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“Fierce, blazing, brilliant. The mythic and brutal world of Nicole Kornher-Stace’s Latchkey is so richly realized, you don’t step into it, you fall.” —Jacqueline West, New York Times–bestselling author of The Books of Elsewhere Isabel, once known as Wasp, has become leader of the fearsome upstarts, the teen girl acolytes who are adjusting to a new way of life after the ove “Fierce, blazing, brilliant. The mythic and brutal world of Nicole Kornher-Stace’s Latchkey is so richly realized, you don’t step into it, you fall.” —Jacqueline West, New York Times–bestselling author of The Books of Elsewhere Isabel, once known as Wasp, has become leader of the fearsome upstarts, the teen girl acolytes who are adjusting to a new way of life after the overthrow of the sadistic Catchkeep-priest. They live in an uneasy alliance with the town of Sweetwater—an alliance that will be tested to its limits by the dual threats of ruthless raiders from the Waste and a deadly force from the Before-time that awaits in long-hidden tunnels. Years ago Isabel befriended a nameless ghost, a supersoldier from the Before-time with incredible powers even after death, and their adventure together in the underworld gave her the strength and knowledge to change the brutal existence of the Catchkeep acolytes for the better. To save Sweetwater, Isabel will have to unlock the secrets of the twisted experimental program from centuries gone by that created the supersoldier and killed his friends: the Latchkey Project. Latchkey continues the story begun in Kornher-Stace’s widely acclaimed Archivist Wasp, an Andre Norton Award finalist that was selected by Kirkus Reviews as one of the Best Teen Books of 2015. More Praise for Latchkey “Nicole Kornher-Stace’s Latchkey is a little like retracing a war veteran’s scars with a scalpel and asking, ‘So. Does this hurt more than the original?’ It does, of course. Hurts good, hurts deep, this almost-familiar world that bleeds right into ours, where the only thing fiercer than ferocity is tenderness—though both talk equally as tough. After reading Latchkey, one starts seeing ruins superimposed over currently thriving structures. Every struggling patch of city lawn becomes a garden of ghost grass; every breezy puff of leftover winter holds the possibility of frostbite and vertigo and seeing the face of a long-lost friend once more. Has there ever been such longing, fueled by such darkness and adrenaline? Has there ever been such satisfaction, and at such a cost?” —C. S. E. Cooney, World Fantasy Award-winning author of Bone Swans “Building on the deeply-realized Archivist Wasp, in Latchkey we are given a world even more fallen and brutal, for now even the old order of the archivists is broken. Here, when heroes are hurt, they stay hurt; here, the survivors must endure trauma without the words to describe it; here, knowledge itself is both deeply suspect and humanity’s only hope. History itself, embodied by blood-hungry ghosts, by turns cannibalizes the living and provides the only way forward. And yet, for all the loss and bodily pain, Latchkey shows us the power of community and the worth, greater than diamonds, of courage. Cathartic, feminist, explosively imaginative and masterfully told, Kornher-Stace gives us a second-world fantasy that transports our minds while, time and again, it emotionally arrives.” —Carlos Hernandez, author of Sal and Gabi Break the Universe “What a great read! This surreal dreamscape of a book delves deeper into the unique world of the Andre Norton Award finalist Archivist Wasp, continuing a resilient heroine’s unusual friendship with a super-soldier ghost amid a far-future dystopia they both struggle to survive and understand.


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“Fierce, blazing, brilliant. The mythic and brutal world of Nicole Kornher-Stace’s Latchkey is so richly realized, you don’t step into it, you fall.” —Jacqueline West, New York Times–bestselling author of The Books of Elsewhere Isabel, once known as Wasp, has become leader of the fearsome upstarts, the teen girl acolytes who are adjusting to a new way of life after the ove “Fierce, blazing, brilliant. The mythic and brutal world of Nicole Kornher-Stace’s Latchkey is so richly realized, you don’t step into it, you fall.” —Jacqueline West, New York Times–bestselling author of The Books of Elsewhere Isabel, once known as Wasp, has become leader of the fearsome upstarts, the teen girl acolytes who are adjusting to a new way of life after the overthrow of the sadistic Catchkeep-priest. They live in an uneasy alliance with the town of Sweetwater—an alliance that will be tested to its limits by the dual threats of ruthless raiders from the Waste and a deadly force from the Before-time that awaits in long-hidden tunnels. Years ago Isabel befriended a nameless ghost, a supersoldier from the Before-time with incredible powers even after death, and their adventure together in the underworld gave her the strength and knowledge to change the brutal existence of the Catchkeep acolytes for the better. To save Sweetwater, Isabel will have to unlock the secrets of the twisted experimental program from centuries gone by that created the supersoldier and killed his friends: the Latchkey Project. Latchkey continues the story begun in Kornher-Stace’s widely acclaimed Archivist Wasp, an Andre Norton Award finalist that was selected by Kirkus Reviews as one of the Best Teen Books of 2015. More Praise for Latchkey “Nicole Kornher-Stace’s Latchkey is a little like retracing a war veteran’s scars with a scalpel and asking, ‘So. Does this hurt more than the original?’ It does, of course. Hurts good, hurts deep, this almost-familiar world that bleeds right into ours, where the only thing fiercer than ferocity is tenderness—though both talk equally as tough. After reading Latchkey, one starts seeing ruins superimposed over currently thriving structures. Every struggling patch of city lawn becomes a garden of ghost grass; every breezy puff of leftover winter holds the possibility of frostbite and vertigo and seeing the face of a long-lost friend once more. Has there ever been such longing, fueled by such darkness and adrenaline? Has there ever been such satisfaction, and at such a cost?” —C. S. E. Cooney, World Fantasy Award-winning author of Bone Swans “Building on the deeply-realized Archivist Wasp, in Latchkey we are given a world even more fallen and brutal, for now even the old order of the archivists is broken. Here, when heroes are hurt, they stay hurt; here, the survivors must endure trauma without the words to describe it; here, knowledge itself is both deeply suspect and humanity’s only hope. History itself, embodied by blood-hungry ghosts, by turns cannibalizes the living and provides the only way forward. And yet, for all the loss and bodily pain, Latchkey shows us the power of community and the worth, greater than diamonds, of courage. Cathartic, feminist, explosively imaginative and masterfully told, Kornher-Stace gives us a second-world fantasy that transports our minds while, time and again, it emotionally arrives.” —Carlos Hernandez, author of Sal and Gabi Break the Universe “What a great read! This surreal dreamscape of a book delves deeper into the unique world of the Andre Norton Award finalist Archivist Wasp, continuing a resilient heroine’s unusual friendship with a super-soldier ghost amid a far-future dystopia they both struggle to survive and understand.

30 review for Latchkey

  1. 4 out of 5

    Justine

    Archivist Wasp was one of my favourite books of 2015, so I was pretty excited to read Latchkey. I thought that the first book was complete as it was, but I was happy for more. I was worried that I might have forgotten some of the details, but Latchkey covers most of the main points and leads the reader through in the course of the story, so I felt caught up without it feeling at all repetitive. I really like Kornher-Stace's writing. She has a nice pace which makes Latchkey easy to read, with grea Archivist Wasp was one of my favourite books of 2015, so I was pretty excited to read Latchkey. I thought that the first book was complete as it was, but I was happy for more. I was worried that I might have forgotten some of the details, but Latchkey covers most of the main points and leads the reader through in the course of the story, so I felt caught up without it feeling at all repetitive. I really like Kornher-Stace's writing. She has a nice pace which makes Latchkey easy to read, with great forward momentum throughout most of the book. What I missed here a little was a bit of that feeling of the deeply personal that Archivist Wasp delivered. But I think that is probably a natural consequence of the story. The first book was a katabasis, both figuratively and literally, and Latchkey is the aftermath. The main character, Isabel, emerged from her journey a changed person who then changed her world. In the aftermath, she has a new landscape to navigate, and, if not exactly friends to consider, people she more or less trusts as much as she is able to and feels some shared responsibility with and for. The most compelling relationship though, the one I had the most desire to learn more about from the last book, is between Isabel and the still unnamed ghost soldier. There is so much there, so much that remained unspoken, and in Latchkey that tension remains and continues. Part of me wanted more, part of me understands why this is all I get. The tension for the reader therefore remains, but feels balanced and true to the characters. Overall, even though I didn't love this quite as much as Archivist Wasp, it still feels like a satisfying and important part of the overall story. The world created here is so unique, the characters so interesting, and the writing so compelling to read, that I really do hope there is another book forthcoming.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tatiana

    I am of two minds about Latchkey - I really love the characters and the author's style of writing and I was happy to revisit them in this book, but at the same time I thought Archivist Wasp was a perfectly complete story that didn't need any sequels, and I think so even more strongly now. I hate to say it, but Latchkey seems to me wholly unnecessary. The story takes place 3 years after the events of Archivist Wasp. Isabel (Wasp) and her fellow upstarts live peacefully enough free of the Catchkeep I am of two minds about Latchkey - I really love the characters and the author's style of writing and I was happy to revisit them in this book, but at the same time I thought Archivist Wasp was a perfectly complete story that didn't need any sequels, and I think so even more strongly now. I hate to say it, but Latchkey seems to me wholly unnecessary. The story takes place 3 years after the events of Archivist Wasp. Isabel (Wasp) and her fellow upstarts live peacefully enough free of the Catchkeep-priest. But after an earthquake, their town is attacked by a band of people whose village was destroyed in the disaster. A part of the plan to defend their place is for Isabel to hide the kids of the town underground, in the tunnels of Before-time. There she comes face to face not only with the ghost and Foster, but other victims of the Latchkey project, and they are not peaceful ghosts. While Archivist Wasp was a self-contained, aching tale of reclaiming selfhood, Latchkey is more of an adventure story, a Mad Max/X-Men with ghosts mashup, which is not a bad thing at all. I happen to think this cross-genre idea was realized by Kornher-Stace very well in Archivist Wasp. Here, however, the story doesn't have the same strength. What we learn about Latchkey kids is nothing shocking that we didn't anticipate from the glimpses of the project in the previous book. Mainly, the blanks are filled in that didn't need to be filled in. Latchkey ends on a cliff-hanger, but as much as I love the ghost and Foster, I don't think I need to know more about them. This is an odd case when the first book in a series is so great and so perfect, that everything that follows, even if objectively good, can't quite live up to it.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Patty Templeton

    Nicole Kornher-Stace is a goddess of grit and heartworn heroes. In Latchkey, book two of the Archivist Wasp Saga, the reader is hurled into a world of ruins, raiders, and lost tech. It’s a severe setting, and Kornher-Stace could’ve gone full grim future, but instead, she manifests character friendships that just may get the reader through the long dark of troubled times. Wasp, now Isabel, is back in the town of Sweetwater. It's been several years since Isabel overthrew the Catchkeep-priest and, Nicole Kornher-Stace is a goddess of grit and heartworn heroes. In Latchkey, book two of the Archivist Wasp Saga, the reader is hurled into a world of ruins, raiders, and lost tech. It’s a severe setting, and Kornher-Stace could’ve gone full grim future, but instead, she manifests character friendships that just may get the reader through the long dark of troubled times. 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 romances, but sometimes you just want a hardcore, believable female hero that doesn't just stop to bang her buttons in the middle of a battle. A buy-it. A gift-it. A definitely-read-the-next-one. *I received an advanced reader copy of this title.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Barb in Maryland

    [This review may contain spoilers for the first book} 4.5 stars for this fabulous sequel to 'Archivist Wasp'. I was both thrilled and scared when I learned of this book. Thrilled because I loved 'Archivist Wasp' and I wanted a chance to revisit that world; scared because I dreaded that it wouldn't live up to the first book or somehow ruin its world. Not to worry--the author had a firm grip on the story and its world. It is 3+ years since the events in 'Archivist Wasp'. Wasp is now know as Isabel an [This review may contain spoilers for the first book} 4.5 stars for this fabulous sequel to 'Archivist Wasp'. I was both thrilled and scared when I learned of this book. Thrilled because I loved 'Archivist Wasp' and I wanted a chance to revisit that world; scared because I dreaded that it wouldn't live up to the first book or somehow ruin its world. Not to worry--the author had a firm grip on the story and its world. It is 3+ years since the events in 'Archivist Wasp'. Wasp is now know as Isabel and she's the leader and teacher of the teenage girl acolytes who proved so fearsome at the end of the first book. They keep the shrine of the local god, Catchkeep, work on fighting skills, learn the crafts of ghost hunting and ghost management. They and the residents of Sweetwater may live close to each other, but it is not a comfortable situation. A natural disaster (earthquake) leads to an upset in the balance of power among the string of towns along the major trade route. Sweetwater soon finds itself the target of a roving band of cuthroats--quick shelter and safety are need for the most vulnerable, least able to fight. The Before-time tunnels under the town are deemed the best bet, even if there may be ghosts down there. Well, of course there are ghosts! We meet back up with Foster and her fellow, unnamed male, super-soldier from Archivist Wasp. We also meet more ghosts from the Latchkey Project, ghosts who have lots of power; power that Isabel needs to learn how to use or throttle. Isabel's search for more info on the people from Latchkey takes her back and forth between the dreamy ghost world and the real world. I really enjoyed the Latchkey mystery, I enjoyed meeting the townies, especially their leaders. I loved Isabel's second in command--young Sairy was a delight. I was thrilled to meet back up with nameless and Foster. The book ends very well--most story threads wrapped up and on an upbeat note. There is also room for more stories, should the author so choose. Please, MS Kornher-Stace, this reader would like some more.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    I was such a huge fan of Archivist Wasp. It’s one of the books I am always talking about and recommending to others. You might even say I’m an Archivist Wasp pusher. I was not expecting a sequel and I couldn’t click on “request” fast enough when I saw Latchkey on Netgalley. My expectations were sky high and I was a bit worried that it wouldn’t live up to its predecessor. Re-immersing myself in this broken world was an adjustment. I had forgotten just how bleak and hopeless it was. After the endin I was such a huge fan of Archivist Wasp. It’s one of the books I am always talking about and recommending to others. You might even say I’m an Archivist Wasp pusher. I was not expecting a sequel and I couldn’t click on “request” fast enough when I saw Latchkey on Netgalley. My expectations were sky high and I was a bit worried that it wouldn’t live up to its predecessor. Re-immersing myself in this broken world was an adjustment. I had forgotten just how bleak and hopeless it was. After the ending of “Archivist Wasp” I was hoping that Wasp/Isabel had earned if not a happy ending, at least a little bit of peace. Latchkey throws her right back into the fire with danger on all sides, above and below but also from the Now and from the Before. The nameless super-soldier ghost and Foster return and play a very large role in the action. As more is revealed about the program that made them into child soldiers, The Latchkey Project, it’s clear that it was even more heinous than Isabel knew from her visions in the last book. Everything about this book is haunting and heartbreaking. It is not a light-hearted, easy read but if you’ve read Archivist Wasp you wouldn’t be expecting sunshine and rainbows. The ending sets up another volume in the series, which I believe will be the conclusion to Isabel’s story. It isn’t a true cliff-hanger but I am dying to know what happens next! Thank you to Mythic Delirium Books for providing an Electronic Advance Reader Copy via NetGalley for review.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne Berget

    From the first ten pages I was hooked. Isabel is such a believable and wonderful character, and thanks to the author's incredible writing talent I really felt that Isabel was wrung out and damaged from the events of the first book, and I was continuosly amazed by her grit and willpower. In this book we get to learn a whole lot more about the Latchkey project, its operatives, Foster and the ghost, and holy hell, it will break your heart. I need more.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Idzie

    I received an ARC courtesy of NetGalley. I should probably tell you, first of all, that I don’t usually go for dystopian fantasy, mainly because I just don’t like cynical books about bad things happening endlessly with no hope for anything better, which is too often characteristic of the genre. It should then tell you something when I say I absolutely love this series. The first installment, Archivist Wasp, which came out in 2015, was a wonderfully original cross-genre surreal quest through the un I received an ARC courtesy of NetGalley. I should probably tell you, first of all, that I don’t usually go for dystopian fantasy, mainly because I just don’t like cynical books about bad things happening endlessly with no hope for anything better, which is too often characteristic of the genre. It should then tell you something when I say I absolutely love this series. The first installment, Archivist Wasp, which came out in 2015, was a wonderfully original cross-genre surreal quest through the underworld, or “ghost place,” where our titular character Wasp teams up with the ghost of a long dead super-soldier in order to find his missing companion (also a ghost, in case that wasn’t clear). It had a good ending: (view spoiler)[Wasp topples the centuries long oppressive religious order that has lead to a whole lot of young women’s deaths, and makes the bittersweet choice to pick life, and her fellow young women, above the dead companions she’s come to care for. (hide spoiler)] And with things having wrapped up the way they did, I honestly wasn’t sure how a sequel could capture the same wonderfully realized atmosphere and tension of the first book. But Latchkey did not disappoint. Set three years after the end of Archivist Wasp, Wasp has renamed herself Isabel, and has built a fragile home with her fellows. They trade with nearby towns, they learn self defense, they have chore rotations, and have just generally put a lot of effort into building a life very different from the violent one they were raised for. But then, when a raiding party is spotted heading their way, everything changes. Seeking refuge in the underground tunnels of a centuries, likely millenia, old facility, remnants of a long dead civilization from Before, Isabel is soon reunited with the ghost who seems to understand her better than anyone else, as the past and present collide once more. This story is marvelously atmospheric: the endless, oppressive tunnels, ghosts in various stages of decay around every corner, and the thinnest of separations between the world Isabel travels and the memories of those long dead. I love the deep bond between Isabel and the ghost (we never know his name), and the fact it’s bonds of friendship and loyalty, not romance, that takes center stage throughout. I’m also endlessly fascinated by everything we continue to learn about the Before, about the super-soldier project and how it ended, and about what exactly the super-powered ghosts of those soldiers are capable of. There are clues in this book that have me VERY eager to learn more in coming installments… If I have any criticisms at all, it’s that both the beginning and ending drag a little: in the beginning it felt pretty fitting, as we learn about what Isabel’s life has become in the interim, but I do feel like the ending could have been wrapped up a bit quicker and to greater effect. But the majority of the book was so deeply engrossing, fast-paced and sometimes a little bit horrifying, so if the ending wasn’t perfect, the whole was still so good I can easily forgive that. This is an excellent series, setting itself apart both by it’s failure to stick to any one genre and in telling a story that is enduringly optimistic in a wasteland of a world filled with the ghosts--both literal and figurative--of what came before. I cannot wait to see what the author does next.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Karyn Silverman

    I have to think about this a lot before I say much, but overall first impression: it took a little while to hit its stride; once it did, deeply satisfying. Not the equal of book 1, but that just means it’s not as much better than most of everything else. Which is to say, still better than most of everything else.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lukasz

    Actual rating: 3.5/5 The Latchkey continues the story began in Archivist Wasp. Isabel, once known as Wasp, has become the leader of the upstarts. Adjustment to a new way of life isn't easy, especially that Sweetwater inhabitants have mixed feeling about whole archivists and ghosts business. When ruthless raiders from the Waste and a deadly force from the Before-time that awaits in long-hidden tunnels appear, things get extremely dangerous for all. To save ex-upstarts and Sweetwater, Isabel will h Actual rating: 3.5/5 The Latchkey continues the story began in Archivist Wasp. Isabel, once known as Wasp, has become the leader of the upstarts. Adjustment to a new way of life isn't easy, especially that Sweetwater inhabitants have mixed feeling about whole archivists and ghosts business. When ruthless raiders from the Waste and a deadly force from the Before-time that awaits in long-hidden tunnels appear, things get extremely dangerous for all. To save ex-upstarts and Sweetwater, Isabel will have to unlock the secrets of the twisted experimental program from centuries gone. Isabel isn't alone. She's accompanied by her friendly ghosts that also happen to be killing machines easily excited by human blood. The world presented in Latchkey is brutal. The post-apocalyptic scenery and decaying society are portrayed in a suggestive, sometimes uncomfortable way. It seems that only history buried deep in the tunnels can help to discover a solution that will save others. It’s a bigger and longer book than Archivist Wasp. There are more characters, more action scenes, more depth and more intriguing questions finally answered. The story focuses on Ghost, Foster, and Isabel, but upstarts, especially a fierce young lady called Sairy get nice exposition as well. Before you get attached to someone bare in mind that this time Nicole Kornher-Stacey holds no punches. Things get painful, and we experience quite a lot of trauma (both in the past and in the present). Characters are portrayed in a suggestive, layered way. Despite this, I have a problem with them. I just can't relate to Isabel, and lack of emotional engagement in the story decreased my reading pleasure. It's subjective. I can see other readers rooting actively for her. Pacing is uneven. At times the story moves too fast, at times too slow (especially in the beginning). There were lots of tedious bits, and portions of text that didn't move the plot forward. The writing is dense and good. On the other hand, I must confess I find some of the similes and stylistic choices awkward (although they'll be poetic to others). Here are two examples: She barely registered straightening, sheathing her sword, breaking into a dead run, plowing into that knot of raiders like a meteor. She was moving out of time with the living world, half here half gone, and they didn’t even see her coming until she was already among them and they were falling around her like autumn leaves. I'm not sure if it's intended as a sharp contrast between abruptness of the attack and mayhem and serene, slow-motion falling autumn leaves? I know that it doesn't work for me. Chooser knew what she did to the next two guards, but it was too fast for Isabel to figure out. Only that one of them went down with the whole side of his skull caved in like a stomped windfall plum, and the other one was sliding on her own red trail down the rear wall of the house across the road. Overall, I enjoyed this story, although I'm not in love with it. Some parts were brilliant and enthralling while other not so much. As the book felt uneven for me, I'll set the score to 3.5 shining stars. I received the copy of the book from NetGalley.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Evan Jensen

    Everything I loved about Wasp and more.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Debbie Gascoyne

    Wonderful characters, beautifully written - just so good. Only not five stars because it's not _quite_ as good as Archivist Wasp (what could be?). I found the middle section a bit confusing, but overall it has a similar emotional punch to its predecessor, and just enough gravitas to carry it far beyond the run-of-the- mill YA novel (thank god for a sustained 3rd-person POV!!)

  12. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Muenzler

    More, please! :)

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sarah (CoolCurryBooks)

    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, and this review will contain spoilers for Archivist Wasp. 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 individu 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, and this review will contain spoilers for Archivist Wasp. 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. Review from The Illustrated Page. I received an ARC in exchange for a free and honest review.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Deirdre

    anyway uhhhh this book put my heart through the wringer and it’s just so well written and moves at a breakneck pace and has even tighter plotting than archivist wasp??? heck??? i may or may not have cried at certain points 11/10 these books just keep getting better and im very very hopeful for a third one

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kaitlyn

    First thing--this is a sequel and you should read the first book before picking this up. It's good, I promise. There's a lot of character and worldbuilding you'd be missing out on, and while Latchkey doesn't pick up exactly where Archivist Wasp left off, this story is a clear continuation of what came before (vs something episodic like the Dresden Files). (Which, by the way, I find pretty impressive--the first wraps up neatly enough to stand alone, though I am thrilled to pieces to have a sequel First thing--this is a sequel and you should read the first book before picking this up. It's good, I promise. There's a lot of character and worldbuilding you'd be missing out on, and while Latchkey doesn't pick up exactly where Archivist Wasp left off, this story is a clear continuation of what came before (vs something episodic like the Dresden Files). (Which, by the way, I find pretty impressive--the first wraps up neatly enough to stand alone, though I am thrilled to pieces to have a sequel.) But rest assured you're getting the same post-apocalypse scifi ghost story witch's brew as the first time around. Wasp, now going by Isabel, has managed an uneasy truce between Catchkeep's traumatized former acolytes and the town of Sweetwater even as she tries to recover from her long journey through the underworld. But the death of the high priest is a signal that perhaps the goddess no longer favors Sweetwater, that she has abandoned them for their blasphemy and the town is ripe for the picking. As raiders approach, the town looks to Isabel as Archivist to divine Catchkeep's will, to come up with a way to keep them safe--do they retreat into the barren wastes to risk starvation, or stay and risk a slaughter? And all the while Isabel has to deal with the consequences of her near-death experiences, of the strange hold that the underworld has on her and of her mysterious connection to Catherine Foster, spectral super-soldier extraordinaire. I read this for free through Netgalley, though I would have bought it anyway on the strength of the first. I mean, if you'll notice, I read it in two days to the detriment of my beauty sleep. I'm also 100% going to buy the third book--do you hear me, Mythic Delirium? I will buy a third book!

  16. 5 out of 5

    LaRonda (Flying Paperbacks)

    You can see my full review here! *I received an eArc of this book from the Publishers through Netgalley in exchange of an honest review* I was highly anticipating this sequel and it did not disappoint. The first half was a bit slow, but as soon as old characters make a presence, I started getting into the story more. Throughout this book, I stayed on the edge of my seat. I didn't know who was going to die or live and figuring out the mystery of the Latchkey project was great. I'd love a book three You can see my full review here! *I received an eArc of this book from the Publishers through Netgalley in exchange of an honest review* I was highly anticipating this sequel and it did not disappoint. The first half was a bit slow, but as soon as old characters make a presence, I started getting into the story more. Throughout this book, I stayed on the edge of my seat. I didn't know who was going to die or live and figuring out the mystery of the Latchkey project was great. I'd love a book three, because I still have so many questions. 04/30--I don't think I'm smart enough for this ending because I think I get it? 04/03--THERE'S A SEQUEL, GUYS IVE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS DVMUESFNMKYGDSCBJYTJYRFV O.O

  17. 5 out of 5

    Hesione

    I'M FDSOGF N AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA ARCHIVIST WASP IS GETTING A SEQUEL (though it would've been fine staying a standalone. but. still.)

  18. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    Fans of ARCHIVIST WASP will be thrilled to learn that a new Wasp story publishes on July 10th, 2018. We were lucky to secure a preview of the sequel, and are happy to report that it's just as intense, fascinating, and strange as the first installment from Nicole Kornher-Stace. LATCHKEY begins three years after the conclusion of ARCHIVIST WASP, at a time when Wasp--now known as Isabel--and the other residents of Sweetwater have finally found some kind of precarious peace among the devastation of t Fans of ARCHIVIST WASP will be thrilled to learn that a new Wasp story publishes on July 10th, 2018. We were lucky to secure a preview of the sequel, and are happy to report that it's just as intense, fascinating, and strange as the first installment from Nicole Kornher-Stace. LATCHKEY begins three years after the conclusion of ARCHIVIST WASP, at a time when Wasp--now known as Isabel--and the other residents of Sweetwater have finally found some kind of precarious peace among the devastation of the Waste. Unfortunately for Isabel but fortunately for readers, that peace doesn't last long, as raiders are soon spotted on the horizon following a devastating earthquake. Isabel and the ex-upstarts must join with the town leadership to decide what to do, which is quite the burden on Isabel given the preceding fall of the Catchkeep priest, who used to lead in times like these. What follows is a harrowing journey for not only Isabel but the town at large, when events unfold in a way that threatens not only their physical town but their ultimate survival. As always, life is fleeting in the Waste, and Kornher-Stace does not shy from a realistic loss of life in the ensuing confrontation, which left this reader's heart thumping. Fans of the ghost and Foster can rest assured that the dynamic ghost duo makes a return, and in circumstances that challenge Isabel to once again reconsider her relationship with ghosts and this time, how the citizens of Sweetwater should view them, too. A satisfying sequel that takes a little while to get going, but once it does, is a late night page-turner. (We received an ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.)

  19. 5 out of 5

    Adri Joy

    Latchkey takes the genre-bending mythology of Archivist Wasp and grounds it in a bigger, busier world, creating a different but worthy reading experience. First, a confession: I was never on the Archivist Wasp bandwagon when it first came out. While it was on my radar, it never quite bubbled up to the top of the list, and by last year it was just another title to sigh over when browsing the Small Beer Press catalogue. Maybe someday, I thought, once I've read all the other books, I can read that o Latchkey takes the genre-bending mythology of Archivist Wasp and grounds it in a bigger, busier world, creating a different but worthy reading experience. First, a confession: I was never on the Archivist Wasp bandwagon when it first came out. While it was on my radar, it never quite bubbled up to the top of the list, and by last year it was just another title to sigh over when browsing the Small Beer Press catalogue. Maybe someday, I thought, once I've read all the other books, I can read that one... Anyway, it turns out the fastest way to push a book up your to-be-read pile is to win an ARC of its sequel, and thanks to the generosity of Mythic Delirium, Latchkey's publisher, I ended up doing just that. While I'll focus the rest of this review on talking about the book whose title is at the top of the page, let me just quickly note two things. First, my response to Archivist Wasp is that it's an objectively very accomplished and unusual book that was enjoyable but didn't quite hit me in the way it seems to have done for others. (It also needs noting that this is a rare female-led YA without any romance plot). Second, it's going to be hard for me to review Latchkey without comparing it to its predecessor, which means there will be mild spoilers for Archivist Wasp itself. If you haven't had the pleasure of the first volume yet, I recommend you do so before reading on. Latchkey opens several years after the events of Archivist Wasp, in a post-apocalyptic world where the ghosts of the dead are a constant presence. Isabel, formerly known as Wasp, used to be the Archivist - a young woman chosen through ritual combat to be the ghost hunter for a religious sect dedicated to an entity named Catchkeep. Following her adventures in the Underworld with a nameless ghost, learning about a pre-apocalyptic child soldier project called "Latchkey", Isabel has overthrown the abusive systems governing her own life and that of the girls around her (who, side note, were all being trained up to murder her in ritual combat themselves), and built a tentative relationship with the neighbouring town of Sweetwater. But her upbringing and experiences in the underworld have left Isabel with serious trauma, and its hard for her to connect with communities of people who had previously seen her as a rival or a weapon. In Latchkey, an existential threat to the village collides with the (literal) return of ghosts from Isabel's past, as it becomes clear that the route to saving her people's future, and to helping undo some of the harm inflicted on the ghosts of the Latchkey Project, are inextricably linked and in Isabel's hands... Read the full review at: http://www.nerds-feather.com/2018/08/...

  20. 5 out of 5

    Suzi

    Archivist Wasp was like a legend - tightly plotted, focusing in on two characters on a mission. Latchkey is like what happens to the characters in a legend after the story is over. They keep living their lives but without the overwhelming focus of a specific goal. Things are more messy, there are more characters, more community, they have to figure out how to live with each other and think more laterally. And not only are they living post legend, they are reaching back into their pasts to find t Archivist Wasp was like a legend - tightly plotted, focusing in on two characters on a mission. Latchkey is like what happens to the characters in a legend after the story is over. They keep living their lives but without the overwhelming focus of a specific goal. Things are more messy, there are more characters, more community, they have to figure out how to live with each other and think more laterally. And not only are they living post legend, they are reaching back into their pasts to find the origins of the legends they’ve been living. I am so pleased there are strong friendships and no romance in these books. Although I might be shipping poly asexual ghost triad life (death?) partners.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lara

    Guh, this series is so, so good! I thought the first one was a stand-alone, but when this book came out, of course I preordered it immediately, even though...well, the first book is so perfectly complete and wonderful as is that I wasn't sure what on earth the sequel would even be about, and how could it possibly be as good as the first one? But it was, albeit in different ways. Also, I have realized that...I might have a very slight crush on the ghost, and this is a series that is just begging Guh, this series is so, so good! I thought the first one was a stand-alone, but when this book came out, of course I preordered it immediately, even though...well, the first book is so perfectly complete and wonderful as is that I wasn't sure what on earth the sequel would even be about, and how could it possibly be as good as the first one? But it was, albeit in different ways. Also, I have realized that...I might have a very slight crush on the ghost, and this is a series that is just begging for fan fic, only THERE ISN'T ANY! And I'm not gonna write it, so if anyone's taking requests... Ahem. Anyway, I just...you should read this if you like strong, prickly female protagonists, ghosts, super soldiers, the far distant future meshed with the less distant future, creepy tunnels, mysteries, a lack of overt romance, great dialogue, mythology, nameless characters, friendship and loyalty... Fair warning, it can be a bit slow at times, and a bit confusing at times, but both of those things actually work for me. I will probably be reading this again soonish.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jenni

    This was amazing. Wrenching, satisfying, brutal, compassionate, hopeful, glorious. (Also it is SO REFRESHING to read a book containing absolutely no romance.)

  23. 5 out of 5

    Cindy

    My heart :'(

  24. 4 out of 5

    Hamti

    Aaaah! Also, ich war schon sehr begeistert von Archivist Wasp aber Latschkey, ne? Es ist einfach noch mal um Längen besser! Ich mag sehr, wie es an das erste Buch anknüpft, wie schnell man mit den neuen Charakteren warm wird, auch wenn man gerade am Anfang alte noch unglaublich vermisst. Ich war nicht darauf vorbereitet, in welcher Richtung der Plot gehen würde. Aber es hat mir ziemlich gut gefallen. Okay, meine Fragen wurden immer noch nicht alle beantwortet aber dann muss es wohl einen dritten Aaaah! Also, ich war schon sehr begeistert von Archivist Wasp aber Latschkey, ne? Es ist einfach noch mal um Längen besser! Ich mag sehr, wie es an das erste Buch anknüpft, wie schnell man mit den neuen Charakteren warm wird, auch wenn man gerade am Anfang alte noch unglaublich vermisst. Ich war nicht darauf vorbereitet, in welcher Richtung der Plot gehen würde. Aber es hat mir ziemlich gut gefallen. Okay, meine Fragen wurden immer noch nicht alle beantwortet aber dann muss es wohl einen dritten Band geben! Ich kann nicht viel zum Plot sagen, ohne zu spoilern, also beschränke ich mich auf ein paar Eindrücke. Dinge, die ich unglaublich gerne mag: Das Setting. Wie diese Welt funktioniert, ist so faszinierend, aber auch die Orte in dieser Welt und besonders in diesem Teil waren genau mein Ding. Der Genre-Mix. Wird noch weiter ausgereizt, noch weiter miteinander verwoben, funktioniert immer besser. Wie manche der Fragen beantwortet werden, ist meiner Meinung nach richtig genial. So viele coole Ideen. Die Charaktere! Und ganz besonders die Dialoge, mit und ohne Worte. Ich habe gelacht und geweint. Und diese Szenen, zwischen den Charakteren, die machen das Buch zu etwas besonderem, viel mehr als der Plot an sich. Die Atmosphäre. Bedrückend, verzweifelt, melancholisch, bittersweet, mit einer Prise Hoffnung. Diese Figuren erleben so viele furchtbare Dinge. Sie wissen, dass das was sie am meisten wollen, unmöglich ist. Und dennoch sammeln sie ihre letzten Kräfte zusammen, um doch noch einen Weg zu finden, sich doch noch nicht gegenseitig aufzugeben. Ich bin immer noch begeister von diesen starken und innigen Freundschaften und der tiefen platonischen Liebe zwischen den Charakteren, die einem auf jeder Seite schmerzhaft bewusst ist. Man ist mittlerweile so konditioniert, einen romantischen Plot an manchen Stellen zu erwarten und ich bewundere die Autorin einfach dafür, dass sie trotz Druck mancher Verleger keine romantische Liebesgeschichte eingebaut hat. Würde auch nicht zu der Story oder den Charakteren passen. (Mein Shipper-Herz weint zwar ein bisschen aber wozu gibt es Fanfiction...) Dinge, die ich nicht so gerne mag: Mein einziger Kritikpunkt ist, dass zu viele Actionszenen für meinen Geschmack zu excessiv ausgebaut sind. Ein paar hätten ausgelassen werden können und ein paar kürzer gefasst. Ich wundere mich, dass es am Ende überhaupt Überlebende gibt, bei all der Zerstörung unterwegs.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mara

    Isabel has some serious wounds, but then there's a big fight, so she just has to power through. Then the ceiling falls in (literally), but the ghost helps her. Then she's even more wounded, but there's another big fight, so she continues to power through. Then the ceiling falls in, again (literally - Isabel's in a network of underground tunnels), but the ghost helps her again. Then she and the ghost are both in trouble, but the gears click in her mind and she figures out a solution, which is tot Isabel has some serious wounds, but then there's a big fight, so she just has to power through. Then the ceiling falls in (literally), but the ghost helps her. Then she's even more wounded, but there's another big fight, so she continues to power through. Then the ceiling falls in, again (literally - Isabel's in a network of underground tunnels), but the ghost helps her again. Then she and the ghost are both in trouble, but the gears click in her mind and she figures out a solution, which is totally risky and probably won't work, but it's their only chance... annnnd it works, and they live to have the ceiling fall in on them again (literally). Meanwhile, there's like a mystery, and some feelings, and Isabel keeps falling into the ghost-place and no-one knows why, and people fighting aboveground too, and it's really just a big mess. But Isabel is undaunted - actually, that's a lie, she's totally daunted, but she knows the fate of ... everything? ... is at stake. There, now you don't have to read the book.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Belinda Lewis

    I was in a weird place when I read this. (More and more I realise that loving a book is more about the synchronicity of the delusions of the writer and the reader, rather than an objective measure of a books worth. Unless its a shite book, that is something you can tell). So this was good book, but I don't know if it was a great book. Archivist Wasp was life-changing - this wasn't. But its clearly a life-changing universe and the problem might have been me - so I seriously recommend reading Latchk I was in a weird place when I read this. (More and more I realise that loving a book is more about the synchronicity of the delusions of the writer and the reader, rather than an objective measure of a books worth. Unless its a shite book, that is something you can tell). So this was good book, but I don't know if it was a great book. Archivist Wasp was life-changing - this wasn't. But its clearly a life-changing universe and the problem might have been me - so I seriously recommend reading Latchkey anyway.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    The sequel I didn’t know I needed and now I just want more!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    Latchkey is the sequel to Archivist Wasp which I read and enjoyed a couple of years ago. I didn’t expect a sequel (the storyline in AW is complete) so was excited to see Latchkey listed as part of the LibraryThing's Early Reviewer's programme recently. For a description of Latchkey and AW I’m going to defer to the author’s description in the acknowledgements: ’a weird little cross-genre novel about a far-future post-apocalyptic ghosthunter priestess, the ghost of a near-future genetically-enhance Latchkey is the sequel to Archivist Wasp which I read and enjoyed a couple of years ago. I didn’t expect a sequel (the storyline in AW is complete) so was excited to see Latchkey listed as part of the LibraryThing's Early Reviewer's programme recently. For a description of Latchkey and AW I’m going to defer to the author’s description in the acknowledgements: ’a weird little cross-genre novel about a far-future post-apocalyptic ghosthunter priestess, the ghost of a near-future genetically-enhanced supersoldier, and their adventures in the underworld’ Latchkey is slow-moving in comparison with other young adult books but I enjoyed the slower pace and the focus on friendships between Isabel and the other upstarts and Isabel and the ghosts (it's very refreshing to read a YA book with absolutely no romance and I understand this is a deliberate choice on the author's part). Whilst the post-apocalyptic world can be dark the focus on friendships and the way the different people in the world end up coming together to try to help each other means there’s quite an optimistic feel overall. Although the stories in each book are complete it still feels like there’s a lot to learn about the Before-time and what happened to the ghosts and to the world and I hope Kornher-Stace has plans to reveal more about these elements in future books. I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ingenue

  30. 4 out of 5

    Katherine Lois

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