sie rettet, sie rettet sich mehr oder weniger selbst.
Auch das Mysterium der verschwundenen Personen ist angenehm verstrickt, man erfährt immer genug um die Spannung nicht zu verschenken.
Besonders schön finde ich, dass diese Ausgabe nicht das gleiche Schicksal einiger anderer erleidet, die nur als eine in die Länge gezogene Brücke zwischen dem spannenden ersten und letzten Band dient. Es wird nathlos an den ersten angeknüpft, die Ereignisse stehen in unmittelbaren Zusammenhang und wie es scheint, werden sie auch so in den Dritten überlaufen.
Sofern dieser erscheint. Soweit ich weiß wurde die Serie vom Verlag eingestellt und Victoria Schwab sucht einen Weg ihren letzten Band anders zu verlegen. Ich drücke ihr wirklich alle meine Daumen, ich würde zu gern wissen wie es ausgehen wird.
Mehr gibt es zu The Unbound auch gar nicht zu sagen. Mir fiel beim Beginn des Bandes auf, dass ich so gut wie gar nichts mehr aus dem Vorgänger wusste. So etwas passiert mir wirklich selten. Irgendwie husche ich durch diese Reihe durch, ohne dass etwas besonderes im Kopf an Wissen hängen bleibt, außer das Gefühl dass es angenehm zu lesen war und ich es nicht weglegte, haha. Wirklich seltsam was Frau Schwab da mit mir macht. Hab auch jetzt schon die Ahnung, dass das jetzige Wissen über The Unbound bald wieder weg ist. Mir kommt es fast so vor, als fließe alles in der Handlung zu einfach ineinander über, ohne besondere Ecken und Kanten, dass es sich nicht wirklich bei mir festsetzen kann.