Book Review: The Paradox

The Paradox by Charlie Fletcher, The Oversight #2


Those who belong to the secret society called the Oversight know many things. They know cold iron will hold back the beasts in the darkness. They know it is dangerous to stand between two mirrors. And they know that, despite their dwindling numbers, it remains their duty to protect humanity from the supernatural. And vice versa.

But two of the society’s strongest members, Mr. Sharp and Sara Falk, are trapped in the world between the mirrors, looking for each other, searching for a way back home. What they discover there will have ominous consequences both for the Oversight and the world it protects, effects that will make them question everything they thought they knew.

Last year Charlie Fletcher really took me by surprise with his Urban Fantasy debut The Oversight. This dark, gothic inspired story contained a ton of wealth in terms of atmosphere, characters and general ideas. I nominated The Oversight for one of the best Urban Fantasy books that I read last year. So you can quite imagine that I had more than just hopes for how Charlie Fletcher would execute his sequel. I am going to be honest. Wow. This is how sequel ought to be!

The Paradox picks up directly after the events in The Oversight. The organization wasn't strong to begin with and were left with even less in the ending. Sara Falk and Mr. Sharp are trapped within the dangerous world of mirrors and the remaining full fledged members, Cook Smith and Hodge (who is now blinded in one eye), of the Oversight are left with the two latest recruits Charlie Pyefinch and Lucy Harker. The events in The Oversight left the whole situation rather precarious. The Templebanes were planning the downfall of Britain's protective organization and have managed to do just that.  

So following up on all these events are multiple storylines. The first is that of Sara Falk and Jack Sharp who are navigating their way through the often obscured and always dangerous place of the mirrors. No one has come out of them yet. Around every turn danger could be lurking and not long after this Mirror Wights. Who will do anything to turn you on the wrong foot and hopefully lure you into giving away some of your precious blood that they use to feed. Luckily both Sara and Mr. Sharp aren't stupid and use their minds to trick the Mirror Wights. But with no one having come out of the mirror in well forever.. will Sara and Mr. Sharp succeed?  

The second storyline if followed by the remaining members and latest recruits of the Oversight, Cook, Smith, Hodge, Lucy and Charlie. This was for me a very interesting storyline to follow. The Oversight has lost it's leader, but the threat isn't over and the three veterans have a tough job ahead of them of restoring the order as well as training Lucy and Charlie. Somethings do go as planned but others well.. set the plans on a different course. Here Charlie Fletcher does a smart thing and makes the reader also learn more about the history of many characters, a nice trip. Smith takes the job to look over Lucy and train her in being a Glint (Glint powers include touching an object "seeing" the memories of the object like picking up a glass and seeing what the other person went through etc). It is a strong power but also a hard power to fully master and Lucy's lessons doesn't go without any troubled. Charlie Pyefinch is being trained by Hodge, who without good functioning eyes is still able to walk about and work as he has the gift to use various animals for his ears and eyes. Charlie hasn't quite developed this skill yet but well he is only an apprentice. With getting The Oversight back on track and training the new recruits they have their hands full. And then comes an old acquaintance knocking on their door... 

Where I praised the first book a lot for was the addition of the storyline that followed the Templebanes and in The Paradox this again isn't the exception. I won't go into much of detail because that would spoil the surprise that awaits you too much but the Sluagh are on the rise and they have become immune to the thing that The Oversight could always rely to use to get rid of them. Again the focus on the bad guys of the book readily adds another dimension to the whole story. You see how both parties act and how they subsequent react on the how their plan work and fail. Great story dynamics.

One thing that I have to see in a sequel is character development. Here The Paradox also doesn't fail. The world was very well put down in the first book, and Charlie Fletcher directly delves deeper into many different characters both of The Oversight, but mainly those that aren't lost in the mirrors. One part of the Smith really got my interests piqued and I am curious as to what it might mean for the third book. The main focus for development was for both Lucy and Charlie who are being trained in the finer ways of the supranatural and it starts of course with the basics that of the Wildfire. As I already mentioned above this is a nice way of both educating the characters and the readers as well. One character that I really started to like over the course of this book was Amos, with out spoiling to much, you got to know him in the first book but he really grows into something.

And than it only remains for me to give Charlie Fletcher a lot of praise for his world building once again. The first book gave a great show of a gothic Victorian inspired London, and he doesn't falter in giving the same show once more. The writing style the Charlie Fletcher has definitely helps a lot in putting the atmosphere just right. It feel that you are really in the story itself. Being the latest member of The Oversight or part of the Templebanes discussions. It takes a lot more than just saying Gothic Victorian to get a setting. This world has it all down from the lurking corridors, secret places for refuge, and of course the magical powers that several characters have. It's all really something amazing. And then I haven't even started about the world in the mirrors. Now this really deserves a wow, brilliant too say the least. 

The Paradox is precisely what I wanted to see in a sequel. Charlie Fletcher has gone above and beyond himself to write and even better story. He doesn't hesitate a moment before throwing the reader once again in the fray of on upcoming battle. There are lots of developments happening when it comes to the overall to take story that much further but it also doesn't lack in the character development department. All in all a definite winner and just as with The Oversight, The Paradox will be ending up high in my favorite list as well!


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