Friday, December 11, 2015

Review: The Quick by Lauren Owen

Publisher: Random House
Pages: 523
Received: Received a copy from Penguin Random House of Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: June 17, 2014
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Goodreads 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.

My Review:

I was truly interested in the idea of this book, a large book with a fantastical world taking place during the Victorian age. This was quite a long story with a lot of information flying around. It takes some time to really understand everything that is happening because there are many different views of this special society.

Lauren Owen really details every aspect, which makes this book feel so much more realistic for readers. I could imagine all these little secret meetings happening, and the different groups all trying to come together to find out what exactly is happening. Each of the characters are unique and bring a different aspect to the story. We see how others react to the Aegolius Club, and what kind of things they want to do about it.

I felt that the descriptions really brought out the creepiness of the story that much more, just because everything came to life for me as a reader. At times it reminded me a little of Dracula by Bram Stoker as well, with the journal entries added in throughout to really bring out the story. It is definitely a drawn out story that took me some time to get into, but at the same time there is this mystery behind everything that really keeps you going even though it seems that the story may not be going anywhere.

The other part of the book that truly kept me going was the relationship between James and his sister, Charlotte. It is this strong bond between these two that brings Charlotte into this dark world and why the Aegolius Club comes out into the open. When Charlotte doesn't hear from James, she goes out in search for him and the things she finds is a lot worse than she could have ever dreamed.

There are some interesting twists to the story, though some do come out early on, and then there is a lot left to go through, which is what made this book a little difficult for me at times. The details really help the story, but they hindered it at times as well. What I loved was the romantic aspect of the book, it is very subtle at times, but there are some great scenes that deal with many relationships. I kind of wished those were detailed a little more sometimes.

This is not a book for everyone, the strong details will deter many people (I almost stopped reading quite a few times) but at the same time, it was a fun and intense thriller at other times. It is a book that I will remember but I do believe there are many other books out there that have dealt with this subject material in a much better way.

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