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The Quick by Lauren Owen

The Quick

by Lauren Owen

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88511916,611 (3.32)132
"Lauren Owen's thrilling first novel introduces an utterly beguiling world. London, 1893: James Norbury is a shy would-be poet, newly down from Oxford and confounded by the sinister, labyrinthine city at his doorstep. Taking up lodging with a dissolute young aristocrat, he is introduced to the drawing rooms of high society and finds love in an unexpected quarter. On the cusp of achieving a happiness long denied to him, he vanishes without a trace. In Yorkshire, his sister Charlotte - only in her twenties but already resigned to life as a rural spinster - sets out to find her brother. Her search for answers leads her to one of the country's pre-eminent and mysterious institutions: The Aegolius Club, whose members include the richest, most ambitious men in England. Trying to save James - and herself - from the Club's designs, Charlotte uncovers a secret world at the city's margins populated by unforgettable characters: a female rope walker turned vigilante, a street urchin with a deadly secret, and the chilling "Dr. Knife." As emotionally involving as it is suspenseful, The Quick will establish its young author as one of contemporary fiction's most dazzling talents" --… (more)

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So, what can I say about this book? Three things really, a) it is a debut novel for this Author b) I really didn’t see that coming and c) Noooooo!!!

I found this book by chance on a rummage through my local lending library the other day, and was intrigued both by the cover and the synopsis, so home with me it came and I’m glad I took a chance on something so unknown to me. If other readers have already heard of this novel they may think I live under some rock and rarely venture out; that is not the case, I never read reviews on books and choose them purely on their own merit when out and about and this was the case with this one.

From a character point of view they are plentiful in this novel, and they are morose, they are arrogant; you may love them or you may hate them, but each of them will bring about a reaction in the reader of some description. In my opinion it was hard to pinpoint one main character in the whole of this novel, as so many come and take centre stage in a way that will impact all those around them; and once they step away from the limelight they do not fade out of the plotline entirely as many Authors have their lesser characters doing. Despite the time period in which this novel was set, there was one particular character I really connected with and I was rooting for her every time she appeared in the story; there were also others that no matter how hard I tried I could not find anything redeeming in their character and found myself chuckling when rough things happened to them.

Because of the way in which this book is written it is hard to write an in-depth review without giving away the plot. It is written from a multi-perspective point of view , as each character comes to the front and also includes journal entries; all the good stuff that combine together to make an exceptional Victorian gothic novel. It is very apparent from the way in which the Author addresses class issues and gender expectations that they have done an extensive amount of research into this period of history; the shock one woman expresses at seeing another wearing trousers is a good example. The location descriptions are the best I have read in a long time, and in this area put me in mind of Dickens and Conan-Doyle in the way the Author uses the surroundings to propel the storyline along. The grandeur of some buildings is, in the next paragraph startling contrasted against the poorer areas of London; along with smells and attire I could almost feel I was back in this time with the characters.

This is a moody, dark and gritty novel which really doesn’t show London at its best, but this is what adds to the novel. There is no sugar coating of the privations some suffered and the excesses others enjoyed. Because of its abrupt ending however, I am hoping that this may be the start of a series, one that I will definitely be following. If not, and the Author decided to leave the reader with a cliff-hanger, I don’t really mind as I will definitely be reading this Author again.

I would highly recommend this book to lovers of historical fiction, and those who enjoy a good gothic novel. Also those who enjoy Victorian crime fiction may find this to their liking.

Originally reviewed on: http://catesbooknuthut.com/2014/07/16/review-the-quick-lauren-owen/

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
( )
  TheAcorn | Nov 8, 2019 |
Couldn't make even halfway through, but I did not enjoy the beginning. SPOILER: The pacing was oddly stilted and the narrative developed characters I half-liked only to kill them off a few chapters lately. Too much build up and not enough delivery...or maybe I'm just getting patient in my old age. ( )
  slmr4242 | Oct 16, 2019 |
Got an advance copy to review. Gothic and vampire-y. Blech. ( )
  LizBurkhart | Sep 5, 2019 |
A gothic vampire novel with a difference. The story had a nice Victorian atmosphere and lots of vampires who passed as human in their daily lives. A lovely creepy ending. ( )
  scot2 | May 28, 2019 |
No full plot summary in order to avoid spoilers! This is a British gothic novel that has a very promising beginning and a decent almost-ending, but the middle and the very end were overly long and frustrating. This book begins with the sweet tale of a brother and sister, Charlotte and James, growing up rather neglected at their estate in the country. They really only have each other, until James is sent to Boarding school and Charlotte is left behind with an Aunt. We soon meet up with James who has now graduated from Oxford and decided to give London a try. We are then treated to a beautifully written description of Victorian London and the lifestyles of the young, rather wealthy and aimless young men. Then there is a BIG plot twist that takes the novel in a different direction. New characters are introduced, new parts of the city explored, and yet somehow, when the action should be picking up the pace of the novel seemed to slow to a crawl. James pretty much gets pushed to the background and Charlotte to the forefront. There is so much going on and yet it seems to be take soooo long!

I loved the descriptions in the book, but the pacing was off. The way the author changed the pace of the action made no sense to me, and she often had characters make decisions that were very out of character. I did not like the ending which left much unresolved and seemed to be leaving the door open for a sequel. I think a better editing/advising relationship could have easily pushed the book from 3 to 5 stars. ( )
  Rdra1962 | Aug 1, 2018 |
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There were owls in the nursery when James was a boy.
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Average: (3.32)
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