BOOKS
Latchkey
336p. (Archivist Wasp Saga: Vol. 2). Mythic Delirium. Jul. 2018. pap. $17.95. ISBN 9780988912489.
COPY ISBN
OrangeReviewStarGr 7-10—Archivist Wasp fans, prepare to be delighted. This follow-up finds Isabel three years later, living in relative peace, until a neighboring city's army begins advancing. Tasked with sheltering (or killing, if it comes to that) the town's children in an underground tunnel maze, Isabel encounters her old friends—ghosts, relics of the Before-Time. The ghosts act as intermediaries, helping her navigate and decipher the rules of the underground, as well as protecting her. Isabel and her friends face danger from the invaders and the ghosts, and Isabel must uncover what happened in the Before-Time to release these latchkey ghosts from their purgatory. This dystopian/horror genre mash-up features a far-future postapocalyptic ghost-hunter priestess and the ghost of a near-future genetically enhanced supersoldier. These ghosts have human form, silver blood, and weapons. Kornher-Stace's masterly writing skillfully explains this wildly inventive world throughout. There is no clumsy recap of the previous volume, but references to the first installment blend seamlessly into the narrative. Genre fiction fans who prefer their speculative tales without romance will appreciate this action-packed work. This plot-driven sequel has very little character development outside of Isabel. An open ending leaves room for another series entry, but this also works as a standalone.
VERDICT Teens who enjoy reading extended fight scenes and want immersion in an extraordinary world will enjoy Kornher-Stace’s second act. A strong choice for speculative fiction shelves.

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