Today I’ll be reviewing Child of Clay, by Fiona Skye. This is the first book in her series “Those Who Are Awake”. Here’s the cover and blurb:
Abandoned at birth on the steps of a Catholic orphanage, Jerrilyn Seton spent most of her childhood learning about the saints and angels, serving Jesus, and suffering the sisters’ tough discipline, until they, too, abandoned her. Despite this, she still relies on her faith to help her with her work as a ghost hunter. But not once has she ever received an answer to her prayers.
Now Jerrilyn hears whispers in the dark, a strange voice that hints at hidden knowledge about her origins and the fate of the world. How are they connected? What will she sacrifice to become one of Those Who Are Awake?
|Character and Dialogue||19 points|
|Setting and Description||20 points|
|Plot and Creativity||18 points|
|Technical Ability||20 points|
|Cover and Blurb||18 points|
- Very believable, relatable characters who sound like real people.
- Excellent description with vivid imagery.
- Exciting and fast-paced, definitely a bit of a twist I didn’t see coming.
- Near-perfect technical ability, very nicely done.
- Great cover, blurb starts out slow but picks up interest quickly.
Keep reading for the detailed review.
Character and Dialogue: 19 points
One of the things I liked about this book is that all of the characters are extremely believable. Even when the events happening around them are literally supernatural, I never had any trouble believing that they could be happening. Part of that believability comes from the author’s way of presenting characters that have flaws. Jerrilyn makes a living helping people, but she also has trust issues, and doubts her own conviction sometimes. Her faith is one of the foundations of her life, but she comes to realize that it’s been shaken by the events of both her past and the present. It’s nice to read about a character who’s religious and not at all annoying about it.
Another part I really liked about Child of Clay is how the characters talk to each other. A big part of the believability I mentioned above comes from dialogue—they just sound like real people. Nothing pulls me out of a story faster than stilted, artificial dialogue, and I’m happy to say there was none of that in this book.
Setting and Description: 20 points
Descriptions are clearly one of this author’s strong points. Right from the first page, the reader is presented with a vivid depiction of where the characters are and what is going on around them. It’s easy to get sucked right into the pages of the book, feeling like you’re right there next to Jerri, watching the events unfold firsthand.
This book is written from a first person POV, so we don’t get a lot of detail on Jerrilyn’s physical appearance. There’s no clichéd “standing in front of a mirror” moment, for which I am thankful. A few bits here and there is enough to give me a feel for her. Since we’re seeing the world through her eyes, it makes sense not to focus a lot on herself. In contrast, all of the other characters in the book are described in rich detail, often complete with mental commentary from Jerri.
Plot and Creativity: 18 points
Child of Clay is an exciting read for the most part. The plot progresses quickly, with only a few moments of slowdown. Even when things were going a bit more slowly, though, it’s never so far as to make it dull. The pace is pretty much exactly what you’d expect from the life of person who travels around the country exorcising ghosts—longish periods of relative inactivity punctuated by short bursts of adrenaline and terror.
The story reminds me a lot of the TV show Supernatural, especially the earlier seasons. In fact, I would say that if you’re fan of that show, you’ll probably like this book.
I’ve read a lot of books involving ghosts and the occult, and this book does a very good job of making you think the story’s going to go one way, then turning off in a very different direction.
Technical Ability: 20 points
I didn’t catch any typos or grammar mistakes reading through this book. The point of view never shifts away from being inside Jerrilyn’s head. Everything fits together nicely, and the sentences flow smoothly. Not much to say here; it all looks good.
Cover and Blurb: 18 points
Child of Clay’s cover is extremely professional looking and honestly kind of terrifying. I’m not going to give away any details, but it does relate to the story in a very important way. If I came across it in a bookstore, I would definitely have to at least pick it up and glance at the back, which is exactly what the author is hoping for.
The blurb is a great introduction to the character, but doesn’t give a lot of information about the story itself. I’m not necessarily saying this is a bad thing; reading the back of the book had me wondering what was going to happen to Jerrilyn, and since I couldn’t get any more detail from the blurb, well, I just had to read the book, didn’t I? I will admit that the first half of the blurb didn’t make the story sound especially interesting to me, but that was more than made up for by the second half.
As I mentioned in an earlier review, I’m not generally a fan of blurbs that end in a question. Usually, it’s because the question is a rhetorical one “Will our hero survive the…?” Obviously, they will. Child of Clay’s blurb does end in a question, but as you read through the book, you will see that there is a very definite answer to it.
Overall score: 95 points. Child of Clay is exciting, fast-paced, and occasionally quite scary. I can’t wait to read more about Jerrilyn. I strongly recommend this book to any fans of the supernatural genre.
Find Fiona Skye and her books here: