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Archivist Wasp: a novel Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 96 ratings
Book 1 of 2: Archivist Wasp

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Length: 281 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Age Level: 12 - 18 Grade Level: 6 - 9
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Now the story becomes clear for what it is: a story about agency, freedom and revolution. All of sudden, this book Mad-Max-Fury-Roaded me, like a boss. SO! Incredible characters – fleshed-out, human, complicated: check. Beautiful writing: check. Plot that develops like it was written for me: check. A cool mixture of Fantasy and Science Fiction, because ghosts but also super-soldiers: check and check. Reminiscent of everything I love but completely its own thing, a SF YA like I haven’t read in a while, Archivist Wasp is a book I will treasure."
― Ana Grilo, The Book Smugglers

"A jarring yet satisfying reveal, one that fully justifies the obscuring of truth and arrangement of clues that leads up to it. It's also modestly, quietly profound. "We bring our own monsters with us" is a refrain in the book, and as pat as that statement sounds, it's not used glibly. With understated skill, Archivist Wasp twists myth, fantasy and science fiction into a resonant tale of erasure and absence ― and an aching reminder that regaining what has been lost isn't always the answer."
― Jason Heller, NPR

“Creepy and unsettling (but in a good way), with a superb ending.”
― Tim, Prairie Lights

"Kornher-Stace exhibits immense fluidity and grace of prose. She is able to evoke the creepy, barren, stifled post-collapse world; the other-dimensional byways down which the ghost brings Wasp; and the pre-collapse Project Latchkey environment where Foster works, all in differing but equally vivid styles. The reader will feel the cold and damp, the scalpels and clamps, the fairytale ambiance of a ghostly “waystation,” with exactitude and weight. Likewise, Kornher-Stace exhibits fine skills with characterization: Wasp and the ghost both emerge fully rounded. And her action scenes are cinematic."
― Paul Di Filippo, Locus

"Wasp is used the properties of her world that might be strange to the reader. And while one character offers a perspective on a more familiar world, that’s also not one with which we’re familiar. It can be dizzying, but in the way that works that reconfigure expectations often are. Call this novel YA, call it science fiction or science fantasy, call it a new mythology. But by all means, call it compelling."
― Tobias Carroll, Vol. 1 Brooklyn

"This is a lean, mean book with a lean, mean main character, and among all the post-apocalyptic dross, it’s pure gold."
― Geekly, Inc.

"A ravishing, profane, and bittersweet post-apocalyptic bildungsroman transcends genre into myth.
In a desolate future, young girls marked by the goddess Catchkeep fight to the death to become Archivist, needed but feared and shunned for her sacred duty to trap, interrogate, and dispatch ghosts. After three years as Archivist, Wasp is weary of killing, of loneliness, of hunger, of cruelty, of despair, so she barters with a supersoldier’s ghost to find his long-dead partner in exchange for a chance at escape. But looking for answers in the land of the dead only reveals that everything Wasp knew was a lie. Equal parts dark fantasy, science fiction, and fable, Wasp’s story is structured as a classic hero’s journey. Her bleak and brutal world, limned with the sparest of detail, forges her character: stoic, cynical, with burning compassion at the core; in contrast, the rich and mosaic (if capricious and violent) underworld overflows with symbol and metaphor that tease at deeper meanings never made fully explicit. Meanwhile, the nameless ghost’s history, told through disconnected snatches of memory, encompasses heroism, abuse, friendship, and betrayal in a tragedy only redeemed by the heart-rending convergence of their separate narratives. Names (and their absence) form a constant leitmotif, as identity is transformed by the act of claiming it.
Difficult, provocative, and unforgettable―the most dangerous kind of fiction"
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Young adults will be able to relate to Wasp’s inner turmoil and her battle to understand a world full of inexplicable hatred and violence. The fast pace and graphic action will draw in reluctant readers.
VERDICT A must-have for dystopian fans who prefer to avoid love stories and pat endings.”
School Library Journal

"The full adrenaline ride . . . Kornher-Stace writes a mean action sequence."
Publishers Weekly

“My new favorite forthcoming YA SF. And that’s all I’m going to say, because this book needs to pull you in and spin you around a couple times before leading you down its path.”
― Paula Willey, Baltimore County Public Library

"GAH. This is exactly what a dystopian novel should be. I was in the mood for something bittersweet and I guess this really hit the spot. Also, the imagery is amazing. I especially loved the early description of the painting of Catchkeep, with hammered-in nails serving as the stars of the constellation."
― Allison Senecal, Book Shop of Fort Collins

"Kornher-Stace builds a vivid and fascinating dark underworld in this hero's journey story about the importance and persistence of memory and how it forms and informs us even after death."
― Nancy Banks, City Stacks Books and Coffee


"Now the story becomes clear for what it is: a story about agency, freedom and revolution. All of sudden, this book Mad-Max-Fury-Roaded me, like a boss. SO! Incredible characters – fleshed-out, human, complicated: check. Beautiful writing: check. Plot that develops like it was written for me: check. A cool mixture of Fantasy and Science Fiction, because ghosts but also super-soldiers: check and check. Reminiscent of everything I love but completely its own thing, a SF YA like I haven’t read in a while, Archivist Wasp is a book I will treasure."
— Ana Grilo, The Book Smugglers

"A jarring yet satisfying reveal, one that fully justifies the obscuring of truth and arrangement of clues that leads up to it. It's also modestly, quietly profound. "We bring our own monsters with us" is a refrain in the book, and as pat as that statement sounds, it's not used glibly. With understated skill, Archivist Wasp twists myth, fantasy and science fiction into a resonant tale of erasure and absence — and an aching reminder that regaining what has been lost isn't always the answer."
— Jason Heller, NPR

“Creepy and unsettling (but in a good way), with a superb ending.”
— Tim, Prairie Lights

"Kornher-Stace exhibits immense fluidity and grace of prose. She is able to evoke the creepy, barren, stifled post-collapse world; the other-dimensional byways down which the ghost brings Wasp; and the pre-collapse Project Latchkey environment where Foster works, all in differing but equally vivid styles. The reader will feel the cold and damp, the scalpels and clamps, the fairytale ambiance of a ghostly “waystation,” with exactitude and weight. Likewise, Kornher-Stace exhibits fine skills with characterization: Wasp and the ghost both emerge fully rounded. And her action scenes are cinematic."
— Paul Di Filippo, Locus

"Wasp is used the properties of her world that might be strange to the reader. And while one character offers a perspective on a more familiar world, that’s also not one with which we’re familiar. It can be dizzying, but in the way that works that reconfigure expectations often are. Call this novel YA, call it science fiction or science fantasy, call it a new mythology. But by all means, call it compelling."
— Tobias Carroll, Vol. 1 Brooklyn

"This is a lean, mean book with a lean, mean main character, and among all the post-apocalyptic dross, it’s pure gold."
— Geekly, Inc.

"A ravishing, profane, and bittersweet post-apocalyptic bildungsroman transcends genre into myth.
In a desolate future, young girls marked by the goddess Catchkeep fight to the death to become Archivist, needed but feared and shunned for her sacred duty to trap, interrogate, and dispatch ghosts. After three years as Archivist, Wasp is weary of killing, of loneliness, of hunger, of cruelty, of despair, so she barters with a supersoldier’s ghost to find his long-dead partner in exchange for a chance at escape. But looking for answers in the land of the dead only reveals that everything Wasp knew was a lie. Equal parts dark fantasy, science fiction, and fable, Wasp’s story is structured as a classic hero’s journey. Her bleak and brutal world, limned with the sparest of detail, forges her character: stoic, cynical, with burning compassion at the core; in contrast, the rich and mosaic (if capricious and violent) underworld overflows with symbol and metaphor that tease at deeper meanings never made fully explicit. Meanwhile, the nameless ghost’s history, told through disconnected snatches of memory, encompasses heroism, abuse, friendship, and betrayal in a tragedy only redeemed by the heart-rending convergence of their separate narratives. Names (and their absence) form a constant leitmotif, as identity is transformed by the act of claiming it.
Difficult, provocative, and unforgettable—the most dangerous kind of fiction"
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Young adults will be able to relate to Wasp’s inner turmoil and her battle to understand a world full of inexplicable hatred and violence. The fast pace and graphic action will draw in reluctant readers.
VERDICT A must-have for dystopian fans who prefer to avoid love stories and pat endings.”
School Library Journal

"The full adrenaline ride . . . Kornher-Stace writes a mean action sequence."
Publishers Weekly

“My new favorite forthcoming YA SF. And that’s all I’m going to say, because this book needs to pull you in and spin you around a couple times before leading you down its path.”
— Paula Willey, Baltimore County Public Library

"GAH. This is exactly what a dystopian novel should be. I was in the mood for something bittersweet and I guess this really hit the spot. Also, the imagery is amazing. I especially loved the early description of the painting of Catchkeep, with hammered-in nails serving as the stars of the constellation."
— Allison Senecal, Book Shop of Fort Collins

"Kornher-Stace builds a vivid and fascinating dark underworld in this hero's journey story about the importance and persistence of memory and how it forms and informs us even after death."
— Nancy Banks, City Stacks Books and Coffee
--This text refers to the paperback edition.

About the Author

Nicole Kornher-Stace: Nicole Kornher-Stace was born in Philadelphia in 1983, moved from the East Coast to the West Coast and back again by the time she was five, and currently lives in New Paltz, NY, with one husband, three ferrets, one precocious preschooler, and too many books to count.
--This text refers to the paperback edition.

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Reviewed in the United States on April 20, 2020
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Top international reviews

Chris
3.0 out of 5 stars I bought this off a recommendation on a blog I ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 14, 2016
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aisling Sheridan
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 16, 2015
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