Monday, June 30, 2014

ARC Review: The Quick by Lauren Owen

Title: The Quick 
Author: Lauren Owen 
Published: June 17, 2014 by Random House
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Synopsis: 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. 

 *** I received a copy from the publisher in return for an honest review. My opinion has not been affected by this fact ***

It's hard to call this book bad, but it's also hard to call it good. One thing I can definitely call it is long. Not physically long, more emotionally long. It took me all month to read it and despite enjoying a lot of things about the book I struggled a little through reading it.

One of the best things about the book was the writing style. Despite the fact that it a recent debut it reads much more like a classic than a piece if recent fiction. Like the setting of the book, it harkens back to a time long past. The prose was beautiful and engaging without a doubt. But much the classics to which I refer, The Quick just felt a little wordy and unnecessarily detailed. Perhaps my modern sensibilities can't handle something with vintage tendencies.

But for me the pacing was problematic. It started off very slow and then about halfway through, I was happy to see that it was getting very interesting but then everything fizzled at the end. I think it's biggest problem was that the beginning was just a lot of exposition. The synopsis makes you think we're dealing with only a few characters but the book is so much more detailed that that. There are many different storylines and characters being set up at the start of the book. Eventually they do end up intertwining and connecting later in the book, which was actually quite interesting.

I think what I was expecting is a Gothic mystery full of surprises but what I got was a supernatural story full of dramatic irony. Maybe I just thought the twist was obvious because of the books that this one was compared to, including one of my absolute favorite books. Maybe I was just expecting something of that caliber. Or maybe the dramatic irony was intentional or the authors inability to come out and state the obvious was more of a plot point than I thought. Either way I wasn't quite blown away by the twists and would have liked a little more mystery. 

Despite the harsh criticism I did enjoy the book. It was a good exploration into the world of the supernatural creature that inhabit this book. There was so much deep analysis of them and their mythology making me quite curious about the characters and their scientific study of the supernatural. It was an interesting spin on the genre and it's world-building. 

I think I would have liked the book so much more if thare had been a little slicing and dicing in the editing process. It's respectable and hearty 500 pages felt more like 1,000 at times and despite enjoying the plot and the characters, it was a struggle to finish. 

I give The Quick by Lauren Owen a 7 out of 10

I would recommend this books to fans of Supermatural fiction or Historical Thrillers who are invested for the long haul. This is not a book for the more casual reader, this book is an investment.

Have you read The Quick? Tell me your thoughts? Have you ever read anything that felt longer than it was? Tell me about in the comments down below! Thanks for watching... And HAPPY READING!


  1. I had to read this in shifts too. It was so long, and lots of characters, like you said. Some characters were described in such detail, then really didn't have much to do with the story. I liked the story -- just found it tedious. Could have been edited more and been a much better book. Great review!

    1. Thanks Annette! You're totally right, it was a little tedious at times especially at the beginning and the end. It was a enjoyable read that would have been better with some editing!