Review: The Quick by Lauren Owen

Posted April 23, 2014 by Charlotte in Reviews / 0 Comments

The Quick by Lauren Owen

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Quick by Lauren OwenThe Quick by Lauren Owen
Published by Random House on June 17, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Historical, Thriller
Pages: 523
Format: E-Arc
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon
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An astonishing debut, a novel of epic scope and suspense that conjures up all the magic and menace of Victorian London

 London, 1892: James Norbury, a shy would-be poet newly down from Oxford, finds lodging with a charming young aristocrat. Through this new friendship, he is introduced to the drawing-rooms of high society, and finds love in an unexpected quarter. Then, suddenly, he vanishes without a trace. Unnerved, his sister, Charlotte, sets out from their crumbling country estate determined to find him. In the sinister, labyrinthine city that greets her, she uncovers a secret world at the margins populated by unforgettable characters: a female rope walker turned vigilante, a street urchin with a deadly secret, and the chilling “Doctor Knife.” But the answer to her brother’s disappearance ultimately lies within the doors of one of the country’s preeminent and mysterious institutions: The Aegolius Club, whose members include the most ambitious, and most dangerous, men in England.   In her first novel, Lauren Owen has created a fantastical world that is both beguiling and terrifying. The Quick will establish her as one of fiction’s most dazzling talents.

The Quick is a brilliantly written debut novel by Lauren Owen, and the praise received is highly deserved. The story is mainly told in the third person, except for some diary entries which are told in the first person. Written in a style common in the nineteenth century, this Victorian era story is given a modern, contemporary twist.

The Quick starts of as a coming-of-age novel. With a brother and sister’s lives are changed through a death in the family to… well to the rest of the book which if full of adventure and thrills and spills. And… well talking about it will spoil the book. But it is fair to say that this book is pretty split up when it comes to trying to put it in a particular genre. You settle nicely in for one genre only for… the plot to thicken (sorry I couldn’t help it!).

The one major issue I had with The Quick was the vast cast of characters. Just as I got into one set of characters, we were introduced to a new set of characters. And once we started to like the new set of characters something happened to them. Meaning they either could never appear in the rest of the book. Or we had a long gap before they reappear. There are times when the reader gets into the story only to go back to the beginning as new characters are introduced and their background told.

The book moved quickly between character plots meaning that (besides James), the reader is unable to fully sympathise with the character’s dilemma and any real feelings are limited. Yes it’s a great story, yes there is suspense, yes there is uncertainty in how the plot will be resolved. But that is as far as my feelings go. Except when I lose a character, then I get pretty upset (What do you expect it is a book about vampires!).

Overall this is a well written book, and the story is a different take on vampires. But it is the cast of characters and the length of book that other readers may find daunting. However you should try it, after all this novel is very similar to Marmite. You’ll either love it or hate it, but you won’t know until you try!

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