Friday, May 23, 2014

The Quick by Lauren Owen

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.

My Thoughts on The Quick...I really went into reading this with extremely high expectations. I love Victorian Gothic novels, but if I was being honest I can't remember the last time I've actually read one before The Quick. I devoured the very beginning of the novel. Two children, Charlotte and James, living in an old country mansion. Their mother is dead and their father is absent. The set up was perfect. Then before I knew it James was a young man finishing up his time at University. Then I was bored. I felt like the story just drug on and on. If the chapters had been shorter it may have felt like I was making progress, but they are really long. Eventually the story does move forward and there are some twists and turn bringing it back to a Victorian Gothic feel.

I will say Lauren Owen's writing is suburb. I mean everything about the novel made me believe I was in a Victorian setting (her writing was authentic to novels of the time). There were moments I was completely engaged in the novel, but a number of times I was skimming the text. Since finishing, I've gone ahead and read a number of other blog reviews of The Quick. Many very much enjoyed it. I have come to the conclusion I need to reread The Quick. While reading it, I was going to two soccer and two baseball games a week, dealing with three kids with numerous end of year school activities/parties, and I've been reading lots of summer type reads. I wonder had I been reading more Gothic and maybe could have been more focused and less rushed...I may have enjoyed it more. Maybe that seems silly? I know I have read both Dracula and Frankenstein a number of times and seem to enjoyed them more after the second and third read through. Anyway, back to The Quick...I would recommend reading it, but don't expect to read it quickly.

Lauren Owen’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, May 5th:  Bibliophilia, Please
Monday, May 5th:  No More Grumpy Bookseller
Tuesday, May 6th:  A Daily Does of R & R
Wednesday, May 7th:  Unabridged Chick
Thursday, May 8th:  Too Fond
Friday, May 9th:  October Country
Monday, May 12th:  A Bookish Way of Life
Monday, May 12th:  Let Them Read Books
Tuesday, May 13th:  For the Love of Words
Wednesday, May 14th:  Must Read Faster
Thursday, May 15th:  A Fantastical Librarian
Friday, May 16th:  Bookish Whimsy
Monday, May 19th:  River City Reading
Monday, May 19th:  In Bed with Books
Tuesday, May 20th:  Reading Reality
Tuesday, May 20th:  Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Wednesday, May 21st:  Love at First Book
Thursday, May 22nd:  Luxury Reading
Friday, May 23rd:  A Novel Review
Monday, May 26th:  A Reader of Fictions
Tuesday, May 27th:  Broken Teepee
Wednesday, May 28th:  Book-a-licious Mama
Thursday, May 29th:  Read Lately
Friday, May 30th:  Patricia’s Wisdom

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