Tuesday 22 September 2015

Archivist Wasp

(September 2015)

Brought this without realizing it was YA. Heart sank a bit when I realized it was YA. Heart sank even further when I realized the protagonist was a teenage girl caught in a dystopian society and which compels her to fight her peers in an annual match to the death.

Heart rose, however, when I realized that she wasn't an idealized everywoman Mary Sue, but pretty unlikeable and fine with that, proud of her muscles, and a ghost hunter. Heart then continued to rise throughout the book. Good stuff, all told.

Wasp is a priestess (of a sort) whose job it is to study the ghosts that haunt her world before sending them on to oblivion. Her grim existence (suffering at the hands of a masochistic high priest) changes when she encounters a ghost who is not only fully formed (in contrast to the shambling shades she's used to encountering), but is also in need of her help. It turns out that he's a former super soldier who needs to track down his ex-partner. Wasp is then faced with a choice of turning her back on everything she knows to throw her lot in with this anomaly.

Trust and betrayal loom large throughout the book. The parallels between Wasp and the Ghost are revealed with skill, the pacing is spot-on, and the world is lightly but (very) evocatively sketched. If you can get over the slightly too familiar feeling of the opening couple of chapters (and the oddly spurious feeling of the final one) there's a great story to be had here. Doesn't quite live up to the cover blurbs ("Kafka by way of… Shirley Jackson." I mean, really), but then what does? Definitely one of the better books I've read this year.

No comments:

Post a Comment