The bonds of family go well beyond blood.
But can those bonds hold when the blood itself carries a devastating secret?
Fenlee’s opal necklace had always radiated a certain warmth since her mother’s death. But now, at sixteen, her world begins to unravel as the stone sparks to life, revealing itself to be an otherworldly artifact of untold power.
Between her mechatronics studies at the academy and scavenging expeditions beneath the sprawling city of New Cascadia, Fenlee and her adopted brother, Elliot, try to decipher the mysteries of her necklace and its link to events in Fenlee’s past.
But they’re not alone in their search.
Strange undercity dwellers offer cryptic warnings, drones track their movements, and deadly corporate agents lurk in the shadows. When tragedy rips Fenlee’s family apart, she must learn to use the artifact’s power to save those who are deeply precious to her. But nothing can prepare her for the dark truths that she will uncover on that journey…
“Lee,” Elliot mumbled. “I’m not who you think I am.”
The book cover below includes alt-text.
This is book 1 in an emerging series.
The main character is Fenlee — a 16-year-old girl living in the lower tier of a city with her adopted brother and dad. She is definitely a badass in the best meaning of this word. Not a stereotypically "strong" action movie type of character, but a real and breathing person with flaws who makes mistakes while trying to do her best. She's passionate about mechatronics and wants to get a job at a well-known corporation to ensure a better life for her family, but because she's poor, she has to go on dangerous scavenging expeditions for mechanical parts to build her projects.
Her brother Elliot is a kind boy who cares about his sister, but... well, I don't want to spoil anything, so I'll just say that he has a secret.
There are more interesting characters who play an important role in the book, and I think the author did a great job making them feel like real people with their unique quirks and motivations. Some of them were quite weird, which made them even more entertaining to read about.
I enjoyed the wold-building a lot! Matty Roberts managed to create an immersive and very atmospheric post-apocalyptic cyberpunk city. The more I read, the more secrets and mysteries the world revealed, and I'm sure there will be more to discover in the next book(s).
The plot is straightforward and gripping, with twists and turns, a mystery to solve, a villain to defeat, a group of teens on a dangerous quest, a bit of angst and some real losses.
I loved Child of Etherclaw! It was very entertaining and easy to read. I kept coming back to the book and couldn't put it down even when it was time to go to sleep. I can't wait to see what's next in the series!
You might enjoy the book if you like YA sci-fi, cyberpunk / post-apocalyptic / dystopian settings, found family and mysterious artifacts.
Check out my interview with the author!
Matty Roberts began their career in journalism where they earned an Emmy and had the privilege of working on several other award-winning projects. They hold an MS from Johns Hopkins University and are now an engineer in renewable energy in Denver, Colorado where they live with their wonderful partner, two extraordinary kids, and the best doggie ever.
In addition to writing, engineering, and parenting, Matty is a vegan enby nerd who is in love with this world and will forever be doing all they can to make it a better place. And they may be known to occasionally play in a punk band here or there.