Book Cover
Title The Quick
Author Lauren Owen
Cover Art Rex Bonomelli
Publisher McClelland & Stewart - 2014
First Printing McClelland & Stewart - 2014
Book Cover
Title ---
Author Lauren Owen
Cover Art ---
Publisher ---
First Printing ---
Printing Status ---
Category Gothic
Warnings None
Main Characters James Norbury, Charlotte Norbury, Christopher Paige, Howland, Mould, Bier, Liza
Main Elements Vampires
Website ---




Click to read the summaryThe Quick




I guess sometimes it pays not to hear about the hype before reading a book. As I was writing this review I looked up other people's thoughts and was suprised at how many bad reviews the book had received when I'd enjoyed it quite a bit. But one thing seemed to be in common with those reviews, disappointment in the "twist". Well, being blisfully unaware that there even was a twist, when it came, it actually added to my enjoyment of the book since I'm a fan of the genre. I was pretty sure from the book summary there would be a supernatural aspect, though it could have just been a Victorian mystery. Now if you are looking for a mystery stop here, there isn't really one as the reader is omniscient, it is however, something unexpectedly else.

I really enjoyed the characters, in particular James, to the point where the POV would switch to other characters and I'd be flipping ahead to see how long before we get back to his viewpoint. Fortunately I also became quite fond of Charlotte and Howland, with Mould being useful simply to give us more background as to what was going on. I could have lived without the Alia's viewpoints but was an interesting contrast to that of the Club.

SPOILER ALERT

Though if you do even a quick Google of the book or author the "twist" will be exposed by the titles of the first page of results. I don't think there is any loss in being forwarned about the true nature of the book, and will stop the reader from having grand expectations that lead to later disappointments.

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Here is the twist, the book has vampires in it, and I want to comment on the type of vampire Owen created. Here we have a classic gothic Victorian vampire. Not some sparkly vegetarian vamp. Not even something out of Harris or Hamilton where the vampires are essentially humans with fangs, and sexy to boot. This is your Dracula-esque vampire. No, not the sexy Dracula from the movies, or the misunderstood one from so many other novels. The original one. The guy who looks and smells like a corpse, sleeps in a coffin, takes pleasure in other people's pain. And yet there is something vaguely appealing about them (the gentleman/aristocratic vampire perhaps?), though what it is is hard to put your finger on because frankly, immortality would be pretty darn miserable if you were perpetually cold. I live in Canada, I already spend six months of the year cold, can't imagine seeking even the slightest bit of warmth even in the middle of summer.

These are true monsters, definitely not something you want to become yourself, nor even hang out with. Even when James becomes a vampire, you'd think, well he's the good guy so he'd be a good vampire, right? Nope. When he looked upon humans with his vampire eyes he saw animals, all the brutish, dark thoughts we have, how unappealing mortals were for anything other than food. While he still didn't want to become a killing machine, the reader is pretty sure that one day he wouldn't care enough to bother resisting the urges.

The story drew me in, at times I'd read nearly a hundred pages in one sitting because I just wanted to know what would happen next. It was dark, it was weird, and at times incredibly sweet and loving. And may I say, quite the ending! I'm sure some people won't like it but it was the kind of cliffhanger that I actually enjoy. It leaves you wonder what happens next, but at the same time does provide closure. I read that the author is writing a sequel so while not strictly required to wrap up the story, I'll look forward to finding out what happens next.

I saw other reviews comparing it to The Historian...while I thought that one was ok, this one was much more interesting and if you are going to complain about lame twists, I think the Historian takes the prize. I mean, you'll never guess it, so it does some as a suprise, but its so utterly illogical that you have to laugh. The Quick's twist may not come as a surprise at all, but it makes for a good story.

It was also compared to Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell. Given that is one of my favorite books, The Quick can't compare. And when it comes to twists Johnathan Strange has one of the best, it competely makes you rethink everything that went on in the entire novel.

So I'd suggest to anyone reading this book, ignore the hype, or better yet, avoid the hype altogether (I try to do that as a general rule, always leads to disappointment). Just pick up the book and read it without any preconceptions and you might enjoy it.




Posted: June 2014

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