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-long 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.
So I found this book on John Scalzi's blog "Whatever" which I once again started visiting based on Hugos' related conversations. Apparently he likes to photograph copies of ARCs he gets sometimes and show pictures to the readers (because I certainly need more ways to be tempted by new books lol). I know it was crazy, but I bought this book not even based on the blurb which is usually the main reason I may be tempted by unknown author. Nope, the title alone swayed me - now this almost never happens, pretty much ever.
This is *not* a romance! It ends pretty well, it is just there is no romantic storyline in the book, or should I say it is possible that the ghost and his partner whom Archivist agreed to find for the ghost were romantically involved when they were alive, but it is just as possible that they were not. The book is listed as YA, and I guess it is based on the age of protagonist, but it is certainly not your cookie cutter one.
The blurb hints at Wasp being a chosen one and at the beginning it seems that she kind of is - chosen to be the Avatar of the Goddess Catchkeep to catch, study Ghosts and then destroy them with the Goddess' knife. Only the life of Archivist is a bleak one which Wasp wants to escape but Catchkeep's priest won't let her do it - she lives in the house alone with the minimum of comfort and priest makes other girls (upstarts) fight Archivist to death once a year to see if she can keep her title and she would rather not, but of course she wants to survive. The fight is described a bit in the beginning, but that's it - dark, horrible atmosphere was more upsetting than violence which one could finish imagining for one self.
Wasp does not finish killing the last upstart and she hopes that the girl survived but in couple of days priest meets her and with relish tells her that it took poor girl several hours to die on the street. It was interesting to me that such a horrible person as this man did not feel a caricature and I am not sure why.
Wasp is supposed to be destroying the ghosts she catches, but she lets go most of them - we can see that this girl did not completely forget kindness, but we can also see that she is almost at the end of her rope in the first quarter of the book.
And then the ghost finds her who can talk and communicate with her more clearly than any of the ghosts she caught before and he asks for her help in seemingly hopeless quest to find his long dead partner in the underworld and Wasp agrees and off they go...
I do not normally care for ghosts, but the writing was very engaging and I could not stop reading. The quest is all spoilers, so I will be quiet, but I highly recommend the book. Just note there is some violence in the underworld too - from the memories, but still it is there.
Twist at the end was fun in a sense that I did not see it.