The Quick: Book summary and reviews of The Quick by Lauren Owen

The Quick

by Lauren Owen

The Quick by Lauren Owen X
The Quick by Lauren Owen
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About this book

Book Summary

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

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Though the book has an old-fashioned, leisurely pace, which might cause some reader impatience, Owen's sentence-by-sentence prose is extraordinarily polished - a noteworthy feat for a 500-page debut - and she packs many surprises into her tale, making it a book for readers to lose themselves in." - Publishers Weekly

"Her world building is exceptional, and readers will simultaneously embrace and shrink from the atmosphere's elegant ghastliness, but the novel's structure is uneven - it feels overlong in places - and she devotes regrettably little time to her most intriguing characters. It's an impressive feat, nonetheless, one with the potential to attract a cult (and occult) following this summer." - Booklist

"Though abrupt transitions to a different point of view and time period detract from the flow of the story, this will appeal to devotees of the macabre and gothic set in the Victorian period, especially those who enjoy Charles Palliser's Rustication and David Morrell's Murder as a Fine Art." - Library Journal

"A book that seems to begin as a children's story ends in blood-soaked mayhem; the journey from one genre to another is satisfying and surprisingly fresh considering that it's set in a familiar version of gothic London among equally familiar monsters." - Kirkus

"A suspenseful, gloriously atmospheric first novel, and a feast of gothic storytelling that is impossible to resist." - Kate Atkinson, author of Life After Life and Case Histories

"A sly and glittering addition to the literature of the macabre... As soon as you have breathed with relief, much worse horrors begin. It's a skilled, assured performance, and it's hard to believe it is a first novel." - Hilary Mantel, author of Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies

"Ambitious, elegant, atmospheric, and often deeply poignant, The Quick is a seamless blend of Victorian London and rich imagination. This is a book to savor." - Tana French, bestselling author of In the Woods and Broken Harbor

This information about The Quick was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

Write your own review

Sylvia J. (Los Angeles, CA)

Quickly engrossing tale within a tale!
The Quick is a layered journey through Victorian London's high and low society. I truly enjoyed the book within a book within a book idea where we learned first about the main characters' early lives, then as they went on their separate ways. Along the way we witnessed the true love story turned undead nightmare with the Aegolius Club and the Mould vampire chronicles. This book hit every check mark to make it one of my favorite books- historical relevance, a great love story and fantastical/mystical/unforgettable characters. I won't soon forget The Quick and I hope there is a sequel to resolve those last questions that remain with the undead and those who fight to protect the living from them.

Lianne D. (Redmond, WA)

A Great Read!
I was pleasantly surprised by The Quick. I thought this book would be about a young man's coming-of-age in Victorian London, but it's so much more than that. There is a supernatural element that completely changes the path of the story. Lauren Owen knows how to evoke a setting, her characters are memorable, and her writing is so smooth that the pages just fly by. I had a hard time putting it down, glad that it was a long book because it just kept unfolding into unexpected plot twists, some of them completely terrifying to imagine. Lauren Owen has taken a much-written-about genre and made it new. She has also left the door open for a sequel! I highly recommend The Quick.

Judy M. (East Haven, CT)

The Quick
When I first started reading The Quick, I fell in love with Lauren Owen's writing. The ease in which she brought me in to the time & place in England was so natural.

I did not remember upon receiving this book what it was about, and had not read the back cover for some odd reason before I began. So imagine my most welcome surprise to learn that this novel had to do with a version of the undead, truly one of my favorite subjects!

What I continued to love was not only her style and descriptions, but her slightly different approach to the topic at hand. Without giving up to much of the story, I can only say that I savored every page of this novel, and read it with a an appetite equal to some of it's characters.

I loved the relationships built between brother & sister, James & Christopher, and all the other people whose lives intertwine with the factions of the undead.

I am hopeful that the author will continue writing, and thrill me with her next novel. Accolades to Lauren!!

Michele C. (Harvard, MA)

The Quick
I will start by saying that I probably would not have chosen this to read if I saw it in the bookstore, but I am so glad that I was given a copy to read! I stared to read it and I was unable to put it down. The whole book kept me on edge the entire time, never once disappointing.

I will keep the secrets under lock and key, because that way others may be able to enjoy this book as much as I did. I will say that it takes place in Victorian England and is a tale you may think you are familiar with, but it is told in an entirely fresh way. The characters were compelling, the story was suspenseful and there were surprises throughout.

A book which holds several love stories and a scary secret. I loved it!

Barbara M. (grants, NM)

The Quick
The Quick was not like anything I expected. Right from the start I was drawn into a world that kept me intrigued. I was able to connect with the characters and felt part of their lives immediately.. The character development along with the world building and a plot with lots of twists and turns kept me coming back for more. About the time I thought I had the whole thing figured out there would be a new twist that would totally throw me for a loop and hook me all over again.

This book has it all, mystery, intrigue, romance and even the undead! This book should appeal to a wide audience and I will definitely be looking for more from this author. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to enjoy this fabulous read.

CarolK

Debut Author to Watch
Lauren Owen has managed to take something old, the vampire myth and put her own spin on it. This debut horror tale held my interest but could have been tighter than its 500 pages. Not perfect but I'd like to see what else Ms. Owen has up her sleeve.

...33 more reader reviews

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