The Oversight by Charlie Fletcher Review

Monday, April 21, 2014

Title: The Oversight
Author: Charlie Fletcher (Twitter)
Publisher: Orbit
Publish Date: May 6, 2014
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Pages: 464
Source: Publisher

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.
There are a few times when, as a book blogger, I'm incredibly surprised at just how well a novel sneaks up on me and surprises me in the best possible way. In the case of The Oversight, we have a novel that is virtually unheard of in the young adult community, but manages to offer readers a full-bodied fantasy novel complete with great characters, a historical setting that's every bit alive as the magic within and prose that will keep you hooked until the very end. Charlie Fletcher's novel is sure to captivate fans of fantasy and historical fiction, alike. 

The Oversight, rather than simply thrust readers into an unfamiliar world, allows us the time to grow within the story and understand the rich backstory that's provided. The secret Oversight society was created to prevent the merging of mundane and magical elements, and it carefully and articulately illustrates to readers the dire consequences if the two merge. I was quite amazed by the skill and ease at which Mr. Fletcher set the pacing of the novel. With a rich, clear tone, we're invited to a world that's mysterious, a tad broken, but one that's easy to become fully invested in, as well. Furthermore, the plot, the world and all the hidden secrets slowly but deliberately unfold, giving us access to the background and the mysteries within little by little. 

It must be said that The Oversight puts much more emphasis and weight on the plot development than the character development, but that's not to say that our characters aren't every bit as important, as well. For example, the interactions between the last Hand of the Oversight and Lucy, an orphan girl who ends up on their doorstep through conspiratorial circumstances, make these characters every bit alive, as well. Lucy was a broken, shell of a character, but as the novel progresses, we better understand both her background and her worth. Likewise, Sara's journey is a complicated one, but it's one that's intricately woven into the plot points themselves, which makes for quite an adventure.

I think that, perhaps, one of my favourite aspects of The Oversight, is that it doesn't shy away from its gothic roots at all. Rather, this is the type of novel that embraces the darkness of its circumstance, and little by little bleeds light and hope into the story of its characters. From the dangers lurking in the dark, to the desperate duty of the Oversight to protect the human population, it's a muddled but delicious mess of darkness that readers will become utterly intoxicated by.

Overall, I must say that I was entirely surprised by The Oversight. This is the type of novel that you can't help but become invested in from the start - and it's the type of book that will take you by surprise. I truly hope it garners more attention because, though I didn't expect anything, I was blown away by it. I give it a 4.5 out of 5, and I highly recommend it to fans of YA, especially those who enjoy gothic fantasy and magic.

I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.


  1. I love discovering new books and new authors. I've never heard of this one, but it sounds fabulous. I can't wait to check it out. Great review!

  2. I just saw this book on someone else's blog today as well and thought it sounded interesting, so I'm glad to see you loved it so much Melissa! Love those books that take me by surprise, I tend to love them even more than the ones I'm I've been dying to read for weeks and months because there's no expectation to live up to. I just get to fall in love without anything else getting in the way:)

  3. This is the second raving review I've seen for this book today, Melissa. I normally would shy away from a book that doesn't focus on the character development, but the plot in this one seems too intriguing to pass up. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed this one. I'm going to have to add this one to my TBR.
    Great review!

  4. I keep seeing this one around and it looks so cool

  5. Ooh, gothic roots sound fascinating. I've been hearing more about this book recently, so I'm glad it's made its way onto my radar. I'm looking forward to picking this up soon, though I may wait to see how the series pans out before diving in. Wonderful review, Melissa! :)

  6. Wonderful review, Melissa! It's great to find a story that is unexpected and surprises you in the best sorts of ways. :)

  7. Haven't heard of this before but I like the sound of the magical elements in here, with the secret society. Sounds really fascinating, thanks for bringing this one to my attention Melissa!

    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

  8. Oh, yay! I picked this one up as an ebook and now, you've got me REALLY excited about it! Gothic, dark with strong world-building? *moves to top of TBR*

  9. Yay I'm so happy that this one surprised you, Melissa! It's always the best feeling. It's good to see that there was strong emphasis on the plot, but noted that the characters weren't sloppy either.

    Lovely review, girl! <33

  10. I love it when a book so under the radar completely takes you by surprise! It sounds like the this book has so much going on for it, but doesn't overwhelm you in the slightest! Thank you for putting this book on my radar Melissa, hopefully your review will now have a lot more readers giving it a go!


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