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The Quick

3.3 of 5 stars 3.30  ·  rating details  ·  4,144 ratings  ·  1,027 reviews
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, su
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Hardcover, 544 pages
Published June 17th 2014 by Random House (first published April 3rd 2014)
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Diane
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Diane Yes, I read that the author is currently working on a sequel. I'll look forward to reading it.…moreYes, I read that the author is currently working on a sequel. I'll look forward to reading it.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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karen
so, somehow i am supposed to review this.

and it's unfair, because it isn't being published until june, and as soon as it is, and more people begin to read it and its secrets come out, it won't be necessary to be all coy in the reviews, but for poor little me, reading this all the way back in february, it would be insensitive to be all HEY YOU GUYS, THIS BOOK IS ABOUT SUCH AND SUCH.

even though it was spoiled for me before i read it. double unfair.

because the reveal comes early in the book. and if
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Jeffrey Keeten
”Fire is a far more effective weapon--not only does it destroy the creature’s body, but he will be fascinated by its warmth and may be unable to flee. More than one of them has died simply by refusing to relinquish the pleasant sensation of immersing himself with a blaze, even though his natural resistance to flame is eventually overcome and his body reduced to ash.”

James Norbury is in London writing feverishly trying to master the art of scribbling. He is living with a young, devilishly attract
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Blair
For me, The Quick was a book which suffered under the weight of expectation and hype. Every single review I've read of it - on Goodreads, on blogs, and in the press - has highlighted the fact that it has this amazing unexpected twist. And I suppose the fact that I knew it had this amazing unexpected twist led me to speculate on what it might be a lot more than I would have done otherwise, because although I had no clue about the nature of the twist, I guessed it really early, so it didn't surpri ...more
Bonnie
There has been much hush-hush about the true reality of this novel but I think hiding this does it an injustice. The true genre of this story is the supposed ‘twist’ and it’s not much of a twist in all actuality. For those who wish to be kept in the dark, stop reading. Bottom line: The Quick is nothing more than an attempt to combine the enthralling historical fiction aspects of Sarah Waters’ writing and the Gothic mystery of a classic Anne Rice novel. Suffice it to say it was a failed attempt.

T
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Jane
Where I got the book: ARC from the LibraryThing Early Reviewer program.

Alas, I am underwhelmed. I guess my expectations were raised to boiling point by the prodigious hype splashed around the ARC's cover pages. "The Quick will establish her as one of fiction's most dazzling talents...consummate storytelling and suspense...I am in love with Lauren Owen's first novel..." and so on. Imeantersay, all this from Random House? I'm expecting Dickens, David Foster Wallace and Edgar Allan Poe all rolled i
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Penny
Oh dear!
The reviews of this book looked promising plus I live in Yorkshire where some if it is set. And I LOVED Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell and was hoping for another corker along those lines.
Not to be.
Nearly 100 pages in and I've had far too much of such childish naïve writing, riddled with clichés and stereotypes.
As for the 'twist'? Subtle as a flying mallet.
Not for me thank you.
Barb
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
wanderaven
I am sad.

Just sad.

When Random House gave me permission several months ago to read Lauren Owen's debut novel, I was very excited.

(view spoiler)
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Leanne
This book deserved better treatment from me. I've been so scattered with my reading for the past few weeks that it took me 22 (!!!) days to read it, and no book is as engaging when it's being read in a million little chunks.

But despite that, I really, really liked it. It's moody and dark, and really doesn't paint Victorian London in the prettiest light - we only see the very grittiest side of it. The writing feels genuinely Victorian without being dense, and the characters are nuanced and compl
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Karin Slaughter
I read this in galley form and really enjoyed it. I would highly recommend putting it in your to-read shelf.

As other reviewers have mentioned, it's very hard to talk about without giving away major spoilers, so I will refrain because I don't want to be the one who spoils the secrets. I mean, what if I revealed Jack Reacher dies in the next Lee Child and ruined it for everybody? Not that he does or anything, but how would you feel? And also, a death revelation has nothing to do with this book.

Wai
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Mish
3 1/2 Stars

The Aegolius Club is a mysterious club, run by a group of elite and powerful men with many secrets. Londoners can only speculate on what goes on behind the walls of the club, but we (as a reader) are given the privilege to read the journal/diaries of a member; a mad science known as Dr. Knife. In these diaries you uncover the truth of what these member seek and represent, and it’s more sinister then we could ever imagine.

While snippets of these diary notes were scattered throughout t
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Phrynne
This was a good story about a subject I enjoy. The characters started out interesting and full of good intent. The setting was a suitably Gothic London. In fact everything was in place for my total enjoyment so why did I keep skimming whole sections and generally looking forward to being finished? I guess the book was too long for its content. Some sections were repetitive and some not really necessary. And then strangely the whole lives of two of the main characters sped past in a few chapters! ...more
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
This is a cranky review of a book with a good deal of hype. The writing is nice enough, and there's lots of plot, and some historical ambiance; but I have a giant huge quibble with the marketing and mystique surrounding it which, for me, didn't enhance my reading experience.

I'm hesitant to even try to recap the book lest I give away something I shouldn't. In brief, it's set in the 1890s in London, and features siblings who have to find each other as adults after some dramatic stuff happens. The
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Sue
I love historical fiction so was immediately drawn to this tale of a brother and sister growing up orphaned in Victorian Yorkshire, with the young man eventually going on to Oxford then to London to attempt to make his way as a writer. From there his life and the plot begin to take twists and turns that I hadn't expected, not having read too many excessive reviews or blurbs. And for that, I'm happy. Surprises in reading are good when they are well done and Owen does them well.

I am not going to d
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Tania
A well written debut novel, but I really struggled to finish it. It was one of those books where I enjoyed it while busy reading, but as soon as I took a break I felt no compulsion to get back to it, in fact I had to force myself to finish it. I liked the historical feel, but could not connect to any of the characters, and found the plot to be slow and predictable. I am sure there are many others who will enjoy this though.
Susan
This was a promising debut novel, set in Victorian England. It begins with two children, Charlotte and James, who grow up in a rambling house in the country. Although this part of the book is quite slow, it does set the scene and establish the relationship between the siblings and show how much James means to his sister. After their father dies, Charlotte is left in the care of her aunt, while James goes off to school. While he is at Oxford he meets a young man in the library, although he doesn’ ...more
Laura


I received this book as a digital ARC from the publisher through Net Galley in return for an honest review.

This book is based on the story of the Aegolius Club that was a British clubmen known by its secretive nature.

The plot tells the story of James Norbury. After their parents' death in Yorkshire, James and his sister Charlotte moved into a small cottage with their aunt, Mrs. Chickering.

Once James is sent away to school in Oxford, he starts to dream to become a poet. There he will meet Christo
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Frank Errington
Review copy

An auspicious debut for writer Lauren Owen. Given my love of horror, at first I thought I may have been misled into reading The Quick.

From the book's description, "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 fr
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Liviania
The cover of THE QUICK is ridiculously boring: sepia-toned man leaning on the edge, most of the cover taken up by a table. But I was quite intrigued by the blurb, which promised both magic and terror. I'm glad I paid little attention to the cover, because I thoroughly enjoyed THE QUICK.

The action begins when siblings James and Charlotte Norbury are children, just long enough to establish their relationship. James is sensitive; Charlotte is practically his mother. The time then jumps to James dec
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Meagan
I can't write much about this book without completely ruining the experience, which I refuse to do. And this is really upsetting, because I have a near-perfect read-alike for it, but if I mention it here it will give away the completely surprising plot twist that turns this book on its head about 20% in. So, if you've read this and want my read-alike, let me know. I'll tell you on the DL.

Now, my advice to you: read this book sooner rather than later. Because people be jerks, and it's going to ge
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Janet
Thank you to the author, publisher and Netgalley for the ARC. Much appreciated.

Now that I've read this I've now read some reviews too. I came to this one initially not knowing about the 'twist' or had any preconceived ideas other than that it's meant to be really good. Unfortunately, before reading, I inadvertently clicked onto a review and a big spoiler was given away with literally one word. I was not happy. I still don't know why readers feel the need to talk about spoilers, give key plot poi
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Emily
I read this book avidly, even though I detest some of the titles being offered as comparable, like The Last Werewolf and The Passage, and never made it through Dr. Strange and Mr. Norrell. It takes a certain amount of chutzpah to write a vampire novel at this point, especially a literary one, and I was amused to think that, after we've all enjoyed vampire stories set in the Pacific Northwest, Eastern Europe, and Louisiana, setting your vampire adventure in Victorian London now seems fresh again. ...more
Paula Cappa
I found this story to be way too slow for supernatural/vampire genre. The opening had no hook at all. Most of this book was overwritten that just weighed down the storyline. I had to start skimming to get through it and at 500 pages, it drove me to weariness. Owen is a decent writer, I'll give her that. And Charlotte and James have a certain charm and appeal but they were not compelling characters. I found the voice of the book to be flat, void of color and emotion. POV was a bit choppy. Still, ...more
Samantha
I have read a LOT of vampire books. Most of them were pretty terrible. After Stoker's Dracula and Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian, it was pretty much all downhill, with very few exceptions. Most books in the genre are either sanitized, pleading attempts to humanize something which, by definition, is inhuman, or gleefully perverse, trading on the author's ability to describe horrifying, disgusting violence rather than the ability to weave plot strings. What Owen has done here harks back to the ...more
Liz Wilkins
You are about to discover the secrets of The Quick -

But first, reader, you must travel to Victorian England, and there, in the wilds of Yorkshire, meet a brother and sister alone in the world, a pair bound by tragedy. You will, in time, enter the rooms of London’s mysterious Aegolius Club – a society of the richest, most powerful men in England. And at some point – we cannot say when – these worlds will collide.

HA! Well, I went into this one with absolutely NO CLUE what to expect. And please, i
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Andrea Murray
I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
I was confused by the basic story in this novel. The beginning was well-written and interesting, and when the novel switched narration (for the first time) to James’s POV, I still found the story easy to follow and intriguing. A gay man in Victorian England, while probably not uncommon, isn’t often the central figure in a novel, but when the story’s POV changed again and the plot began to involve a secretive vampire cult, I began t
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Lolly LKH
Gothic is the word but SNEAKY is even better. What a sneaky novel, here I thought I was reading a sweet little coming of age about a brother and sister only then to be smacked in the head with terror. I refuse to ruin it for anyone, and you will meet interesting characters on these mean streets and everything else the book promises but trust me, it's not at all what you think. You will be surprised and it's such a unique take on the subject- that you are better off not letting anyone who has rea ...more
Alisha Marie
I didn't really have extremely high expectations when it came to The Quick. Everyone who has read this book has seemed to agree that this book takes a little while to get into. However, a lot of readers have reviewed saying that once you're finished with that tiny bump in the road (i.e. the first 100 pages), The Quick picks up. Sometimes you have those books that are a pain to get into, that just take longer than they should to read. But then towards the end you realize that all of that work and ...more
Jenny Q
3.5 Stars. Well, that back cover blurb is rather vague, isn't it? I believe it's intentional so as not to spoil the suspense and mystery surrounding the dangers at the heart of this story, so I will do my best to tell you how I felt about this book without giving any of the plot away!

First and foremost, The Quick is beautifully written. It begins with James and Charlotte, two young orphans living in seclusion on their crumbling country estate, creating games and challenges for each other to whil
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Jolene
**Thank you Random House and Netgalley for providing this in exchange for an honest review**

3.5 Stars

I came very close to wanting to mark this DNF during the first 20%. It was too slow for my taste and the twist isn't my cup of tea. I'm so glad I plowed through it. This was a wonderful Gothic novel. I'm not sure how to write a review for this title without giving away the big secret, so this will be very short.

The story is told in alternating POVs. A good chunk of the beginning is told in James'
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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.
More about Lauren Owen...
Best Romantic Short Stories with Happy Endings (1800-1923) (Illustrated) (Owen Literary Collections) Dream Extra

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