The Oversight by Charlie Fletcher – Advance Review [Bane of Kings]

The-Oversight

Milo, aka “Bane of Kings”, writes a review of the first novel in The Oversight Trilogy, entitled The Oversight written by accomplished young adult author Charlie Fletcher. Published by Orbit Books, this gothic historical urban fantasy is set to be released tomorrow, on May 6.

An excellent novel – Charlie Fletcher has certainly crafted one of the better reads of 2014 so far. If you’re a fan of the likes of Neil Gaiman or China Mieville then this is a must read – and with some fascinating prose, this is something that you won’t want to miss.” ~Bane of Kings, The Founding Fields

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.

I was first drawn to this book when I saw it compared to Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, and as that is my favourite all-time book, I thought I’d give it a shot, and thankfully, I was not disappointed, with Charlie Fletcher’s The Oversight turning out to be one of the best novels that I’ve read so far this year. In fact, it also manages to be different from the majority of other novels that I’ve read this year as well, so if you’re looking for something that has that originality factor then you can’t go far wrong with this book, which hits shelves tomorrow through Orbit.

The-OversightThis novel serves as the first outing in the Oversight trilogy and is handled very well. The Oversight are a secret organization that policed the lines between normality and magic and once sported hundreds of people amongst its ranks. Now though, that number is down to just five, with the society being a shadow of what it once was.

When a screaming girl is brought to the Oversight’s headquarters in London they believe they might at last have found a new recruit. However, Lucy Harker is not who she seems, and is part of a plot that could have catastrophic repercussions for not just the Oversight, but the world.

Charlie Fletcher is an accomplished young adult writer and The Oversight is the first time I have read a full novel by him, but I remember back in Secondary School flicking through Stoneheart in the Library – and it’s certainly something that I intend to get back to at one point. However, back on the subject of The Oversight, it gets almost everything right – my only real complaint being that it gets off to a slow start, but even that changes – as it quickly becomes engrossing as the pages go on and by the end you won’t be able to put it down. The book spends plenty of time in creating the atmosphere and developing the world, giving a great look into the magical side of London, which normally brings out the best of Urban Fantasy novels. However, The Oversight isn’t just your average Urban Fantasy novel. It’s a gothic, historical and beautifully written masterpiece that deserves your attention – with incredibly strong prose and an attention to detail that doesn’t bog down the narrative.

There isn’t really any main character in The Oversight, with the Last Hand (the last five members of the Oversight supernatural law enforcement) getting similar amounts of pagetime to Lucy, who also gets a key role in this book. Whilst the book may be clearly focused more on the world than the characters, that’s not a bad thing, because Fletcher still manages to weave a compelling narrative and on top of that, the world is awesome and it’s easily something that I can see myself returning to.

If you’re a fan of the likes of Neil Gaiman or China Mieville, then this book should be right up your street. Charlie Fletcher has crafted a smart and intelligent novel that kicks off what should really be a strong series, with a compelling plot and some interesting characters. There’s very little where this book goes wrong, so it’s certainly something that you should devote your time to. And if it helps, out of the Advance Reviews, I’m yet to see a single one below 4 stars (although at least one is ranked 3.5 on Goodreads), so it’s clear that I’m not the only one who loves this book. Highly Recommended.

VERDICT: 9/10

Milo, aka Bane of Kings, is a SFF/Comic reader, and watches a lot of TV. His favourite authors are Neil Gaiman, China Mieville, Jim Butcher, Brandon Sanderson & Iain M. Banks, whilst his favourite TV shows are Battlestar Galactica (2003), Person Of Interest, Firefly, Game of Thrones, & Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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