Archivist Wasp by Nicole Kornher-Stace
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
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.
Wasp is a teen girl who lives a brutal life as the Archivist--the woman tasked with capturing and studying ghosts in her small, desolate town. Each year, she's forced to fight young initiates to keep her position, but in her third year she's growing increasingly weary of that bloody task. Surely there must be something more to life than battling to the death and capturing violent ghostly specimens in one of her sacred jars. This is when she meets a Ghost unlike any who have come before. This Ghost can talk to her, and the story he tells has the potential to change everything.
Archivist Wasp is unlike any story I've read. It's genre-defying, somewhere between a fantasy and a dystopian, along with one of the most original ghosts I've ever encountered. Wasp's struggle to escape her brutal, archaic religious sect will leave you cheering for her as she forms unexpected friendships and journeys through the lush underworld, encountering new mysteries on every page.
While this book is not for everyone, for those of you who enjoy working a little for your satisfaction and visiting new worlds in your mind, Archivist Wasp will be a top-tier read.