Title: The Oversight
Author: Charlie Fletcher
Series: The Oversight, book 1
Publisher: Orbit (May 6th)
Source: Review copy from publisher
“Only five still guard the borders between the worlds. Only five hold back what waits on the other side.
Once the Oversight, the secret society that policed the lines between the mundane and the magic, counted hundreds of brave souls among its members. Now their numbers can be counted on a single hand.
When a vagabond brings a screaming girl to the Oversight's London headquarters, it seems their hopes for a new recruit will be fulfilled - but the girl is a trap.
As the borders between this world and the next begin to break down, murders erupt across the city, the Oversight are torn viciously apart, and their enemies close in for the final blow.”
The Oversight is an organization that for centuries has protected humans from supernatural beings. All members have both supranatural and human blood; this gives them a better understanding and power over the creatures they oversee.
The Oversight used to have hundreds of members, but after an accident thirty years back its numbers were drastically reduced and currently it only has five members, the minimum number of members for The Oversight to exist. The five are known as a Hand and the group is lead by Sarah Falk.
Since the accident that reduced their numbers they have been trying to recruit new members to no avail.
When a man comes to their door trying to sell them a girl they know they can’t not let her go, the girl is one of them and Sara as the leader of the Hand offers her her protection.
Lucy Harker doesn’t know what to think of the woman that is offering her shelter or of the other members of the household. She understands why some of them are not happy about her arrival to their house, she is also not sure of her new situation and something deep inside her tells her she’s there for a reason and they are right not to trust her. The blanks in her memory just confirm that there is something seriously wrong with her. The questions are what is wrong with her and how her presence in the house will affect The Oversight?
My first thought after reading The Oversight was “this book was magic” and that’s exactly what Charlie Fletcher accomplished with his words.
The Oversight starts slow, the first 20% is the setting of what it is to come. After that it takes off and moves at a perfect pace.
The characters are complex and diverse. We have the good guys, who we don’t know how good they really are, the villains and their secret motives and the supranatural beings that for centuries have been controlled by The Oversight and want the freedom they think they deserve.
The story is told from different POVs, that helps to see what’s going on all the different characters’ heads, but at the same time this makes the story a bit heavy. I found myself putting the book down for couple of minutes just to get a short respite between chapters.
Even though the multiple POVs can be seen as disruption to the flow it also helped to keep the tension and expectations high.
Fletcher’s talent brings to life the gothic Victorian era. His descriptions are so vivid and realistic it was very easy to picture the different settings, from the dark alleys of London to the life in a traveling circus. The world building is rich and complex with a mix of history and folklore that made it feel very original.
The plot is smart and unravels slowly, keeping us guessing and creating different theories about what it is to come. Page-by-page we discover something new and in almost all of the cases completely unexpected. Fletcher is a master storyteller with a gift for beautiful prose.
The end answers many questions but leaves others open to explore in books to come and for once, I can’t wait to see what else has Fletcher in store for The Oversight and the rest of the cast.
The Oversight is a beautifully written magical book with complex characters and a vivid and unique world. It is also a book I enjoyed reading tremendously and can’t recommend enough.
My Verdict: 4 ½ Paws
Other books in the series
The Drowning Glass* (May 2015)
The Reddest Hand* (May 2016)
Other Reviews Goodreads