- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Mythic Delirium Books (10 July 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0988912481
- ISBN-13: 978-0988912489
- Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 2.1 x 20.3 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 399 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
Latchkey: Book Two in the Archivist Wasp Saga Paperback – 10 Jul 2018
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“Latchkey is explosively imaginative. This narrative shimmers with rich characters and a nuanced mythology. Weaving throughout it like a trail of ink is a heartbreaking exploration of trauma and how we engage with the scars left behind by history. Readers will leave this world feeling as if they've drawn new breath.”
—Roshani Chokshi, New York Times–bestselling author of Aru Shah and the End of Time
“Latchkey peels away the layers of its past while pushing its characters into the future, offering the hope that out of the wreckage of old cruelty might come new dreams. Like a ghost caught in a loop, you’ll find yourself drawn in, not to escape until it’s done.”
—Marie Brennan, Hugo Award-nominated author of A Natural History of Dragons
“Like Catchkeep’s harvester knife, Latchkey will cut you up. ... Latchkey leaves other dystopias in the dust wallowing in More-of-the-Same. Kornher-Stace doesn’t do More-of-the-Same; she’s a strictly leave-her-readers-in-palpitations type of writer. Prepare to palpitate, and to read the entire novel in one go.”
—Ysabeau S. Wilce, Andre Norton Award-winning author of The Flora Trilogy and Prophecies, Libels and Dreams
“Nicole Kornher-Stace’s Latchkey is a completely unique and enthralling story. A blend of fantasy, paranormal and more that defies categorization, I couldn’t put it down.”
—Jennifer Brody, award-winning author of The 13th Continuum
“Latchkey vividly asks so many of the right questions about what memories linger after an apocalypse, for worse and for better. Surreal, beautifully rendered cross-genre action-adventure.”
—Fran Wilde, Andre Norton-winning, Nebula and Hugo-nominated author of Updraft and The Bone Universe Series
“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.”
—Liz Bourke, Locus
“What a great read! This surreal dreamscape of a book delves deeper into the unique world of the Andre Norton Award finalist Archivist Wasp.”
—Beth Cato, author of Breath of Earth
“Spine-tingling ghost encounters and tension sharp as razorwire make this a sequel well worth waiting for.”
—Tiffany Trent, award-winning author of The Unnaturalists
“The sequel to Nicole Kornher-Stace’s Archivist Wasp is a breathless rollercoaster ride through hope, despair, narrow escapes, and a history that refuses to die, built on a bedrock theme of community and friendship. All the characters are individual, convincing, and alive—including the dead ones.”
—Delia Sherman, author of The Evil Wizard Smallbone
“Wildly inventive, saturated with grit and guts and a wistful, calloused ephemerality, this is a book that lands with all the sting and palm-tingling impact of two partners joining hands before facing down impossible odds.”
—Brooke Bolander, Hugo-nominated author of The Only Harmless Great Thing
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
It can be rare for a sequel to be as good as the first book, let alone surpass it. And I didn't think Archivist Wasp could be surpassed. But Latchkey managed it.
All in all, these books reminded me a lot of A Canticle for Leibowitz, except with about 1000 times more hope.
The girl once known as Wasp has reclaimed her given name of Isabel, and she’s become a leader of the former upstarts. What was a group of individuals at odds with each other has become a community. But when raiders from the Waste arrive, the entire town of Sweetwater is under threat. Isabel comes up with the idea of hiding supplies and townspeople in the ancient tunnels beneath the town… but it turns out there’s a lot still lingering in those very same tunnels.
I don’t know if I love Latchkey quite as much as Archivist Wasp — I think Archivist Wasp may have had a stronger pacing and structure. Still, I really enjoyed Latchkey, and I’m glad to have read it.
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.
Urgh, okay, enough of me being emotional. On to a thematic difference I noticed between Archivist Wasp and Latchkey: individual relationships vs. community. Archivist Wasp has a small cast, and it’s focused on individual friendships. Latchkey dramatically enlarges the cast. Not only does Isabel have a friend, she now has multiple friends and has become something of a community leader. Much like friendship, community is something she’s never had before. And now it’s in danger. If Archivist Wasp was a Power of Friendship story, Latchkey is a Power of Community one. I think it’s a lovely growth from Archivist Wasp‘s original themes and shows growth in Isabel’s character. Namely, I think it’s the right move.
As you could probably guess from the title Latchkey, shows us more about the Latchkey Project, the program that created super soldiers such as Catherine Foster. As fitting with Latchkey‘s thematic material, the story looks beyond the relationship between the nameless ghost and Catherine to the other children in the program. What was their collective experience? What do Catherine and the ghost owe to them?
I think Latchkey relies a lot on you already having bonded with the central characters (although there was one new addition who I loved too), which is part of why I recommend it only to people who’ve already read Archivist Wasp. I don’t know if Latchkey is as strong a book as Archivist Wasp, but it’s still well worth reading.
I received an ARC in exchange for a free and honest review.
Wasp, now Isabel, is back in the town of Sweetwater. It's been several years since Isabel overthrew the Catchkeep-priest and, in the time since then, she's trained upstarts and townies alike how to defend themselves and their home. Good thing, too, since the Carrion Boys are about to attack Sweetwater for its resources.
Those who can't fight are hidden away in the underground wreckage of Before Times...but these ruins are also fulla ghosts - some of which Isabel knows, others she may have to destroy.
Will those underground survive? Will Isabel? Will the town make it through the marauding?
I love this series. I want more of it. It's a diverse cast fulla females and none of the relationships ever dive into sex. I mean, I love romantic subplots, but sometimes you just want a hardcore, believable female hero that doesn't stop to bang her buttons in the middle of a battle.
A buy-it. A gift-it. A definitely-read-the-next-one.
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