Thursday, June 19, 2014

Book Review: The Quick, by Lauren Owen

For die-hard fans of vampire books, The Quick is not to be missed.

Wow. This one is hard to describe. Allow me to use the description from Amazon:

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.

And just let me say, that description is adequate, but not complete. The strength of The Quick is definitely the setting. Owen immerses you into this London world of blood suckers that is so believable it sends chills up your spine.

Every character is completely illustrated. Owen starts at the very beginning and we learn all the background of each character before we learn how they are related to the story. I enjoyed this technique, although some of these characters turned out to play fairly minor parts in the story, and these descriptions served to make this a very long book.

The Quick is not action packed. It's immersive. It's a character study. I actually stopped twice during my reading to read other books. I was interested in The Quick, but the plot was so plodding that I got tired of it. I'm really glad I finished it, but it is an investment in time.

And after all that imagery and following our characters through their entire lives, I really thought the end fizzled. When the end is revealed, my first thought was, "So?" Yes, I know it's supposed to make you wonder, but it's not the resolution that I'd hoped for.

The Quick has been compared to The Historian, and I can see why, although personally I preferred The Historian. It's also been compared to Anne Rice books, which I've never read, so I can't comment on that.

The Quick is definitely a literary book, and for the right reader, I highly recommend it.

Published by Random House, June 17, 2014
eARC obtained from Edelweiss
544 pages

Rating: 3.5/5

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  1. I enjoyed this one for the atmosphere and the characters so I agree those are it's strengths! But I was disappointed in the ending as well! It seemed rather meandering too, I wanted more of a point to it all. Btw, I haven't seen that cover for this book before - I think I prefer it to the US one!

  2. Great review! Thanks for checking out my review as well. I totally agree that the imagery and writing was fantastic, but there were way to many characters to follow and keep track of making things very tedious. As far as the ending I totally agree, after trudging along to finish the twist at the end made me more mad than intrigued, where was that stuff the whole time!

    The Historian is one of my absolute favorite books and it's an unfair comparison but The Quick just didn't capture the mystery, suspense, and adventure of that book.


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