Summary: For fans of Anne Rice, The Historian, and The Night Circus, an astonishing debut, a novel of epic scope and suspense that conjures up all the magic and menace of Victorian 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. Alarmed, his sister, Charlotte, sets out from their crumbling country estate determined to find him. In the sinister, labyrinthine London that greets her, she uncovers a hidden, supernatural city 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 the exclusive, secretive Aegolius Club, whose predatory members include the most ambitious, and most bloodthirsty, 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.
Source: I borrowed a Kindle copy from my local library
The beginning of The Quick was so good. I enjoyed watching Charlotte and James grow up without parents in a large house, spooked by the secret hiding spot behind a bookshelf. When the story abruptly shifted to James and his experiences in London, it took me a minute, but I was just as sucked in after a couple of pages. I didn’t see the relationship forming that he entered into and I was eager to find out what would happen.
The rest of the book just didn’t pull me in. The writings of Augustus about the club were somewhat intriguing, but they didn’t suck me in at all. I knew it was being set up as a conflict to the situation with James, but I wasn’t interested in the details. I was vaguely interested by Miss Swift, but even that started to get tedious. The club was a lot less interesting than I anticipated.
I’m not sure what happened, but the last half of the book just didn’t grip me. I don’t think the relationships were as well formed because we kept being introduced to people without really knowing what importance they were. After the major turning point in regards to James and his life, I wasn’t sure what the big picture was.
Apparently, the synopsis doesn’t explain the big “twist” in the book, but I’m not afraid to just come out and say that it’s about vampires. Which is fine because I really do enjoy great vampire fiction and the fact that there’s this secret club in society that influenced England and were actually vampires seemed like it would be epic. But the most epic thing about them is that they were vampires and that was pretty much it. But I was still expecting some dark and gothic plot that gripped me the way the early bits about James gripped me. It should have, but I felt like the majority of the book was like wading through a swamp.
The Quick was interesting and worth the read if you can prepare yourself for a lot of slow moments and being pulled from the story to jump into another character, time frame, or article.