"The end always happens faster than you think."
Once there were hundreds of members of the Oversight, the brave souls who guard the borders between the mundane and the magic. Now there are only five.
When a vagabond brings a screaming girl to the Oversight's London headquarters, she could answer their hopes for new recruit, or she could be the instrument of their downfall.
©2014 Charlie Fletcher (P)2014 Hachette Audio
"Fletcher's Victorian London is juicily vivid, and laced with macabre wit. There's a real sense of grim danger, both natural and unnatural, hungrily awaiting the slightest mis-step." (Frances Hardinge on The Oversight)
This is fantasy as good as it gets. The writing and voice of the piece are meant to be 1800's English, the story starts around the start of Queen Victoria's reign. The style and tone are somewhat akin to Susanna Clarke in Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. While I loved that story, the cast here is richer and more diverse and so is the language.
The worldbuilding and magic systems are very elegant, using familiar myths and legends in interesting ways and weaving them all together with interesting tidbits of actual social history.
The last story that captivated me this much was Game of Thrones, the book not the tv show. This is obviously a shorter story that moves at a faster pace, its nice because it deals with some difficult subjects without becoming hopelessly sad and depressing.
Simon Prebble's performance is great, he is always great. Couldn't recommend it more highly
The Oversight was one of those books that just pulled me in and continued to to get better the further I got into it. There is a small hand of people, five to be exact that call themselves The Oversight. They uphold the law and the lore protecting both the natural and unnatural peoples…pretty much from each other. But which is which really? Are natural people the ones with the gifts or the ones without? You’d have to read to know. But know that long ago those with certain traits interbred with those folk without and are now part of human society and for the most party blend seamlessly together. Sometimes those traits and skills manifest more strongly in a person.
Such rich and tasty world building!!
Set in Victorian London, most of the books I read now a days that are set during that time are steampunk, however this one was not. It was more like a urban fantasy novel but without all the usual suspect races of paranormals. This was so refreshing because I never knew what kind of unnatural gifts one of these special people might manifest. This made for very refreshing reading.
So you’re telling me these seizure visions make me a special snowflake?
The characters that makeup the hand of The Oversight have a range of skills, all of which still haven’t been revealed to me. One, Hodge – can talk mind to mind with animals. Another Another, Mr. Sharpe can put people at ease and bend them to his will. Sara is a glint that sees visions of the past when she touches objects with her hands. The Cook…well I’m not sure exactly what her gifts are, nor am I particularly clear what The Smith’s abilities are other then a very long life and the ability to cloud minds. Clouding people’s minds and moving unusually fast actually seems to be the two most common traits that I believe most of them have. The Oversight’s safe-house is thrown into a big tizzy when a young girl Lucy Harker is sold into their care happens to be a glint like Sara. Except she didn’t know what she was, she just thought she was crazy and a bad girl – so when Sara tells her that she’s special and proves it to her you can’t really blame Lucy for having a really hard time believing it. But Lucy’s mind has been tampered with and she was a plant in the house to do some thieving against her will and will all of that goes wrong and she somehow falls through a mirror and into a traveling circus her personal tale of self discovery only continues as all parties involved good and bad race start to converge.
A Mad Scientist, a Lawyer, A Magician’s daughter,and a Mute saunter on the scene
That caught your attention didn’t it? Oddly enough that isn’t even all of the interesting characters you’ll meet in this book, there is also a nasty bunch of pale riders with bird bones all woven about them…nasty business they’re about. Some of these are devious men out for personal gain and others dark creatures most foul, some victims of circumstance or manipulative con artist but all of them had me captivated with their individual parts to play that make up this amazing story and world. I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am to read the next book. There were times where I wondered – ‘now where are we really going with this character or thread’ but much of it came together in the end and the other bits that didn’t I just know we are going to see more of in the next book.
Give me more…give it to me now…and an ecclese cake too, yes I shall take one of those as well.
Chronic multi-tasker; Audible feeds my addiction to well loved genres, and allows me to explore new, unexplored arenas
A disclaimer - I am a huge Simon Prebble fan... When searching for my next book, I always start with books narrated by Simon.. So I am more than a little prejudice towards this novel.
However, if you are a fan of historic fiction, victorian fantasy, or even steam punk fiction, you will love Charlie Fletcher's new series. I can't get enough of the period detail in clothes, modes of travel, and the advent of the 'natural sciences'.
I also love a good story - and Charlie Fletcher has written a very good story. The heroes all shine brightly, the villains create their own inky darkness. There is also a very confused young lady caught between.
This is one of those reads that you must revisit. There will be fresh details uncovered each time you do. Enjoy!
every moment I had to listen closely. fascinating to hear every twist & turn. inventive and yet familiar. gorgeous detail, never boring!
The tale is set in a Dickenson type London, and the writing is mesmerizing. Fletcher brings the world and characters to life using multiple perspectives. The story is rich in details, laced in magic and dark uncertainty.
The Oversight stands for the Free Company for the Regulation and Oversight of Recondite Exigency and Supernatural Lore. At one time, the Oversight was a powerful group numbering in the hundreds whose sole purpose was to keep the streets of London safe. A secret order that regulates and contains magic. Now, the membership has been reduced to five. These five make up the Hand, and without them, the Oversight would cease to exist allowing things to go unchecked. They are Sarah, Cook, Mr. Sharp, Hodge and the Smith. Sounds exciting right? I love the set up and secret agency.
Fletcher brilliantly takes us from the dangerous streets of London to a traveling Carney. Danger, fate, unknown factors and unique characters quickly draw us into each scene and I found myself caught up in everything from the sights to battling their enemies. While the pacing was slow in the beginning, the twists and unknown factor of Lucy Harbor, a girl who could end them or strengthen them kept me listening into the wee hours.
Each of the characters is unique, quirky and thoroughly fleshed out with just enough mystery to ensnare the reader. When Lucy is first introduced to the Oversight she realizes something is amiss. When Lucy touches things, she has visions, but until she meets Sarah, she believed herself to be crazy. Sarah who heads the Oversight believes that Lucy is a Glint, like herself. Lucy’s arrival sets of a series of events and raises questions as we are thrust into a tale. I found the premise utterly riveting.
There is a threat that exists in the shadows, one that can tip the scales spilling havoc into the world around us. It is this knowledge that gives the tale a suspenseful, dark feel even as the pace meanders. Despite intense spurts and than slower pacing I loved all of the details, suspense and unknowing of it all. The imagery was so impressive.
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