“No more hope. No more heroes.”
The Remnant (2017) is the third and final book in Charlie Fletcher’s OVERSIGHT trilogy. You need to read the first two books, The Oversight and The Paradox, before opening this one, or you’ll be hopelessly lost. I’ll assume you have since I won’t be able to avoid some spoilers for the previous books in this review.
The Oversight is still struggling to maintain the balance between the old and new worlds. Its headquarters has been destroyed and its few remaining members are scattered across the world. Cait (a new character introduced in The Paradox) has gone to America to track down a baby who was stolen by a changeling. Lucy, who has a crush on Cait, is in tow. The Smith is on his own quest. It’s related to the current problems, but it puts him out of commission. The Oversight looks like it’s completely ineffective at this point but, as one of its enemies says, “The Oversight is most dangerous when most reduced.”
While the Oversight is so depleted, John Dee wants to use the opportunity to steal the Wildfire that they guard. He’s got some allies in London and together they plot an ambush of the remaining Oversight members. The Oversight, which has agreed to fight to the very last man, finds out that it has some unexpected allies (a “the enemy of my enemy” kind of thing). Still, there will be severe losses and fans of the trilogy should expect to shed a few tears at the end. There may also be a few tears of joy at the big reveal about somebody’s parentage. That was satisfying, though I had figured it out in the last book.
Readers who loved the atmosphere, style, and pace of the first two books will love The Remnant, too. I greatly admire the atmosphere and style but, as I mentioned in my previous reviews, the story moves too slowly for me. Everything is lovingly described in minute detail and we’re given extensive background and motives of even minor characters that we’ll never see again (even dogs!). It’s beautiful, but the glacial pace makes the story feel like a soap opera that will never end. It’s just too long.
Another minor issue for me is that throughout the series I have never felt that the Oversight was what it claimed to be: a group of soldiers that are the only defense of our world from the evil that hopes to invade it. They don’t feel like they’re well-trained, well-equipped, have an effective hierarchical structure, or are even completely on the alert. Sometimes they do dumb things that endanger themselves (and therefore the world). In one scene in The Remnant, Mr. Sharp goes to the harbor to hang out with Emmet, the clay golem who is guarding the Wildfire under water, because he’s afraid Emmet might be lonely down there. I jotted down in my notes “really dumb!” because I’m thinking “he could easily be followed and then the enemies will know where the Wildfire is — right there in the harbor!!” If a suburban soccer mom could figure that out, how come Mr. Sharp, one of the few people who protect the world from evil, didn’t?
Charlie Fletcher leaves the ending open for more stories about the Oversight. Some of his unique characters will stay with me and I’d like to know what happens to them, so I would welcome additional stories.
As I mentioned in my review of The Paradox, Fletcher does a great job with the audio narration of the last two books in the trilogy.