Mini Reviews: The Unbound and City of Masks

Rating: 3/5
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When I first read The Archived, I was very disappointed. Despite the gorgeous, lyrical prose and the imaginative world of the Archives where the dead are shelved like books, it was hard for me to really connect to Mackenzie Bishop. She is a teenager who inherited the role of a Keeper from her now-deceased grandfather. In the first book, although there were times she was really kick-ass, her world revolved simply around one person: Ben, her little brother who died from a car incident. I found her constant wallowing in self-pity tedious, to the point that the other aspects of the books were becoming affected as well. I just couldn’t bring myself to sympathize with her when her stupid decisions based on her feewings were putting other people in danger. I know; I know. She is flawed, and that’s normal… people are selfish in real life (I know I can be), but it’s hard to see this from Mac when it felt like she hardly learnt from her mistakes.

Obviously, now that she was able to solve the case in that book, I would have thought that she grew in the second installment. That she would finally really grasp her potential and stop being such a dull, lifeless heroine who keeps thinking the same thoughts over and over. Unfortunately, she didn’t really grow and she continued to be the same. However, this time, she wasn’t always thinking about Ben. She kept getting bad dreams and visions, kept getting bad stuff happening to her and the people around her, and she didn’t know why. This gradually affected her relationships with her family and friends, and the fact she refused to tell others (especially Wesley) of these circumstances for the very pathetic reason “THIS IS MY FIGHT, I DON’T WANT YOU TO BE HURT, YOU’RE WORTH IT, I WANT TO PROTECT YOU FROM ME” was just so old and tiring. I understand the need to protect your loved ones, Mackenzie, but repeating it over and over and trying to convince yourself despite the situation telling you otherwise was just honestly exhausting. And boring. She felt so lifeless and monotonous. Granted, she did tell Wesley and the authorities the truth, but it was like at the very end and at the expense of the lives of many others. And for what? Because she thought it was her job to do it? To detain a mad lunatic who she already knew would stop at nothing for his cause? How pretentious and arrogant can you possibly get? I’m sorry, I really just can’t feel for such heroines who think responsibilities greater than theirs are for them to bear just to prove a point, and a useless one at that. All those lives affected and lost for such a silly, pathetic thing.

Despite my issue with the heroine, though, I did like the book. We still don’t see much of the secrets of the Archive and only more of Mackenzie’s repetitive thoughts, but ehh, at least we got more of Wesley. He’s such a cool dude. A little bit too-perfect-to-be-true, but still, I like him a lot.

I hope there’s still room for a third instalment, as there are still so many things I want to know. They still need to be Crew, and Mackenzie still needs to know Wesley’s name, so I doubt it’ll end here (I don’t see a third book when I click the series’ name, so I’m not entirely sure there’s going to be one…). Overall, solid 3 stars. I just hope next time Mackenzie grows some balls and try to take control of her life instead of waiting for others to control hers.

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86737Rating : 0 stars / DNF at 22%
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I was very excited to start this one because one of my all-time favorite concepts is TIME TRAVEL. There’s nothing better than the fascination one gets when they find themselves in another place, in another time, be it in the future or in the past. I love that sense of awe and wonder characters get in such books. I think it’s related to my love for both history and traveling, so you really can’t blame me for the major excitement I had prior to reading this book. And I guess that’s why my disappointment was huge as well. I couldn’t even get past 25% of this novel.

There’s nothing wrong with the plot per se. Lucien is a teenager stricken with cancer. He can barely move and eat, and he has to have his dad read to him. One day, his father gave him a rather peculiar book, with the instructions to write anything on it. Then when he goes to sleep, he wakes up and finds himself in a strange place, and later finds out he traveled to a parallel universe akin to 15th-16th century Venice. Could have been a really great story with lots of “star-crossed lovers” potential, know what I mean?

Unfortunately, the writing really ruined it for me. You know, I would let third person omniscient pass as long as it does it right. I wouldn’t mind as long as there is good pacing, but man, this was the most disjointed novel I’ve ever read. There was absolutely no build-up and pacing. We’re given the POV of this character, then two paragraphs later, we jump to another character’s POV from OUT OF NOWHERE, and then we jump back to another POV with an ongoing dialogue with no context given whatsoever. It was bugging the hell out of me, but when it started having THREE POV changes in ONE PAGE, I lost it. I can understand the POV of side characters, but random ones that don’t contribute to the overall story, people whose existences I would forget later on? Come the fuck on.

The writing is very important to me. It encourages me to read on. It can have a tragic plot, and maybe even a ridiculous one, but if the writing is splendid, I would ALWAYS give it a chance and read it through. But this? Ugh… If I were a cellphone and you opened an app called City of Masks, I’d be drained out of battery in no time. That’s how much this book demotivated me.

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Faye

Faye

A 21 years old Filipina who loves books, games, languages, and most especially, food. Secretly wishes to be an astronaut so she can explore the stars. Has a love-hate relationship with Philippine politics. To get in her good graces, offer her Foie Gras, Or shrimp. Or a JRPG. A YA sci-fi book works, too. You can follow her on twitter here: @kawaiileena

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  1. says

    In what word do teenagers think of protecting others first? I mean, when I have a bad dream the first thing I do is tell my mom so she can (maybe) tell me its meaning. But nope, in these YA books teens are alwyas “protecting others.” Uhmm….

    I sooo much hate pointless dialogue and change of POV before I get the chance to like one character….
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    • FayeFaye says

      Yeah, I don’t believe it one bit. Teenagers are oftentimes very selfish, or if not, they would at least want to have someone share their burden. You can make someone mature without having to make them unrealistic, get what I mean? But having them overly selfless to the point of stupidity is just…. erm.

      Yeah, what I hated about CoM was how it failed to make me connect to ANYONE in the first twenty percent. I know it’s just the tip of the iceberg but COME THE FUCK ON. :/

  2. says

    I have not read either books and I’m not really a fan of time travel books but City of Masks sound exceptionally dreadful. I normally enjoy multiple POVs but only from characters that I actually care about! Maybe the author is trying to be edgy but it was a big fail on her part.
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    • FayeFaye says

      Yeah, I really didn’t like it. But my friend absolutely adored it but maybe you will too :O Let me know how you fared with it if you do give it a try one day!

  3. says

    Unbound sounds interesting but it sounds like the heroine would constantly get on my nerves for the same reason she did for you. She sounds so annoying.

    Thanks for the warning about City of Masks, I’ve had it on my Kindle forever but probably won’t get to it now! I hate changing point of views that are confusing to follow. Great reviews :)
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