Archive for July, 2018

Latchkey review roundup!

Monday, July 9th, 2018

First, a huge THANK YOU to all the book bloggers, Amazon/Goodreads reviewers, indie handsellers, social media word-of-mouthers, etc. who are helping get this book off the ground!

It’s early days yet, but here are some nice things people are saying so far:

Kirkus (starred review) says: Less mythic in tone and more conventional in structure than the first, this title nonetheless delivers gripping action while deepening mysteries in restrained prose studded with flashes of vulgar brutality and startling poetry … Excruciating, cathartic, and triumphant.

School Library Journal (starred review) says: Archivist Wasp fans, prepare to be delighted. … Kornher-Stace’s masterly writing skillfully explains this wildly inventive world throughout. There is no clumsy recap of the previous volume, but references to the first installment blend seamlessly into the narrative. Genre fiction fans who prefer their speculative tales without romance will appreciate this action-packed work. An open ending leaves room for another series entry, but this also works as a standalone. VERDICT Teens who enjoy reading extended fight scenes and want immersion in an extraordinary world will enjoy Kornher-Stace’s second act. A strong choice for speculative fiction shelves. 

Locus says: Kornher-Stace has a deft touch with voice and character. Isabel is immensely compelling: a young woman raised in a brutal environment with little affection, who expected to die in ritual combat, and who nonetheless manages to develop personal integrity, ethics, compassion, and the ability to care about other people. She’s grown into a role as a reluctant leader, albeit one scarred by her experiences, and her friendship with Sairy, her second, is a touching and complicated thing – as is her relationship with the nameless soldier. Latchkey‘s prose is elegantly self-effacing: smooth, easy to read, and full of adroit turns of phrase. Kornher-Stace has a gift for creat­ing atmosphere, from the familial closeness of Isabel’s small community of former upstarts in the Catchkeep-temple, to the ominous claustro­phobia of the tunnels beneath Sweetwater, and into the hectic chaos and turmoil of battle. And underwriting every moment is a core of kindness, of compassion – of choosing a path away from cruelty, even when it’s hard: a core that makes this book, for all its darkness, somehow funda­mentally uplifting. If I had to choose one word to describe this novel, it would be compelling: in its pacing, its characterisation, and even in its genre-blending approach to worldbuilding, it compels attention. I really enjoyed Latchkey. I can’t rec­ommend it, and Archivist Wasp, highly enough.

Tor says: The combination of two future timelines—one of a ruined earth, and one of the militaristic one that preceded it—continues to tantalize in terms of how one led into the other, and whether some of the strange properties of Isabel’s world have their roots in the earlier period. And the multiple conflicts on display—humans against humans, humans against ghosts, ghosts against ghosts—offer a fascinating and constantly shifting backdrop for Isabel’s discovery of the secret history of her world.

Den of Geek says: Latchkey by Nicole Kornher-Stace, the follow up to 2015’s highly-praised YA crossover Archivist Wasp, blends loss—of one’s childhood, of an entire society, of friends—with a genre-defying post-apocalyptic world with raw clarity and bloody poise. With strong, insightful characterization and a keen sense for tension, it’s a nigh-unstoppable candidate for one of my favorite books this year.

Kidliterati says: We were lucky to secure a preview of the sequel, and are happy to report that it’s just as intense, fascinating, and strange as the first installment from Nicole Kornher-Stace.

Geekly Inc. says: Archivist Wasp was one of my favorite books of 2015 and up there for one of my favorite new fantasy titles, period. It was such a rough, raw book, the literary equivalent of a rebel yell, and not just because it was a debut. Furious and dreamlike and achingly emotional, it was everything I never knew I needed in a fantasy. Or maybe “phantasmagoria” is better, a rare word for a rare book–and one about ghosts, no less. I continually had the impression that Nicole Kornher-Stace had served up her heart on a platter, no apologies and no attempts to make it into anything other than what it was. Just the bloody reality of it. Latchkey, the continuation of Isabel’s story, retains that sense of desperate reality in a slightly more conventional presentation … If this had a movie analog—which it really doesn’t, it’s so much its own book that it’s incomparable–it would be Mad Max: Fury Road.

The Little Red Reviewer says: If you like gorgeous prose, a slow burn, angry ghosts, snarky dialog and gut punches, and the intersection of post-apocalyptic and mythology, Latchkey is the book for you.

The Illustrated Page says: One of my biggest fears was that Nicole Kornher-Stace would introduce a romantic relationship for Isabel in Latchkey. The lack of romance was one of my favorite things about Archivist Wasp, and I’ve been burned so many times by series that have gloriously non-romantic first books before introducing it in the second. This does not happen. As with Archivist Wasp, the important relationships in Latchkey are entirely platonic, and they are no means any less deep or committed for it. Man, I’m getting emotional thinking about how much I love the friendships in these books. It’s just… in the vast majority of stories, friendship is second-tier to romance. Our entire culture tells us that friendships are not as important or significant as romantic relationships, and these books defy that whole notion. This is so incredibly meaningful and important to me, I can’t even express how much. I legit feel myself tearing up thinking about this.