This was an interesting read. For me Science Fiction can go two ways - tech heavy (which usually turns me away) or tech light (which I tend to quite enjoy). Thankfully, although there is a good bit of future technology in 'A Family War' it is not at the expense of a story well told.
The set up is a future Earth where business rules and the technologically enhanced Oligarchs are the top of the tree. The Oligarchs are scientifically enhanced humans with almost Godlike powers and our heroine, Helena, is one of them. The world is on the verge of a new World War and the only hope of preventing a possible genocide is a small child, which Helena must find.
Where the story really comes alive here is the world in which the reader is taken, obviously future earth but still close enough that the possibilities are plausible. The rich get all they can afford while those without struggle on. The differences in class are notable but Helena may have to overcome these differences if the world is to survive.
I will say that not all character motives are clear (which is a good thing) but once things start to drop into place the reader may need to re-evaluate the way they thought the story was going.
The good points - fast paced story, believable and not too complicated technology, good and vivid world building populated with interesting characters
The bad points - my only real gripe comes back to the technology, it did get slightly repetitive at times but that wasn't to the detriment of the story so I'm happy to let that slide.
As a first book in a series 'A Family War' sets things up nicely for further volumes (which I will certainly be looking out for) and the fact that this is a debut novel, well, that leaves me quite excited for Mr Hotston's future. The Big Time beckons (and please, somebody, make a movie of this)