cover image Archivist Wasp

Archivist Wasp

Nicole Kornher-Stace. Small Beer/Big Mouth House, $14 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-61873-097-8

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. (May)