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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
The Oversight
Format: Audio Download|Change

on 30 March 2017
A book that is fresh and new in its approach to writing about magic. A story that twists and turns just enough with characters that are independently strong and yet wonderfully united in a team of law and order. London as you want to believe it was and perhaps still is.
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on 1 September 2017
My first read of a Charlie Fletcher book and I will certainly read the next two of the trilogy. I like the way different threads are woven to keep the reader's interest.
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on 20 May 2014
Its hard to make comparisons with other similar stories. The concept of a London where there is the human side and then the hidden supernatural side isn't new but this book does feel different. And in a good way.

The Oversight, the law (lore) enforcement intermediaries between both worlds are well written well rounded characters and you feel for them as they start to see their world come under attack from their enemies.

There is also a nicely hinted back story that gives things a lot more depth.

Its also has a nice brand in humour that helps with the overall tenseness of the story..you are never quite sure how safe the main characters are , and they certainly don't get things all their own way.

The good news for me is that, within the overall trilogy arc, there is a good self contained element to this first book so some major peieces are resolved by the books end but with some tantalising story thresd still dangling.

Not seen much publicity for this book which is a shame, it deserves more recognition.
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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.
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on 31 December 2014
The perfect book for the jaded literary palate as it doesn't neatly fit into a category. The closest I can come to describing it as as a dark gothic fairytale. Yes, I know dark and gothic are generally synonymous but this is particularly dark - the setting of Victorian London (in the main) adds to the feeling of dark, wet and sinister. And whilst it's a fairytale, it's certainly not the saccharine variety - there's brutality, despair, deceit and layer upon layer of secrets.

It starts intriguingly and throws you into a twisted supranatural (as it's described) quite Dickensian world with speed - it took me a little while to catch up and the prose is so rich that it's slightly dizzying emerging from it. And whilst it's hard to warm to any of the main characters initially, it's that sense of duality and imperfection again and you do ultimately see redeeming features in very real, flawed characters.

It's not a neat book and thus it's difficult to encapsulate but it's about what lies beneath the surface of an already dark Victorian underbelly - a group of 'mongrel' people, half supranatual, half human, policing the non-human world, 'The Oversight'. They've dwindled to such a small number that they're a very thin line indeed. Into their headquarters is brought a girl in a sack with her mouth plastered shut. Could she be one of them? Is she a trap for them? If she is, does she know it? And who is she and what is her history? We don't know and nor does she but she's the pivot for the story and catalyst for events that unfold in the book.

I imagine that fans of Jonathan Norrell and Mr Strange would love this but I found The Oversight more gripping, intriguing and pacy then Mssrs N and S. Don't expect neatly tidied away ends here - there are more questions left unanswered by the end of the book than you get resolutions; I cannot imagine where it's going but I look forward to finding out.
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on 31 May 2017
Reinforces the old spirit of the land with suspense. Believable. The are at the beginning of becoming well-rounded characters. Great holiday read.
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The Oversight – a secret society that polices the lines between the mundane and the magic used to have hundreds of brave members under their name, but now these members are so few they can be counted on a single hand. When a drunkard brings a screaming girl to the Oversight’s headquarters in London, it seems their hopes for a new recruit may be fulfilled, but who is she? And soon borders between the natural and the supernatural begin to break down, leaving the Oversight in danger…

I will admit, I haven’t read that many stories in this genre, but with The Oversight – I was pulled into the story as soon as I started reading. I LOVED the idea of The Oversight, and I was instantly keen to know more about them – Who were they exactly? What did they do? I was gripped wanting to know more about their secret society.

The characters really fascinated me – I was intrigued to know their roles in the Oversight and how they had come to be where they were. The character that intrigued me most was Lucy, the girl who was brought to the Oversight’s headquarters. I was interested to find out who she was, and what her purpose was, and she particularly had me hooked.

I loved the setting of Victorian London, Charlie Fletcher’s descriptions were fantastic and I could picture every scene clearly in my mind. I really could feel the atmosphere of Victorian London too, at times it felt like I had been transported back in time with the added air of magic and mystery to the novel. I liked that absolutely anything could happen in this novel, there were many twists and turns and I was thrilled to be constantly surprised.

This is a fantastic and involving story and I’m very conscious not to give anything away. The Oversight is a captivating and gripping story full of the supernatural, suspense and mystery. It is a highly unique story unlike any I’ve read before and I can’t wait to read more from Charlie Fletcher!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 9 October 2014
The Oversight came as a little bit of a surprise for me. I read a book to be entertained and this one certainly began with signs of being entertaining. I want to have a book grab my attention from the first page and this one scooped up my attention and wouldn't let go. Maybe it's because I have recently read several novels in the fantasy genre which were ultimately disappointing for me so I had set myself up to be disappointed again. Once I combined the entertainment factor plus the attention grabbing and then added to it a story which I found myself genuinely interested in that it made me feel surprised at how much I was enjoying reading this book. And that enjoyment just went right on to the ending. Thank goodness there are two more books to follow this one!

Charlie Fletcher has presented 1840's Victorian London in such a rich tapestry of color I was surprised to realize that most of the descriptions of actual color are somber black, gray, dark tones which paint the landscape and the "supranatural" characters. Yet there is Sara Falk, leader of the remaining Hand of the Oversight, a five member group charged with regulating the interactions between humans and that unseen world of those wielding evil magic. Sara is anything but a dark character. Lucy Harker may not know exactly who she is because of the holes in her memory, but she definitely can't be described as dark. And then there is Mr. Sharp, what a lovely character is Mr. Sharp. So the darkness is a result of the superb writing ability which Mr. Fletcher has to immerse the reader in a world where such things as bones from different creatures can be brought together with a bit of spit and a few drops of blood to re-animate and do the bidding of a Shadowganger, one of the Sluagh.

This novel is presented from multiple viewpoints but I do hope you will not let that put you off reading the book if that is not a favorite presentation for you. It isn't usually a favorite novel construction for me either and yet I thoroughly enjoyed this first book in the trilogy and eagerly await the release of the second.

I received an ARC of this novel through NetGalley. The opinions expressed are my own.
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on 6 May 2014
The oversight takes place in a late Victorian, slightly Steampunk version of London. The oversight is a band of free men (and women) who police the supranatural world. A Sluagh- a northern kind of a fae/picts/bogeyman finds his way to town and that is where the adventures start.

Charles Fletcher transports you to a gas lamp lit, shadowy cobblestone London of times-gone-by, that is so vivid, you can almost smell the filthy Thames.

There is so much mystery and intrigue, that halfway through the book we still don’t know who Lucy truly is. All we know she was sold to Sara and can only speak French. Sara says she is a trap; maybe not, but still an enigma certainly.

The oversight is a bizarre tale that I have never read the likes of before. I was reminded of Mike Shevdon’s Sixty-one nails and Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke in feel; but The oversight is a truly unique and quixotic story. This was an exceptional Gothic Low Fantasy book and a must read.
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on 8 May 2014
I LOVED this book! Reminiscent of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell but arguably better, at times it also reminded me of Phillip Pullman His Dark Materials and Morgensterns The Night Circus. Its the perfect blend of realistic fantasy that is utterly captivating and wholly believable, highly recommended and one of my favourite books of the year.
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