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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent debut novel - full of creepiness.
This is an interesting and extremely competent first novel by a writer who combines her vivid imagination with literary ability. We first meet the main protagonists, James and Charlotte in late Victorian England, as children living in faded and isolated semi-grandeur in their family's crumbling country mansion. An absent father and a parade of short lived governesses...
Published 3 days ago by EleanorB

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Quick
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...
Published 5 months ago by S Riaz


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Quick, 3 April 2014
By 
S Riaz "S Riaz" (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 10 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Quick (Kindle Edition)
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’t find out his identity. James is keen to become a poet and moves to London to attempt to try his hand at writing. While there, he again meets up with the young aristocrat that he first met at Oxford and ends up sharing rooms with him.

The storyline then switches to James and his new friend, Christopher Paige. Christopher has a distant relationship with his family and there is a disastrous dinner party, at which we begin to realise that all is not well. This then becomes somewhat standard fare, with a tale of vampires holed up in the mysterious Aegolius club. I have to admit that I felt somewhat cheated when I began to fall in with what was happening. James becomes embroiled with the Aegolius club, while Charlotte comes to London to try to rescue him, along with a cast of characters who have their own agenda to try to help her in her quest. What begins as an atmospheric and interesting novel somehow turns into something which is really quite mundane and the fact that we lose contact with Charlotte in the middle of the novel makes it harder to care for her – or her relationship with her brother – when we meet up with her again in the novel.

Overall, this is well written and atmospheric , but the storyline and point of view jumped around too much for my personal liking. It begins with such promise, but became a fairly standard novel – about vampires, again.... If, however, you are interested in vampire novels, there is much that will be of interest, including the notebooks of Augustus Mould, who is allowed to enter the club in order to carry out research on the un-dead and discover their powers and limitations. Lastly, I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, for review.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Aegolius Club, 3 April 2014
By 
M. Dowden (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Quick (Hardcover)
This story starts in the fin de siècle era and continues on into the Twentieth Century. It must be admitted that nowadays the vast majority of books in this sub-genre seem to be written almost exclusively for teen girls, so it is always a change to come across one that is for adults, although teens should find this readable as well. This story in the main is told in the conventional third person narrative style, except for entries in a notebook, which are of course first person.

At the very beginning of this we are introduced to brother and sister James and Charlotte, and with their lives about to change with an inheritance. Whilst Charlotte remains at Aiskew Hall in Yorkshire to nurse her aunt, James makes his way to London to make his fortune as a writer. At first James writes poems but with an illicit love affair under way he undertakes to write a play, but it is this that will prove his undoing, as he becomes mistaken for someone else. Thus James has an encounter with that most mysterious of London's men's clubs, the Aegolius Club.

When Charlotte realises that she cannot get hold of James she thus has to make her way to London in search of him. Thus Charlotte starts out on an adventure she will never forget.

This proved to be some really good escapism, and although adding nothing new as such to the genre is still an enjoyable read. With action and adventure this also looks at the class divide, although not in the conventional sense. With politics playing a part as the Aegolius Club try to grasp a firmer control and more power in the real world, their working class counterparts see that the status quo is about to be changed.

This despite its action themes and some romance is also quite thoughtful, and does make you think of the atrocities that have happened in the name of science in the past century as well as political upheavals elsewhere. This could be an interesting book for a book group as there is actually quite a lot to discuss here.

I received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent debut novel - full of creepiness., 12 Sep 2014
By 
EleanorB - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Quick (Paperback)
This is an interesting and extremely competent first novel by a writer who combines her vivid imagination with literary ability. We first meet the main protagonists, James and Charlotte in late Victorian England, as children living in faded and isolated semi-grandeur in their family's crumbling country mansion. An absent father and a parade of short lived governesses leave the children very much to their own devices and dependent on each other - James the younger, more so, with Charlotte very much in a maternal role. One of their games is undertaking "ordeals" one of which involves an ancient priest hole. This relationship is tested to its limits over the ensuing years, when the house is finally closed up and Charlotte becomes companion to an aging aunt, James cuts loose and heads first to Oxbridge and thence to London with the intention of becoming a writer.

In London, he finds himself in the orbit of former university acquaintances, and ends up sharing rooms with the louche and charismatic Christopher Paige, who parties hard and has a flaky relationship with his wealthy family. Suffocated by London life, the two young men decide to head abroad to pursue their own lifestyle in peace. On the night before their departure, a fateful expedition to deposit James's newly completed play on the doorstep of Oscar Wilde, results in tragedy for them both, although for James, death might have been the preferred option.

Fast forward to Charlotte's worries about her brother who appears to have gone missing, and her own arrival in London to try to find him. So begins a journey through the darkest of dark sides, and it becomes apparent to her, from the work being undertaken by some new acquaintances, that James is missing, not dead, but 'not dead' in the worst way. Charlotte's mission is to rescue him from the clutches of the sinister Aegolius Club, and to find a cure: this quest subsumes the rest of her life - the ultimate ordeal for both siblings.

From this point on the cast of characters becomes complex, with vampires, vampire students, vampire victims and vampire hunters producing a creepy, Gothic, crawl around London and further afield. These vampires may be undead, but they can be destroyed albeit with difficulty, they are also class driven, desperate to feed and suffer dreadfully from the cold, especially when first transformed: some 'sympathy for the devil' there!

As James and Charlotte's sad destiny is played out, she too finds love and support in her hunt for a "cure" and her solution to the problem of supporting her brother until such time as she can make him well, takes them full circle back to the old house.

The Quick of the title are, of course, the living prey of this vampire cult. This is a good beginning to what will no doubt be a fine body of work from this author, and I hope she turns her skills to a wide range of genres. Can recommend - maybe not last thing at night though!!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable gothic Victorian novel, 9 Sep 2014
By 
S. Smith "bookssavelives" (London, uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Quick (Kindle Edition)
The Quick has seemed to really divide opinion but I am happy to say that I really enjoyed it and would read more by this author. I had read an interview with the author in the Bookseller magazine and was intrigued by the premise of the book. The first part of the book follows the childhoods of a brother and sister James and Charlotte and this was my favorite part. We then follow James as a young man who arrives in London hoping to succeed as a playwright – he falls in love with another man but tragedy strikes when they are both attacked and James disappears while his lover is murdered. Charlotte is determined to come to London to look for him and soon discovers that he has been taken by the mysterious Aegolios club and is no longer the brother she knew. She sets out to rescue him and finds herself lost in a dark underworld of London which she never knew existed but unites with others who wish to destroy the Aegolios club once and for all…
I thought this book was very well written and loved the gothic Victorian setting and the characters of Charlotte and James. My only criticism would be that the ending was a little confusing and ambiguous but perhaps there will be a sequel?? I also felt that the first half of the book was stronger than the second but overall this is a good first novel and a decent read.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars (3.5 stars) Well-written but leisurely Victorian gothic pastiche, 3 April 2014
By 
Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Quick (Kindle Edition)
Owen has concocted an entertaining Victorian adventure which is atmospheric, moody and characterful. It’s an unhurried tale which takes as much time getting to where it’s going as a genuine 3-volume nineteenth century novel: for example, we’re about a quarter of the way through the book before we realise precisely what kind of a story this is.

I don’t want to say anything that will give away the plot arc for new readers, but this models itself on a classic Victorian novel in some ways, though gives it a mischievous modern spin.

The prose style is a nice pastiche of genuine nineteenth-century elegance, and the multiple narratives told through various voices, diaries and journals work well.

I did wish that the story would get to where it was going with a bit more pace - but If you enjoy leisurely stories that linger through their stages and only gradually reveal their destinations, this is an entertaining read.

(This review is from an ARC courtesy of the publisher)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's not quite what it seemed... Was ..., 1 Sep 2014
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This review is from: The Quick (Kindle Edition)
It's not quite what it seemed... Was very jumpy and ultimately not hugely gripping as you didn't really care about any of the characters. Well written but ultimately disappointing
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3.0 out of 5 stars Nothing to stand out from the crowd, 6 Sep 2014
By 
Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog "Falcata T... - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Quick (Paperback)
Right, I managed to avoid the hype surrounding this novel and whilst I know that a number of other readers have been disappointed in their viewing of the title, however personally I just found it to be so so rather than anything special. Whilst there is a twist quite early on, its predictable, the characters sadly two dimensional and whilst I liked the potential found it didn't live up to what I was hoping for.

All round an OK book, but nothing that jumps out from the vast crows of Historical Fiction out there. What a shame.
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3.0 out of 5 stars An experience I'm happy I had, 17 Jun 2014
This review is from: The Quick (Kindle Edition)
I heard a lot about this book before I ever read it I waited for quite some time to read it, so that I would be able to do a better review and include more details when I finally did review. I have to say, part of me understands why this book was touted as such a fabulous and outstanding book, and part of me wonders if this was too much hype and not enough delivery.

This book is not bad. I think most people would enjoy it just for the solid writing and the superb usage of language. Still, I did not get the shocking, absolutely earth-shattering twist that I had heard so much about. The characters are logical in the beginning and the book moves along slowly, but steadily. I found myself quite liking the first portion, actually.

Then everything changes. Literally everything.

New characters are introduced and the book becomes, for a while, all about them. I got confused and then got over it, but after that the story had a different feel and it wasn't as exciting for me.

This is a complex novel, and a lot of thought went into it, so please don't just discount it. Give it a read and see what you think.

One final thought: for a book called "The Quick," this was actually stunningly long. Excellent book for a holiday when you have some free reading time.

Overall, it was not exactly what I had expected, but the writing was brilliant and the story was different.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided by Netgalley. All opinions are my won.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Quick, 18 May 2014
By 
Keen Reader "lhendry4" (Auckland, New Zealand) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Quick (Hardcover)
The first pages of this novel offer a brief insight into the mysterious Aegolius Club - but as to why, the reader is left in suspense about that for a quite a while. The book is in five Parts. Part One is a narrative of the early years of young James Norbury in Victorian England. His mother dead and his father absent, James lives a quiet life with his sister Charlotte and a few servants. As a young man James attends College and then moves to London to pursue a writing career. Part Two tells of the work of Augustus Mould - who he is and what he is writing about slowly becomes clear, but how it can relate to James remains unclear. Part Three brings several elements together in the story, and the tension builds. But in Part Four it all seems to go a bit awry. There are new characters introduced, but these characters don't ring true - they are too far from an established truth even for a novel which is a gothic Victorian. Part Five brings all the action together into a frenetic search for ultimate truth and salvation; too late for some, maybe in time for others.

This is a book which left me with rather mixed feelings; good in parts (like the curate's egg), but there are elements which let the book down. I really enjoyed most of this book; it was Part Four that I found myself really not happy about, and I read that section feeling rather disappointed that Parts One through Three had led to this point. Part Five redeemed the overall book, but given that the book is a long one (more than 500 pages), I think it would have benefited from a rather more ruthless editor giving some of Part Four a total revision, benefiting the book as a whole.

It is possible, from the way the book ends that there is a sequel in the works. I would look forward immensely to reading this, as I believe the author's work has great merit. One section of this book really needed to be tightened in the narrative and characterisations, and let down the book as a whole somewhat. But it would be nice to think the author could tighten her style for further works, and I would like to read more by her.

3.5 stars.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars and I think this book is as close to perfect as a writer can achieve, 20 July 2014
This review is from: The Quick (Hardcover)
I've read through some of the reviews on this page, and I'm horrified to see that people haven't been showering it with 5 star reviews. I read a lot of literature from Shakespeare to Stephen king, and I think this book is as close to perfect as a writer can achieve. Yes it's about vampires, but it's about much more than that, too. It's about the Victorian establishment, it's repressive nature, and it's creaking empire. This is a wonderful book, beautifully written, and I urge you to read it. Thanks Lauren for writing this, and I look forward to your next novel.
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The Quick by Lauren Owen
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