Book Reviews





The Quick by Lauren Owen - review

"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."

Title: The Quick
Author: Lauren Owen

Publisher: Random House UK, Vintage Publishing
Source: ARC via Netgalley
Available: April 3rd 2014
Buy it: Here


The Aegolious Club is a secret society in the heart of London. No one knows what it's members do, but many of them are rich and powerful. When a young writer, James, seeks his fortune on the streets of the capital he becomes entwined in a grand-scale plan orchestrated by the Aegolius, and stuck in a battle of territories between rival groups. Blood will run, and lives will be lost, and only James' sister, Charlotte, may be able to save him.


The Quick was an interesting read that does a lot to amend some of the bad press books of its genre may have suffered in recent years. It is a gothic thriller, with secrets, friendships and underground societies as it's main themes, all set in Victorian London.

The setting and the time period of The Quick is rich and wholly imaginable. I love books that are set in Victorian England and The Quick is no exception. I felt at any minute I would run into Fagin and Oliver, such was the very Dickens-eque quality of the scenes!

It is a long novel, and although I felt at times that the pacing was slow, I enjoyed the read. Snippets of great horror writing run through the themes of the book, and I found them perfectly slipped into narrative. Not gratuitous but quite frank, the horror aspects of The Quick are possibly one of the book's highlights.

Although I warmed to a few of the characters in the book, I felt a lot of the vast array of main characters were a little stifled. The only character I really felt like I knew properly was James, and though I really liked Charlotte at the start, she was then absent from the story for so long that she returned as a totally different person. In such a long book I was surprised the characterisation didn't run deeper. This may have added to the feeling of length, as the reader is not emotionally aligned with the characters all the way through.

The greatest problem I find with this book though, is it's marketing plan - which, in order not to ruin in the course of this review, has meant I am limited by what I can say about the themes. In fact, I might post a secondary review once the book has been released to discuss it further, as I think the marketing itself is detrimental to the expectations I had when beginning to read The Quick.


The Quick is a suspenseful read which will appeal to fans of Victorian era horror. The marketing plan surrounding the release will prepare you for a big secret, but I personally found this to be a bit of a disappointment, as the expose comes early and doesn't quite live up to it's hype.


No comments