Top positive review
17 people found this helpful
Great new fantasy series!
on 30 January 2015
I was lured into reading this book, as it was recommended to me a few times by online apps as something I might like as I am keen on fantasy fiction. I’m glad I decided to read it, as it was a great book and I’ll definitely be looking out for more by this author. I suppose I would say it fits into the urban fantasy genre but with a historical twist, almost a cross between the likes of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere and/or London Falling by Paul Cornell and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and/or Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke. It also reminded me a bit of the recent Penny Dreadful TV series, although I think this was better written.
The story is set in an alternative version of Victorian London and starts with a screaming girl, Lucy Harker, being dropped off at the headquarters of the Oversight which is a sort of supernatural (or ‘supra’ natural as they say in the book) border police or secret society. Lucy seems to need their help, but things do not turn out to be quite as they seem and the reader is taken on a journey both with Lucy and with members of the Oversight like the powerful, but vulnerable leader of the group Sara Falk, the loyal but dangerous Mr Sharp and the wonderful ex-pirate Cook.
I liked the idea of the Oversight guarding the borders between the world of normal people and the supernatural realms and found the characters in the society interesting and wanted to know more about them. The introduction of the conflicted Lucy Harker at the beginning was a great start to the book and introduced the other characters of the Oversight well. The descriptions of the safe house or headquarters of the Oversight, as well as of the fairground and the baddies in the story were fascinating and definitely left me wanting to know more. There were strong Gothic elements to the story, with the Sluagh, the Citizen and the ‘hand of glory’ bits, which fitted in nicely with the overall tone of the book and weren't over-exaggerated.
The author did a nice job of telling the story from different points of view whilst managing to gradually drip feed interesting titbits of back story, which is quite hard to do and many authors fail at this. The other thing I really liked was that it has a great ending, which again can be tricky to pull off. I can’t count the number of times I have really enjoyed a book only to be disappointed by a somewhat lacklustre ending.