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Matty Roberts Author Interview

Child of Etherclaw follows two siblings as they investigate the mystery behind an opal necklace and its otherworldly powers, encountering danger along the way. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

Child of Etherclaw began as a short story exploring a rather radical approach to climate change mitigation—the Void Pillars. These are the massive hollow superstructures that reach into space and act as heat sinks that cool the planet. When I started to consider how they could be constructed, who (or what) could construct them, and why, that short story quickly took on a novel length. Most importantly, it turned out to also be the perfect setting for several characters that had been banging around loudly in my head for years, demanding to be written about.

Fenlee discovers her life is not as simple as she suspected as she discovers more about her family and her past. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

One of the reasons I love young adult fiction is the growth arcs of the characters. Fenlee is no exception. With her, I wanted to portray a character who could be considered “strong” but is realistically flawed, and has to overcome moments of weakness and doubt. A great deal of Fenlee’s strength comes from her friends and her family, and as fiercely independent as she wishes herself to be, she must come to terms with the fact that she needs them as much as they need her. As the story moves along, Fenlee’s motivations also change as she begins to see the true depths and darkness of the world around her. Getting knocked down repeatedly but continuing to get back up for both yourself and those around you is a real challenge, but Fenlee is up to it, despite the odds.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Found family has always been one of my favorite themes, and one that I wanted to make central to Child of Etherclaw. There are so many different ways to explore family dynamics, but when non-biologically related characters get mushed together in an unlikely living situation, their personalities really tend to shine through in their interactions. I believe this is largely because there isn’t the expectation of the same sort of “default loyalty” we afford to those we’re related to; how we treat found family shows us who we really are. It was also important to me to ensure the feeling of hope. While this may be a dystopian novel, it’s not without positivity. I wanted to demonstrate that, no matter what the world around us looks like, we can always make it a better place, even in small ways.

What is the next book in the series going to hold for readers, and when will it be available?

The next book is currently set for release in late 2023. There are a number of things hinted at throughout Child of Etherclaw, such as certain characters’ backgrounds and mysteries around how the world got to its current state, which will be answered in the next book. A dire threat, much darker than anything in Child of Etherclaw, will also emerge, and certain characters’ roles and destinies will become clearer.

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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.”

Child of Etherclaw 

Humanity was on the brink of extinction, their last days upon them. That is, until the mysterious entities known as Aeons arrived and gave the humans of earth a second chance. Now, under the control of a universal conglomerate, the world begins anew. Fenlee and her brother Elliot are two poor children, who spend their days scavenging the now abandoned undercity for anything they can sell. When Fenlee has her life saved by a stranger, it sets off a chain of events that will not only change her completely but also affect the lives of those closest to her.

Child of Etherclaw by Matty Roberts is a riveting young adult, sci-fi adventure that is set in an intriguing dystopian future. The story follows Fenlee and her younger brother, Elliot, two young scavengers. One day, Fenlee has her life saved and discovers a secret about herself, her family and her future that will have her question everything she ever knew.

I enjoyed the unique and detailed world that Roberts has created in this futuristic story. The backstory feels deep and is well suited for the methodical plot that unfolds slowly and in interesting ways. This creates a fantastic foundation for what can be a fascinating series where the ideas in this novel are fleshed out and explored further.

If you are a fan of dystopian fiction then you will find yourself right at home with Matty Roberts’ cyberpunk thriller. I enjoyed the diversity in the characters and wanted to see them develop further; which is one of the reasons why I can see this being a series where the characters go through more evolution. This is a novel that thrives on its compelling plot and its ability to wield genre tropes to great effect. If this is your first foray into young adult science fiction then this novel will feel fresh and exciting.

The author has created a compelling universe for their intriguing plot to wind through. Child of Etherclaw is an engrossing post-apocalyptic story that will send readers on a spellbinding adventure.

Pages: 350 | ASIN: B09WKQPRWM

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