Monday, April 21, 2014

The Oversight by Charlie Fletcher

The Oversight
by Charlie Fletcher 
Read: April 
Published: May 6, 2014 by Orbit
Source: NetGalley (Thank You, Hatchette)
Category: Adult, Urban Fantasy, London, Fae

Series: The Oversight Trilogy #1
Find: Goodreads | Amazon

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. 

This gothic fantasy from 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.

In this book there are a handful of good guys, a whole lot of scheming bad guys - both human and other, as well as many unknowns, including Lucy Harker the girl who begins it all. While reading The Oversight, I kept thinking that if Charles Dickens wanted to write about Fae, the book might have been set up something like this. Besides the very Dickensian 1840s London setting, we have quirky characters, many with names to match, a city teeming with people and fog, as well as a countryside with its meadows and mud, though no less perilous to danger and betrayals. 

One fog filled night, the aforementioned Lucy arrives in a a sack, at a house on Wellclose Square in London. In so doing, she sets off a chain of events that affect a large group of people, and thus begins the plot of this story. Lucy is a trap. Though whether she is a conscious or unconscious part of the the trapping, remains to be seen. The home at which Lucy arrives belongs to The Oversight, an organization dedicated to upholding the Law and Lore of supranatural creatures (in simple terms they police the Fae in London). The five members of The Oversight, also called The Hand are the self proclaimed good guys and have dwindled quite a bit in numbers in recent years. Some would like to see that number dwindle even further, hence the trap. 

As this book progresses we are privy to what is happening on both of the story, as well as in between. Watching the bad guys close in and the often unsuspecting good guys try to hold their line, continually increasing the intensity of the storytelling. Thankfully, the members of The Hand are really good at what they do. Although Lucy is the catalyst for the action in this book, she is only one of many players. Seeing all angles of this story, means continuously switching viewpoints and no main character. (Don't worry, there is a helpful cast list at the start of this book.) 

However, this many people to follow, along with all the different plots attached to them, had me feeling at times like I was unable to grasp one thing. Especially in this first series installment, where so much of the larger puzzle was unknown. Though I knew all the pieces had a purpose, following so many at once meant it took me longer to emotionally attach to any one character. This is a requirement for me to fully enjoy a book, and thankfully, by the end of this installment, I was successful with some of them (some I decidedly want to stay away from). But it took a fair bit of the story to get there. There were also parts along the way that were a bit slow and left me itchy for something to happen, or stressed because the narration would change again just when something was about to occur. Even so, the storytelling method was very effective at heightening the tension in this book. It was like ever tightening cogs, that left you holding your breath for when the machine would all of a sudden take off (or explode). 

The end of this book is exciting and solves some questions while leaving several open. We find out on which side most every character stands. Though there are still a very few unknowns.  This is definitely a set up book in many ways, and I think it will be easier to engage in the next installment after learning all these characters. But as a whole I enjoyed this book a lot. It was a bit different from what I've read recently, so it felt fresh. And it's historical setting reminded me of the classics I used to read, so it also felt like a little bit of literary nostalgia. I very much liked that mix. 

Love Triangle Factor: None. Very light romance. One obvious ship, and a few more maybes floating around. 
Cliffhanger Scale: Medium - definitely sets up the story for more. 


  1. This looks awesome on the paper. Hmm, it's weird to hear that it has no main character, though I guess it makes sense regarding the plot and all. Oh yeah, I can totally see how it'd be hard to follow everything with this kind of storytelling. I'm so glad that you enjoyed this as a whole and I know that you enjoy history a lot so yay for a historical setting :) Haha, and I love the love triangle factor description this time :D

  2. Great review. <3 I had not heard of this book before. But pretty cover :) I'm glad you enjoyed the book. And happy with no love triangle. But sad about little romance, hih. I do like a good romance :) Anyway. I'm not sure if this is for me, as it sounds a little bit boring, hih (A) but hoping you will enjoy the sequel even more :)

  3. I've never heard of this one before, though the cover seems vaguely familiar from NG I think. Anyway, I'm intrigued by the premises of this story - I especially love fantasy in a historical setting - but I think I'm going to wait to see how this plays out in the future before diving into it. Onto my TBR it goes, though, so thanks for putting this on my radar, Lauren! :)

  4. I haven't heard of this book before, but the plot sounds really interesting. However, I'm not really into books with too many characters because like you, I need to feel an emotional connection to at least one character. It seems that that is hard in this one. I'm glad you liked it overall, Lauren.
    Lovely review.

  5. Ooh, this one sounds so good! Even the way you're reading it sounds Dickensonian (it always took me forever to figure out who was whom and doing what in his books). That's a lot of people with quirky names to get used to but I can't wait to meet them.

  6. This does sound good, but I'm hesitant to add another series to my never ending series list. I actually like the idea of multiple POVs and no main character, that sounds refreshing. Hmmm...I'll have to think about it. ~Pam

  7. "Though I knew all the pieces had a purpose, following so many at once meant it took me longer to emotionally attach to any one character."

    This is me exactly, Lauren! I struggle when there's a huge cast of characters and we follow each of them for a time, but I'm glad by the end you had a few connections established at least, that's a good thing. I think I'm going to wait on this one and see how you fare with book two, but I do love the setting and that cover is beyond gorgeous:) Fabulous review as always my friend!

  8. Never heard of this book, but sound like fun reading. I put in on my wishlist on goodreads. Thanks for sharing!

  9. This is the second review that I've read for this book today and both reviews have convinced me to give this story a go. This book also isn't anything like that I would normally read either, but I seem to be having much more luck with books these days outside of my comfort zone. Also you know how much I enjoy my books that end in cliffhangers, leaving us wanting more of the next book right away, so this book is definitely a winner in my eyes! Fab review Lauren!


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