Ahoy there me mateys! One of the many things I love about me large and diverse crew is the little-known fantastic treasures that they bring me way. This be one of them. I found out about the book from matey Sarah @ theillustratedpage. Her thoughts:
Have you read Archivist Wasp? If you haven’t, you really should. It’s a striking, post-apocalyptic, ghost-hunting body novel that tells a deeply intense story without even a hint of romance. Latchkey is a follow-up, taking place three years later. I strongly suggest reading Archivist Wasp first . . .
Well that certainly struck me fancy. So I commandeered a copy and found a gem.
This book follows Wasp, who is the latest in a long line of archivists. For over four hundred years, these women have been catching ghosts for the purposes of study and research. But being an archivist is not easy. First of all ye train yer entire life for the chance to duel to the death for the position of archivist. But once ye have the position, ye have to fight every year to keep it. It is a position with little to recommend it. Ye are an outcast who lives on the edge of town and survives on the scraps of offerings left by the other villagers. There are no friends, no family, and a not very nice overseeing priest that seems to purposely go out of his way to make yer life miserable.
And of course there are the ghosts. These creatures must be captured and studied. The world is in a ruin and ghosts may be the only way to determine not only what happened in the Time Before but how to improve living conditions. But ghost hunting is dangerous and Wasp has the scars to prove it.
Wasp fought for her place with determination. But now that she is the archivist, all she can focus on is how much her position brings her despair. She is torn between the possibilities of finding new information from the ghosts and trying to escape her life of servitude. Life is harsh and miserable and all Wasp wants is a ray of hope.
What she finds instead is a new strong type of ghost unlike any she has ever seen before or even read about. This ghost can talk! And he wants her to hunt down another ghost he lost track of. What Wasp discovers on these journey has implications to change how she sees herself and the world-at-large.
And here is where words fail me. I was immediately struck by Wasp’s tenacity from the first pages. The world building was surreal and fierce and compelling. The ghostly world was described in such a way that made it seem as though the human brain could barely rationalize the realities therein. Even with all of Wasp’s training and knowledge, there was only so much she could understand. And the side character of the ghost was just wonderful.
Further description would lessen the reader’s experience of savouring the book for themselves. Just know that I absolutely loved how this one resolved itself. I will certainly be readin’ book two! Arrrrr!
Goodreads has this to say about the novel:
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-lost 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.
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