I’ve been very excited for Lauren Owen’s The Quick to be out since I’ve first heard about it. Naturally, I had to get it as soon as it hit the stores. You probably heard that the novel holds a plot twist that should remain secret under all circumstances. For me, this plot twist was spoiled by comparisons of The Quick to other novels. If something similar happened (or happens) to you, I can still recommend reading this novel, as the plot twist isn’t what should make you read it in the first place. 😉
Synopsis quoted from Random House UK¹:
You are about to discover the secrets of The Quick
But first you must travel to Victorian Yorkshire, and there, on a remote country estate, meet a brother and sister alone in the world and bound by tragedy. In time, you will enter the rooms of London’s mysterious Aegolius Club – a society of some of the richest, most powerful men in fin-de-siecle England. And at some point – we cannot say when – these worlds will collide.
It is then, and only then, that a new world emerges, one of romance, adventure and the most delicious of horrors – and the secrets of The Quick are revealed.
In The Quick, Lauren Owen takes us to 19th century England. I particularly like the different moods she creates. The Norburys’ childhood home in Yorkshire has a fairytale-esque touch to it. It’s like seen through a crystal globe. London on the other hand, has its bright and glamorous and its dark, mysterious sides that will become very clear to you.
James and Charlotte Norbury are the main characters of this Gothic novel. James is a well-read young man, but I find Charlotte more interesting than him. Her sweet and caring character develops into a strong-minded and brave woman without losing her original traits.
The Quick is divided in five parts. Each part has its strengths and weaknesses. My favorite part is “Part One”. Something is revealed in this part and could be rather shocking for some of you. What Ms Owen does here is genius. (This isn’t the plot twist I was talking about above). The novel slows down in “Part Two” and only starts to pick up speed during “Part Three” again. Fortunately, the last two parts make up for the dragging middle of the novel. The Quick finishes with an exciting, emotional and fast-paced story. But still, Ms Owen leaves us with some loose ends. One of them is very obvious and I don’t mind it at all, because it’s a good stylistic device. But there is another one concerning a secondary character who did something and whose fate is left unmentioned. It seems like he was forgotten about.
I recommend The Quick to fans of beeep who like to read beeep. Well this doesn’t work. You shouldn’t be thin-skinned for this novel, but don’t be afraid, even someone as easily scared as I am was able to read it. The Quick isn’t a thriller, it isn’t romance either. The Quick is a good novel.