Rating: 5 Stars
Once the Oversight, the secret society that polices the lines between the mundane and the magic, counted hundreds of brave souls among its members. Now their number can be tallied on a single hand. When a drunkard 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, her appearance a puzzle the five remaining guardians must solve or lose each other, and their society, for good. As the borders between the natural and the supernatural begin to break down, brutal murders erupt across the city, the Oversight are torn viciously apart and their enemies close in for the final blow. This dark Dickensian fantasy spins a tale of witch-hunters, magicians, mirror-walkers and the unlikeliest of heroes drawn from the depths of British folklore. Meet the Oversight, and remember: when they fall, so do we all…
I’ve read Charlie Fletcher before. I loved Stoneheart (although I haven’t finished the trilogy) and when I saw this on the shelf at Lancaster’s Waterstones I had to have it. So, as ever, I waited for th inevitable christmas book vouchers and a book sale and it appeared on my doorstep at the end of January.
I often find multiple point of view novels infuriating. There’s always one I like more than the others and I end up skipping chapters in order to follow that story, missing key plot points in the other strands and generally getting very confused. It’s been like that with every one I’ve read.
Not so in The Oversight. It was a delight, an utter delight.
Every strand was intriguing, whether it was following a member of the Hand, the mysterious ‘Ghost’, the adventures of the younger characters outside of London or the villains, every tale was compelling and drove the plot forward. I was intrigued by each member of the hand and indeed their companions too. I liked that we got a few snippets from the animals as well, as it gave a really otherworldly feel to it. That said I think my favourite character has to be Sara. I loved Sara Falk, who seemed to manage to balance being a woman and the head of a secret organisation, whilst still being kind.
The writing is – and this may sound like a weird description – just delicious. The texture of the period really comes alive in the language and the imagery and I’m very excited to hear that the sequel – The Paradox – is going to explore the world on a larger scale. Some of the reviews – a minority thankfully- were sceptical about another novel written about a magical London ‘underworld’. But that’s not really what’s going on here, it stretches across Britain and beyond quite comfortably with different rules for different types of landscape. I really loved the bit about the railway lines and the Victoria fae, just incredibly well realised.
Overall I was really satisfied with this book and it’s put The Paradox right at the top of my most anticipated reads!