So much love for Wasp out there on the internets. Reviewers, book bloggers, handsellers, those of you shoving the book at your friends on Twitter/Facebook/real life/etc — thank you all so much! This is the book of my heart, so when it finds and clicks with its readers, it’s personal.
Some people who liked it!
Kirkus says: “A ravishing, profane, and bittersweet post-apocalyptic bildungsroman transcends genre into myth … Difficult, provocative, and unforgettable—the most dangerous kind of fiction.” (Starred review)
NPR says: “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.”
Locus says: “Bloodied and battered, Wasp is a Joan of Arc for the 21st-century teen; someone to believe in with all their hearts and souls.”
The Book Smugglers say: “I don’t even know where to begin telling you how much this book rocks. I loved many, MANY books this year but this one is maybe the one I wish to hand-sell the most … 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.”
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.”
Tor.com says: “In the past few years, there’ve been a handful of books I count it a privilege to have read … Nicole Kornher-Stace’s Archivist Wasp has added itself to that list. … Archivist Wasp has great strength of voice … It has really compelling characters: Wasp, prickly and desperate, fierce and bitter but still with a core of compassion; the ghost; Foster (oh, heavens, Foster). The other girls, some of whom are never named. (The ending. Oh, the ending.) And it brings what should be disparate parts together into a startling unity, an imaginative whole that rips a small place open inside me and fills it up with feelings. In short: ARCHIVIST WASP. YES. READ IT. YES.”
School Library Journal says: “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.”
The SLJ Printz Award blog says: “What blew me away: World-building, thematic scope, kick-butt female characters, and the fact that there was no romance and yet this is the deepest love story I’ve ever read.”
Lightspeed says: “More than anything else, this book is sharp. You could cut yourself on the prose — Wasp’s world is one of thorns, knives, edges of thick, broken glass, a constant background-hum of pain that sometimes swells into a shout. Wasp’s perspective absolutely thrums with tension and violence, but also aches with a fierce, hollow loneliness to break the heart. The longing and gratitude for the smallest beginnings of true friendship make the betrayals more vicious, and the stakes just keep rising. I burned through this book in about three hours, desperately rooting for her. It’s also a brilliantly constructed narrative and world. The gods are cruel and absent. The underworld is a maze in layers, a twisting, turning palimpsest, one that allows Wasp to descend almost archaeologically through time by literally experiencing her ghost-partner’s memories. The pre- and post-apocalyptic worlds reflect each other in shards and fragments, all the more powerful for being subtle, for their resistance to being spelled out. It was also keenly refreshing — especially in something that’s ostensibly YA, where the Love Triangle of Doom is so annoyingly pervasive — to find a book in which all of the strongest, primary relationships are friendships; where friendship has the narrative, motive force usually reserved for sexualized romance. I very much wanted to see the A in QUILTBAG represented in this column, and this is a fine example: while the connection between the ghost and his (female) partner is intense and loving, it is never represented as sexual, and sex is in fact completely irrelevant.”
Geekly Inc says: “Her action sequences are flawless: the language and imagery is precise, nothing distracting from the narrative. But when she needs to pull out the stops, her wordsmithing is remarkable to behold. She doesn’t over-explain, but you do get an immediate and thorough sense of the world(s) she’s created. It reminds of nothing so much as Gene Wolfe, the way she drops you into a world of magic and dilapidated technology and gives you just enough to stay afloat and to feed your sense of wonder. I savored her metaphors, and the scenes of emotional revelation were gut punches in the best possible way. This book had more creative juice and emotional depth than books twice its length.”
Locus Online says: “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.”
YA Books Central says: “Some of my favorite scenes are between the ghost and Wasp. While they both come into this journey with their own lies, they commit themselves to the journey that lies ahead. Something incredible happens, a ghost and a ghost hunter find a kind of bond (it isn’t quite friendship) after being alone for so long. The scenes of the ghost and Wasp in the underworld are dreamlike, imaginative, and luxe. The worlds are created with a touch of whimsy and horror, and just enough realism to make the idea of death palatable. All of this works its way into the greater journey of Wasp discovering who is is and who she can be by breaking from her expected role, and finding that freedom that she longed for in the beginning … This isn’t your typical YA novel. With myth, mystery, and heart, it is a post-apocalyptic world unlike anything you’ve ever read.”
LitStack says: “A very interesting, very involving, very demanding – yet incredibly rewarding – read, indeed. Archivist Wasp is a novel to pick up if you want to be challenged and yet intrigued, without undue moralizing or caution. It won’t be the easiest book to read, but it will be one that will draw you in, regardless of where you might end up landing.”
Kid Literati says: “Kirkus called this YA novel “ravishing, profane, and bittersweet,” but what they left out was breath-taking, immersive, spectacular, and mind-blowing. If you are a fantasy fan, if you loved the recent film Mad Max: Fury Road, if you long to lose yourself in a world that’s wholly unrecognizable and yet simmering with truth–this book is for you.”
Vol. 1 Brooklyn says: “Call this novel YA, call it science fiction or science fantasy, call it a new mythology. But by all means, call it compelling.”