Archivist Wasp

A postapocalyptic ghosthunter escapes her dire fate by joining the ghost of a supersoldier on his quest to the underworld.

ABC Best Books for Young Readers Catalog
Flavorwire: The 10 Best Sci-Fi and Fantasy Novels of 2015 So Far
LA Times Summer Reading
Locus Recommended Reading

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.

Nicole takes the Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe.
Angela Slatter interviews Nicole Kornher-Stace.

Read an excerpt on
Nicole Kornher-Stace and the Page 69 Test on TNBBC.
io9: Essential Books.


Nov. 5 – 8, World Fantasy, Saratoga Springs, NY


“This book. This book. In the past few years, there’ve been a handful of books I count it a privilege to have read—a handful of books with which I fell instantly and deeply in love. . . . Nicole Kornher-Stace’s Archivist Wasp has added itself to that list.”
— Liz Bourke,

“Now the story becomes clear for what it is: 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.”
Ana Grilo, The Book Smugglers

“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.”
— Jason Heller, NPR

“Creepy and unsettling (but in a good way), with a superb ending.”
— Tim, Prairie Lights

“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.”
— Paul Di Filippo, Locus

“A ravishing, profane, and bittersweet post-apocalyptic bildungsroman transcends genre into myth.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Wasp is used the properties of her world that might be strange to the reader. And while one character offers a perspective on a more familiar world, that’s also not one with which we’re familiar. It can be dizzying, but in the way that works that reconfigure expectations often are. Call this novel YA, call it science fiction or science fantasy, call it a new mythology. But by all means, call it compelling.”
— Tobias Carroll, Vol. 1 Brooklyn

“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.”
School Library Journal

“This isn’t your typical YA novel. With myth, mystery, and heart, it is a post-apocalyptic world unlike anything you’ve ever read. Perfect for fans of Anna Dressed in Blood and science Fiction.”
YA Books Central

My new favorite forthcoming YA SF. And that’s all I’m going to say, because this book needs to pull you in and spin you around a couple times before leading you down its path.”
— Paula Willey, Baltimore County Public Library

“This is a lean, mean book with a lean, mean main character, and among all the post-apocalyptic dross, it’s pure gold.”
Geekly, Inc.

“GLORIOUSLY appealing and what I most like: Nicole Kornher-Stace’s Archivist Wasp. Throw this book in the face of anyone who suggests that the dystopian YA genre is all tapped out!”
— Jenny Davidson, The Explosionist

Early readers respond to Archivist Wasp

“The full adrenaline ride . . .  Kornher-Stace writes a mean action sequence.”
Publishers Weekly

Archivist Wasp is a gorgeous and complex book, featuring a deadly girl who traverses an equally deadly landscape. Wasp won me over, and she’s sure to find fans among teens and grown-ups alike.”
— Phoebe North, author of Starglass

“A tremendously inventive and smart novel. Archivist Wasp is like Kafka by way of Holly Black and Shirley Jackson, but completely original. Highly recommended.”
— Jeff VanderMeer, author of the Southern Reach trilogy

“Sharp as a blade and mythically resonant, Archivist Wasp is a post-apocalyptic ghost story unlike anything else I’ve read. Trust me, you want this book.”
— Karina Sumner-Smith, author of Radiant

“Brutal post-apocalypse meets sci-fi techno-thriller meets a ghost story for the ages in this astonishingly original novel from Nicole Kornher-Stace. You’ve never read anything like Archivist Wasp, but once you have you’ll be clamoring for more.”
— Mike Allen, author of Unseaming

“A gorgeous, disturbing, compelling book with a smart, complicated heroine who bestrides her post-apocalyptic world like a bewildered force of nature. Reading it was a wild ride and a thoroughly satisfying one.”
— Delia Sherman, author of The Freedom Maze

“One of the most revelatory and sublime books I’ve ever read, Archivist Wasp is a must-read for fans of post-apocalyptic fiction. Kornher-Stace is a genius, and I can’t wait to see what she does next!”
— Tiffany Trent, author of The Unnaturalists

Archivist Wasp turns destiny on its head, and it re-invents the world you know to do it. Strong. Fast. Addictive.”
— Darin Bradley, author of Noise and Chimpanzee

“Goes off like a firecracker in the brain: the haunted landscape, the sure-footed, blistering prose — and, of course, the heroine herself, the most excellent Archivist Wasp.”
— Kelly Link, author of Get in Trouble

Praise for Nicole Kornher-Stace’s writing:

“In richly textured, atmospheric prose, Kornher-Stace delivers a spellbinding tale of deception, betrayal, and the darker possibilities of playacting.”–Booklist

“Mesmerizing from the first page and once you get into its flow, a page turner to boot.”—Fantasy Book Critic

“Absorbing, exciting, intellectually fascinating, emotionally true and well-crafted, bobbles and all.”—Ideomancer

About the Author

Nicole Kornher-Stace lives in New Paltz, NY, with two humans, three ferrets, and more books than strictly necessary. Her short fiction has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, and Archivist Wasp is her second novel.

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