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The Quick

The Quick

3.0 26
by Lauren Owen

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NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY SLATE • Includes an exclusive conversation between Lev Grossman and Lauren Owen

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

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The Quick 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
RtBBlog More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Marissa Book provided by NetGalley for review Review originally posted at Romancing the Book I was really quite surprised by this book. Despite the description, I picked up the book thinking it was a mystery – girl looks for missing brother – possibly with elements of erotica. What I did not expect was vampires. Now reading the book’s blurb, I can see I totally missed the intent. However, this is not your typical vampire novel. James Norbury moves to London upon his graduation and finds the city grimy and dark and not much to his liking. He eventually meets Christopher Paige and begins to see the city through different eyes. I loved the way James’ character changed from dark to light as he fell in love. Even after he is bitten, he holds that light of love for Christopher. Charlotte Norbury has a lesser role, guiding James as the older sister then seeking him out when he goes missing. Charlotte has the strong character I imagine women of that time must have had. She cares for the estate after James leaves, then tends to her ailing aunt, and finally, travels to London on her own to begin the search for her brother. Even more so, rather than run home at the first glimpse of what her brother has become, she fights to save him. The other characters in the book – Adeline, Shadwell, Mould – are just as well-written. There is enough background to learn why the characters have become what they are and why they act the way they do. Adeline and Shadwell are what you might call the Guardians of the Truth. They collect information on vampires and protect innocent humans from them. Mould, aka Doctor Knife, is the creepy monster of the book, a sort of cross between Dr. Frankenstein and Mr. Hyde, who wants to dissect and experiment. While the ending was not quite a surprise, it was a good ending nonetheless. It allows the story to have that OMG moment as a stand-alone book or leaves room for a sequel. Either way works for me. The Quick is a fascinating story that kept me turning the pages well past my bedtime.
tpolen More than 1 year ago
This book is difficult to review because I don't want to give away anything. Let's just say there was a really BIG twist that was unexpected. It was something I particularly enjoyed, and readers looking for a conventional Victorian suspense novel may continue reading; for others, this may not be your cup of tea. I thought the take on this particular topic was unique, intriguing, and at times thought-provoking. Victorian London was the perfect setting and added to the element of suspense. There were numerous characters and different POVs which were sometimes confusing, but I felt this was necessary to advance the plot line. Although filled with angst and torment, James was an engaging character to read. Because he had to hide who he really was (in more ways than one) I sympathized with him. With some of the characters, however, I felt like too much backstory was given and with others, I could have used a little more, such as Eustace Paige. I would have liked to know more about his motivations. This novel was engrossing and I especially liked the ending, but felt it could have been trimmed down some. There were definite highs and lows with pacing. This review is based on a digital copy from the publisher through NetGalley.
BrandieC More than 1 year ago
Recently, I have gotten a lot of my book recommendations from the great gang at Book Riot, and they have rarely steered me wrong. So when they named The Quick not only one of the "5 books to watch for in June," but also one of the best books Riot staff read in May, I promptly sought it out on NetGalley. This time, however, I am going to have to disagree with Liberty Hardy ("I loved it so much") and Amanda Nelson ("hated the ending, but loved the rest of it"). While well written, The Quick is nothing to write home about. As the publisher's summary indicates, the book centers around James Norbury and his sister Charlotte, and this is its greatest flaw because James and Charlotte are boring. The first 100 pages are so are carried, not by James, but by his charming friend Christopher Paige, and once James disappears in London and the focus shifts to Charlotte's search for him, the story loses all momentum. Chapter 18, which tells the story of Charlotte's new friends Shadwell and Adeline, is by far the best in the book; their relationship feels real. On the other hand, the relationship between James and Charlotte, and her later relationship with Arthur Howland, are unpersuasive. Owen tells us, for example, that Charlotte loves James, yet nothing in their adult interactions reveals why she should feel anything more than a superficial sibling bond. Early on, Owen describes her lead characters' lives thus: "It was if their lives were a pencil line drawn on a piece of paper and someone had followed behind with an India rubber, erasing the line as they went." I couldn't agree more; James and Charlotte are eminently forgettable. Nelson may be "completely and slavishly willing to read the sequel that [she]’d bet money is coming in the future"; I'll pass. I received a free copy of The Quick through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
ToManyBooksNotEnoughTime More than 1 year ago
The Not So Quick I would like to thank NetGalley & Random House for granting me a copy of this e-ARC to read in exchange for an honest review. Though I received this e-book for free that in no way impacts my review. Goodreads Blurb: 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. Named One of the Top 10 Literary Fiction Books of the Season by Publishers Weekly  Despite the glowing description in the Goodreads blurbs above, I did not find this book particularly compelling. Reviewing this book while avoiding spoilers is something of a challenge, to say the least. The first half of the book was something of a bore for me, with minor interludes of interest, such as James' unexpected love. For in that day and time, when class still had great importance, to defy the class-structure was to risk your standing in society. Even though James and his love-interest did their best to keep their relationship below the radar, they weren't entirely successful, and it seems to have been the cause of most of the calamitous events that follow their discovery. Aside from those small islands of interest the book simply didn't grab my attention. It felt dry and scattered to me, even assuming that all those scattered bits of information would later be stitched into a cohesive tapestry. Some of the stories never did seem to need the depth which they were given, and although they were somewhat interesting it felt as though the author had plans for them that fell through later in the book, and someone forgot to edit out the earlier lead-in. The way Charlotte ended up in London was actually due to his habit of writing to his sister on a regular basis. A habit he maintained even after he began his love affair. But then the letters simply stopped coming. A worried Charlotte sent several telegrams, none of which met with a reply, causing her to pack a small bag and head for the city of London in search of her brother. So ultimately she didn't even know he was missing until she arrived at his place in London. She thought maybe he was desperately ill, or an accident had befallen him and no one knew how to reach her. She was only partly right with that last bit. Charlotte meets some interesting characters, each with fascinating stories and professions. A Mr. Howland has some firsthand knowledge of her brother, and along with Ms. Swift and Mr. Shadwell, help her figure out where her brother most likely is. Between these four, and several other acquaintances, Charlotte goes on a dangerous chase through London in search of James.  All hints in London seem to point toward the illustrious Aegolius Club. However the Club, as well as it's members, are deeply shrouded in mystery, and more than a hint of danger. Very little is actually known about the club, other than its members are from the very upper echelon of society. However they are reclusive, and as no women are allowed in the club very little in the way of fodder for gossip makes its way out. Aside from coming from the top of the societal food chain the other thing the members share is an air of danger. Things come to a head in London, and after narrowly escaping danger, her search takes her abroad. Though now she is looking for an answer to the ultimate question, a question that many had been researching for time unknown. This time she has not undertaken her quest alone. She has developed a partnership with one of her companions from London. This book is somewhat like a bumbling version of a Sherlock Holmes story, filled with mysteries and mayhem, but with leading ladies as well as leading men. Yet there is a fair amount of extra material, and too many central players for me to feel particularly invested in any one or two. The closest I come would be Charlotte, Mr. Howland, and Ms. Swift, and yet even with them I felt as though I was being held at an arms length away, if not further. I find it terribly challenging to become invested in a book when I can't get invested in the characters, as they are what drive the story for me. I couldn't find fault with the writing, the grammar or turn of phrase. Yet the extra material was a deterrent, as was the way the beginning of the story bounced from place to place, person to person. The story became more linear as time went on, which in some ways made it worse, as I feel that stories should commit to being either linear or non-linear and remaining that way for the duration. Yet clearly others found this to be a riveting story. I will say that the portrayal of London and the surrounding countryside was excellently done. It made me feel as though I were actually there, witnessing the events as they unfolded. The rich, detailed descriptions were excellent, and certainly helped redeem the book for me, though I'm still unable to reconcile the rave reviews with my experience of the book.
Meemo_B More than 1 year ago
*Copy provided by Netgalley for an unbiased review.* What to say about this one? I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I enjoyed the atmosphere, enjoyed Lauren Owen's writing style and the characters she's created, and I enjoyed the twists and turns this story took. There were bits of plot points that I saw coming, but more that I didn't. I don't want to give away too too much, since some might not know about the initial "surprise". But I do recommend it, and I will definitely be on the lookout for Owen's next book.
Neevie More than 1 year ago
Others have remarked that it is hard to review this book without giving too much of the plot away.  I agree.  It isn't so much that there are unexpected twists and turns, but more the fact that the author chose less than conventional ways of telling this type of story.  To share those would be to ruin it for some readers I think.  Part of the book's charm is that it does and does not take a well trodden road, if that makes any sort of sense. The book is very well written. The author does a nice job of making me feel the dreariness of 1890's London; the oppressiveness of the "Club"; the grandeur of London's high society; and the griminess of London's not-so-high society.  I firmly understood each character and their motivations.  As some reviewers have suggested it would have been nice to see some more back story on some characters but  I had what I needed to enjoy the story. It does start off slow. It's almost boring in terms of the way the author described the comings and goings of some of the main characters.  But after reading through it, I saw the wisdom in it.  By the middle of the book, when it's clear it's about vampires and the people who may or may not love them for whatever reason, the contrast between their old lives and their new is just that much stronger, and that much more sad.   Overall, I enjoyed this book very much.  I was left with enough residual feeling to still care and think about the story.  And as much as the ending could be interpreted as leaving the story open for a sequel, it was enough to stand alone. And in this age of the 10+ book series I am very thankful to read a single book I can enjoy and not worry about when I can find out what comes next.
ABookishGirlBlog More than 1 year ago
{There are spoilers in this review} Given the sprint reading course that I have been on lately I was a little intimidated by the bulk of this book 544 pages is not something to blink an eye at but a gothic Victorian London and vampires is just to hard for this girl to resist. It is like my favorite genres meshed into one glorious book! So James and Charlotte Norbury, brother and sister, grow up in the family home, Aiskew Hall, with each other as the others only companion. There are some servants of course but since their mother's death their father doesn't ever come home to see his children and seems even to bothered to take care of their welfare. But they have each other and they make due the best that they can. Then one day their father comes home but only because he is deathly ill and whilst the kids are playing the children are finally allowed to see their father but only Charlotte does because while they were playing James went into the hidden priest hole in the library and so as not to get in trouble Charlotte left him in there and went to see their father alone. After leaving her father's side Charlotte noticed that Mrs. Chickering, her aunt, Mrs. Rowley, the housekeeper, and the doctor all went into the library where James was still locked in the hidden priest hole unbeknownst to the adults they were actually informing James of his father's death in the most unpleasant way.  What a horrible way to find out your father is dead and that you missed the chance to see him, would you blame your sister for it? James doesn't seem to but Charlotte fears it but by then it doesn't seem to matter because they are soon forced apart, James to school and Charlotte to live with their aunt, Mrs. Chickering. Time soon passes rather quickly and in the case of this book a turn of the page burns through years of James and Charlotte's lives. James is in his final term at Oxford and is getting ready to take London by storm deciding upon writing as a profession since he is rich enough already to be able to do what he loves even though the pay is dismal. James soon finds himself sharing a suite of rooms with Christopher Paige and a friendship of note ensues but then something more seems to grow there and that is just not something you do in Victorian London. Confronted by Eustace, Paige's brother, about their relationship, James wants to end it but Paige would rather run away together than lose James or let Eustace tell him how to live his life. But tragedy strikes first leaving Paige dead and James a creature of the night. After not hearing from James after the death of their aunt, Charlotte sets out for London to discover what has become of her brother and finds that thanks to the Aegolius Club her brother is now a vampire. Both Charlotte and James meet both regular people and vampires along the way who help them escape the clutches of the Aegolius Club. A lot of action ensues and they are able to escape London and return to their ancestral home where Charlotte seals James into the priest hole in the family library as she sets off to find a cure for her brother. Always searching Charlotte ages as her brother stays hidden in the priest hole looking just like when she sealed him in there but when Charlotte dies her husband goes to free James only to find the priest hole empty! I found the writing gripping the kind that bounds you to the page having to know what is next, there were a few parts that I thought what the "...." but this book is quite a large undertaking for a first novel so I choose to forgive those parts.
LottieTripe More than 1 year ago
MAGNIFICENT!  I grew up on Anne Rice, so with that being said, the Vampire tale bar has been set quite high. The sophistication and epic span of The Quick, may prove to be the proverbial passing of the torch. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was very difficult to read. It jumped around too much and had too many plots going on and too many characters. I read the entire book only because I thought it would get more interesting. It didn't. Would not recommend unless you like complicated books and lots of blood.. Very disappointing.
Anonymous 10 months ago
I loved this book and all the twists it gave. I really hope there is a sequel or another book produced by Lauren Owen! Excellent writer!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Boring read waste of time and money
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After reading the description of this book given in the Nook Store, which drew me in and had me looking forward to a mystery, I was surprised to find it was about vampires. I didn't dislike this book but I didn't especially enjoy it either. However, after paying $13.99 I was determined to see it through to the end. It isn't a bad story but is one that is filled with a great many charcters and viewpoints. I felt that the characters lacked depth. The motivations for the actions of these characters seemed to be stated more than described making them somewhat hard to relate to. I found the ending to be rather flat. I would only recommend this book to diehard vampire fans that feel they have exhausted other book options.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was profoundly unfulfilling. It is an easy read and a waste of time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
SouthernPsych More than 1 year ago
Tedious. I made it through the first 100 pages and the "twist" and I was bored silly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
can't recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was an intestine read, however there was not a strong sense of character development and the narrative was choppy. The story could have had a more cohesive flow, but for the author's first novel, it was an interesting story. Her take on the vampire was grittier and more nuanced: these were not glittery sex addicts, but a darker take on the idea of a vampire. Overall, it was ok.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I wish I could get my money back on this one. By chapter 5 I was done reading. Very disappointed.
C-Olivia-J More than 1 year ago
this Book was AWFUL. It was stupid, made absolutely no sense - was jumpy and the end disgusted me. DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME - that is the one commodity in life you cannot get back. I wish I could give it NO STARS. NONE!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
At asher res 1
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Look,I haven't read this book but I hope you will take the time to read my review. I think, because of the different likings,that you would rate it 3 stars. You wouldnt hate it it but you wouldnt love it. If you are a positive person your rating would be good but if you are not it would bad