Title: The Oversight
Series: Oversight Trilogy, #1
Published: May 6th 2014
Source: Publisher for review
Source: Publisher for review
Only five still guard the border between the worlds. And when they fall, so do we all... The Oversight is a gothic fantasy that will appeal to fans of Neil Gaiman, Philip Pullman and Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell
"The end always comes faster than you think."
Once there were hundreds of members of the Oversight, the brave souls who guard the borders between the mundane and the magic. Now there are only five. And their numbers are dwindling further still.
When a vagabond brings a screaming girl to the Oversight's London headquarters, she might answer their hopes for a new recruit, or she could be the instrument of their downfall.
In his first novel for adults, Charlie Fletcher (The Stoneheart Trilogy) spins a tale of witch-hunters, supra-naturalists, mirror-walkers and magicians. Meet the Oversight, and remember: when they fall, so do we all.
The Oversight is Charlie Fletcher’s first foray into adult fiction, but the control he has over his complex narrative is astonishing. Told from multiple perspectives, The Oversight is a complicated web of episodes that combine perfectly into a breathtaking and well-executed story. Admittedly, due to its complexity, the beginning might be a bit slower for some, but once the pieces start coming together, The Oversight becomes practically unputdownable.
Set in a version of Victorian London in which the supranaturals secretly rule the foggy streets, The Oversight is deeply atmospheric and gorgeous. One can almost feel the humidity of those nights, smell the houses, shops and dark corners our heroes police. The Oversight, you see, is short for Free Company for the Regulation and Oversight of Recondite Exigency and Supranatural Lore, a group of supranaturals that watches the shadows and keeps other supranaturals in line.
Once upon a time, the Oversight had numerous members, hundreds of people dedicated to keeping London safe. But the Oversight Fletcher introduces us to has gone through serious changes and disasters. With only five members, they can’t afford to lose anyone else. Five need to remain together to make a Hand, or the Oversight ceases to exist.
When young Lucy Harker is brought to Sara Falk’s house, it’s clear from the start that she is supranaturally gifted. In her, Sara sees an opportunity to strengthen the Oversight, but she could very well be walking straight into an elaborate trap. Sara and the others are forced to decide whether taking Lucy in is worth the risk. As the Oversight battles various enemies, their own moral ambiguity is brought to light. Fletcher doesn’t deliver absolutes – the more of this story we read, the clearer it becomes that everything exist in a gray area and new questions and turns keep taking us by surprise.
Overall, The Oversight is a pretty spectacular historical urban fantasy, not to be missed by fans of the genre, fans of atmospheric books, fans of Victorian London, or fans of great literature in general. Fortunately for me, it’s a trilogy. I have so much to look forward to.
A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.