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Original Essays | September 17, 2014

Merritt Tierce: IMG Has My Husband Read It?



My first novel, Love Me Back, was published on September 16. Writing the book took seven years, and along the way three chapters were published in... Continue »
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The Quick

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The Quick Cover

ISBN13: 9780812993271
ISBN10: 0812993276
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

For fans of Anne Rice, The Historian, and The Night Circus, an astonishing debut, a novel of epic scope and suspense that conjures up all the magic and menace of Victorian 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. Alarmed, his sister, Charlotte, sets out from their crumbling country estate determined to find him. In the sinister, labyrinthine London that greets her, she uncovers a hidden, supernatural city 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 the exclusive, secretive Aegolius Club, whose predatory members include the most ambitious, and most bloodthirsty, 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

Review:

"Though currently enjoying a resurgence in popularity, vampires as we know them are a Victorian invention: Dracula came out in 1897. Debut author Owen sets her seductive book in 1892, in a late-Victorian London with a serious vampire problem. And like her Victorian counterparts, Owen depicts a host of characters: there's shy, provincial poet James Norbury and his intrepid sister Charlotte; vampire hunters Adeline Swift and Shadwell; a rich American in danger; and Augustus Mould, who researches vampire myth and fact on behalf of the vampires, and who's as warm and friendly as his name suggests. The vampire world is divided: the elite men of the Aegolius club coexist, not happily, with a ragged band of underclass undead. The book's pleasures include frequent viewpoint shifts that require readers to figure out how each character fits into the story, new riffs on vampire rituals and language, plus several love affairs, most of which are doomed. And there's plenty of action — Mould's research, the clubmen's recruitment efforts, escalating battles between vampires and vampire hunters and among the vampires, and Charlotte's efforts to save James. 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. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review:

“[A] creepy debut...a thrilling tale....This book will give you chills even on a hot day.” Minneapolis Star Tribune

Review:

“An intricate, sinister epic...an impressive fea....Owen proves a master at anticipating readers’ thoughts about future happenings and then crumbling them into dust. Her world building is exceptional, and readers will simultaneously embrace and shrink from the atmosphere’s elegant ghastliness.” Booklist

Review:

“An elegantly written gothic epic...Owen’s soaring imagination and her light-handed take on magic save this story from being either obvious or boring....The journey from one genre to another is satisfying and surprisingly fresh.” Kirkus Reviews

Review:

“An intriguing blend of historical, gothic, and supernatural fiction....[The Quick features] wonderful atmospheric writing.” Library Journal

Review:

“Owen has created an intricate world in which the reader feels a part. Take the trip, if you dare, into a luscious Victorian London rendered by a gifted young British writer who seems weaned on equal parts Sherlock Holmes, Buffy Summers and Harry Potter.” Shelf Awareness

About the Author

Lauren Owen studied English Literature at St. Hilda's College, Oxford, before completing an MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, where she received the 2009 Curtis Brown prize for the best fiction dissertation. The Quick is her first novel. She lives in Durham, England.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

kalireads, August 21, 2014 (view all comments by kalireads)
I’ve debated how to review Lauren Owen’s The Quick since finishing it a few days ago. I don’t think this is a novel with a twist, as much as it is a novel which dedicates a bit of itself to misdirection. Even the cover could be misleading, as I realized through summaries that this was going to be a novel of secret societies and suspense, but I assumed it would be more in the literary vein, like Alena Graedon’s The Word Exchange.

The Quick seems to tell the story of James and Charlotte Norbury, growing up with a distant father in their treasured but disintegrating Askew Hall. Where generations of the Norbury clan lived lavishly before them, James and Charlotte are mostly left to their own devices, losing track of time amidst old statues in the garden or building their bravery by creating tests of courage in the library.

James grows into a young man and sets off for the big city of London, as young men are wont to do. He’s determined to be a writer, and rarely leaves his flat, sitting up at his desk all hours and staining his hands with ink as he creates long classic poems. He finds himself living vicariously through his roomie Christopher Paige, who comes home late to divulge tales of London high society, heavy drinking, and debauchery.

But the story here hasn’t really begun, because much more than friendship is brewing between the aristocratic Christopher and the meek James. And even then, the story hasn’t really begun, because at a dinner party, James notices that Christopher’s brother looks ill--he seems so pale, and is he wounded? Is he bleeding?

As the book doesn’t directly introduce its subject matter, some readers may be frustrated. The Quick is a historical novel, yes, but it is a supernatural historical novel. All this high society, all this classic London aristocracy--there is something horrible bubbling underneath. There are fight scenes, there are wild street children getting shot in the feet, there are fires and desperate carriage rides to safety. The book includes journal entries, scribbled and ripped in places. Those hoping for the story of James and Charlotte to continue as it did in the style of the book’s beginning may be dismayed, as reality shifts around them, and the narrative drastically changes.

If you are seeking a mild-mannered historical novel, you may want to look elsewhere. If you are interested in what might be crouching in the shadows of that mild-mannered historical novel, overlooked and unexplored, then you’ll want to pick up The Quick.
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Ryan DeJonghe, June 16, 2014 (view all comments by Ryan DeJonghe)
First, let’s rule out what shouldn’t be a spoiler. Go back, read this book’s description. Comparisons to Anne Rice? A secret club of bloodthirsty men set in the late 1800s London? Within the first fifty pages we’re introduced to a man who stays out all night, comes back with dark red stains on his lips, and sleeps during the day. My question for you: is it really that much of a surprise? Oh, and on the first page of this book, there is a quote with a link to a site that contains an entire book--the most famous and classical of this genre.


Speaking of the most famous and classical book of this genre (I won’t mention the v-word), THE QUICK reminds me so much of it. Finally! A book of this genre going back to its classical roots: mystery and romanticism. The story unfolds slowly and smoothly. The language employed is perfect and beautiful. There’s a nice mix of narrative and journal clippings. It all blends together to tell a fascinating tale, both classic and new.


There are plenty of surprises left to discover. The big surprise is NOT what this book is about, but about how the relationships unfold. This is what I will not give away for you, but let you discover it for yourself. Who are “the quick”? What is “Dr. Knife’s” role? At first, we are witness to the loving relationship of a brother and sister. We see how James, the brother, is reluctant to learn to read, but later becomes a writer and poet. How familial love transcends ordeals and complications unfolds throughout.


I also appreciate the mix of historical fiction: meeting famous people like Oscar Wilde, talk of historical figures like Jack the Ripper. That and London itself blend together to enshroud everything with curious mystery. The setting is perfect.


Books descriptions are sometimes off in their comparisons to other authors, but they did well this time. The similarity between this and Anne Rice is spot on; even more so with that first weblink offered in this book (author rhymes with Poker). If you are tired of the teen novels of this genre and want something more mature and classic, Lauren Owen offers the winner you seek.


Thank you to Random House for providing a digital copy of this book for review. I enjoyed going back to the roots of v… (Surely you know by now��"I promise it doesn’t spoil surprises, nor the story.)
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(4 of 8 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780812993271
Author:
Owen, Lauren
Publisher:
Random House
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Literary
Publication Date:
20140631
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Pages:
544
Dimensions:
9.54 x 6.64 x 1.73 in 1.8 lb

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » New Arrivals
Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » Fantasy » Historical
Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » Fantasy » Paranormal

The Quick Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$18.50 In Stock
Product details 544 pages Random House - English 9780812993271 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Though currently enjoying a resurgence in popularity, vampires as we know them are a Victorian invention: Dracula came out in 1897. Debut author Owen sets her seductive book in 1892, in a late-Victorian London with a serious vampire problem. And like her Victorian counterparts, Owen depicts a host of characters: there's shy, provincial poet James Norbury and his intrepid sister Charlotte; vampire hunters Adeline Swift and Shadwell; a rich American in danger; and Augustus Mould, who researches vampire myth and fact on behalf of the vampires, and who's as warm and friendly as his name suggests. The vampire world is divided: the elite men of the Aegolius club coexist, not happily, with a ragged band of underclass undead. The book's pleasures include frequent viewpoint shifts that require readers to figure out how each character fits into the story, new riffs on vampire rituals and language, plus several love affairs, most of which are doomed. And there's plenty of action — Mould's research, the clubmen's recruitment efforts, escalating battles between vampires and vampire hunters and among the vampires, and Charlotte's efforts to save James. 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. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , “[A] creepy debut...a thrilling tale....This book will give you chills even on a hot day.”
"Review" by , “An intricate, sinister epic...an impressive fea....Owen proves a master at anticipating readers’ thoughts about future happenings and then crumbling them into dust. Her world building is exceptional, and readers will simultaneously embrace and shrink from the atmosphere’s elegant ghastliness.”
"Review" by , “An elegantly written gothic epic...Owen’s soaring imagination and her light-handed take on magic save this story from being either obvious or boring....The journey from one genre to another is satisfying and surprisingly fresh.”
"Review" by , “An intriguing blend of historical, gothic, and supernatural fiction....[The Quick features] wonderful atmospheric writing.”
"Review" by , “Owen has created an intricate world in which the reader feels a part. Take the trip, if you dare, into a luscious Victorian London rendered by a gifted young British writer who seems weaned on equal parts Sherlock Holmes, Buffy Summers and Harry Potter.”
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