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Archivist Wasp
Cover of Archivist Wasp
Archivist Wasp
a novel
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Norton Award finalistYALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults 2016Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Books of 2015Book Riot Best of 2015Buzzfeed 32 Best Fantasy Novels of 2015ABC Best Books for Young ReadersLos...
Norton Award finalistYALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults 2016Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Books of 2015Book Riot Best of 2015Buzzfeed 32 Best Fantasy Novels of 2015ABC Best Books for Young ReadersLos...
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Description-

  • Norton Award finalist
    YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults 2016
    Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Books of 2015
    Book Riot Best of 2015
    Buzzfeed 32 Best Fantasy Novels of 2015
    ABC Best Books for Young Readers
    Los Angeles Times Summer Reading
    Locus Recommended Reading
    Wasp's job is simple. Hunt ghosts. And every year she has to fight to remain Archivist. Desperate and alone, she strikes a bargain with the ghost of a supersoldier. She will go with him on his underworld hunt for the long-long ghost of his partner and in exchange she will find out more about his pre-apocalyptic world than any Archivist before her. And there is much to know. After all, Archivists are marked from birth to do the holy work of a goddess. They're chosen. They're special. Or so they've been told for four hundred years.
    Archivist Wasp fears she is not the chosen one, that she won't survive the trip to the underworld, that the brutal life she has escaped might be better than where she is going. There is only one way to find out.
    Praise for Archivist Wasp:
    "Archivist Wasp is a gorgeous and complex book, featuring a deadly girl who traverses an equally deadly landscape. Wasp won me over, and she's sure to find fans among teens and grown-ups alike."
    — Phoebe North, author of Starglass
    "A tremendously inventive and smart novel. Archivist Wasp is like Kafka by way of Holly Black and Shirley Jackson, but completely original. Highly recommended."
    — Jeff VanderMeer, author of the Southern Reach trilogy
    "A gorgeous, disturbing, compelling book with a smart, complicated heroine who bestrides her post-apocalyptic world like a bewildered force of nature. Reading it was a wild ride and a thoroughly satisfying one."
    — Delia Sherman, author of The Freedom Maze
    "One of the most revelatory and sublime books I've ever read, Archivist Wasp is a must-read for fans of post-apocalyptic fiction. Kornher-Stace is a genius, and I can't wait to see what she does next!"
    — Tiffany Trent, author of The Unnaturalists
    "Brutal post-apocalypse meets sci-fi techno-thriller meets a ghost story for the ages in this astonishingly original novel from Nicole Kornher-Stace. You've never read anything like Archivist Wasp, but once you have you'll be clamoring for more."
    — Mike Allen, author of Unseaming
    “Sharp as a blade and mythically resonant, Archivist Wasp is a post-apocalyptic ghost story unlike anything else I've read. Trust me, you want this book."
    — Karina Sumner-Smith, author of Radiant
    “Archivist Wasp turns destiny on its head, and it re-invents the world you know to do it. Strong. Fast. Addictive."
    — Darin Bradley, author of Noise
    “Goes off like a firecracker in the brain: the haunted landscape, the sure-footed, blistering prose — and, of course, the heroine herself, the most excellent Archivist Wasp."
    — Kelly Link, author of Get in Trouble
    Praise for Nicole Kornher-Stace:
    "In richly textured, atmospheric prose, Kornher-Stace delivers a spellbinding tale of deception, betrayal, and the darker possibilities of playacting."—Booklist
    "Mesmerizing from the first page and once you get into its flow, a page turner to boot."—Fantasy Book Critic
    "Absorbing, exciting, intellectually fascinating, emotionally true, and well-crafted, bobbles and all."—Ideomancer

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.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    March 2, 2015
    Why would an intelligent, skeptical killer allow herself to remain enslaved by a priest? Readers who find enough justification for Wasp’s submission will enjoy the full adrenaline ride of Korner-Stace’s (Desideria) second novel, while those unconvinced by references to two big dogs and the man’s mean streak may be left by the wayside. Wasp was deity-selected to join the “upstarts,” knife-wielding female apprentices who vie for the role of Archivist by battling to the death. Having become Archivist, it’s not surprising that Wasp is willing to do the dirty work of trapping and destroying ghosts that terrorize her isolated village, keeping records, and waiting for her own death-by-upstart. What is surprising is that in 400 years of this torturous cycle, no girl has figured out effective leverage against the controlling priest. Instead, Wasp believes her best hope lies with an articulate, substantial ghost, who offers Wasp a priceless relic if she will help him hunt the ghost of a lost colleague. Kornher-Stace writes a mean action sequence, but going beyond the moment to connect and contextualize plot points is a spottier proposition. Ages 12–up. Agent: Kate McKean, Horward Morhaim Literary Agency.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from March 1, 2015
    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. (Science fiction/fantasy. 14 & up)

  • School Library Journal

    March 1, 2015

    Gr 9 Up-In a desolate town haunted by the souls of the dead, Wasp must fight three other girls to the death to retain the title of Archivist. All her life, Wasp has been told she was chosen by the goddess Catchkeep to capture and study ghosts. She has endured beatings, lived as a hated and feared outcast, and murdered-all in the name of Catchkeep. Yearning to escape her cruel life, she makes a bargain with the ghost of a long-dead super soldier. The ghost promises to help her escape if she can track down his only friend, a fearless female super soldier with a story not so different from Wasp's. Kornher-Stace has crafted a gritty read that will appeal to fans of violent, postapocalyptic fantasy and science fiction. Teens will empathize with Wasp's brutal existence and root for her as she struggles to develop her first real relationship. The author parallels the super soldier's tale of high technology gone awry, told through flashbacks, with Wasp's story of a corrupt post-civilization society, in order to illustrate what happens when people refuse to learn from past mistakes. 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.-Kimberly Ventrella, Southwest Oklahoma City Library

    Copyright 2015 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Ana Grilo, The Book Smugglers "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."
  • Jason Heller, NPR "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."
  • Tim, Prairie Lights "Creepy and unsettling (but in a good way), with a superb ending."
  • Paul Di Filippo, Locus "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."
  • Tobias Carroll, Vol. 1 Brooklyn "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."
  • Geekly, Inc. "This is a lean, mean book with a lean, mean main character, and among all the post-apocalyptic dross, it's pure gold."
  • Kirkus Reviews (starred review) "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"
  • School Library Journal "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...

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