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The Quick: A Novel | [Lauren Owen]

The Quick: A Novel

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 city that greets her, she uncovers a hidden, supernatural world populated by unforgettable characters.
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Publisher's Summary

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 city that greets her, she uncovers a hidden, supernatural world 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

©2014 Lauren Owen (P)2014 Random House Audio

What the Critics Say

"Seductive . . . extraordinarily polished . . . [Owen] packs many surprises into her tale, making it a book for readers to lose themselves in." (Publishers Weekly, Starred Review)

"A suspenseful, gloriously atmospheric first novel, and a feast of gothic storytelling that is impossible to resist." (Kate Atkinson, bestselling author of Life After Life and Case Histories)

"A sly and glittering addition to the literature of the macabre . . . As soon as you have breathed with relief, much worse horrors begin. It's a skilled, assured performance, and it's hard to believe it is a first novel." (Hilary Mantel, bestselling author of Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies)

"Ambitious, elegant, atmospheric, and often deeply poignant, The Quick is a seamless blend of Victorian London and rich imagination. This is a book to savor." (Tana French, bestselling author of In the Woods and Broken Harbor)

"The book's energy, its wide reach and rich detail make it a confident example of the 'unputdownable' novel." (The Economist)

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.4 (97 )
5 star
 (13)
4 star
 (32)
3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Overall
3.1 (89 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
3.9 (87 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
 (4)
Performance
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  •  
    kelliez123 09-09-14
    kelliez123 09-09-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "not my favorite"

    this book started out really slow. At times it was kind of hard to follow and pretty boring. In the end it was kind of pointless.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Valerie O 05-13-15
    Valerie O 05-13-15 Member Since 2014

    EyeSpyIBuy

    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    13
    5
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    "28 chapters before this book sings"

    Really painful for over half just to get into the story . Once your there with Liza it's so engaging you can't stop . The entire sister part is puzzling & I thought confusing & unresolved . The end made made me feel like this was just a huge set up for the next book . I'm still thinking about returning it a full day later .

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Salvatore C. 01-24-15 Member Since 2010
    ratings
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    1
    1
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    Story
    "Disappointing"

    Characters are well developed but the story is a little dark and ends up going nowhere
    A lot of potential but fizzles out halfway through.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Forest Grove, OR, USA 11-21-14
    Linda Forest Grove, OR, USA 11-21-14 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The Quick: A Novel"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Well, it would have to have a cohesive storyline, continuity of action, and be a lot less confusing ... and alas, less boring. I found it a waste of my time. Very disappointed. The narrator was great, which is the only reason I followed it to the end.


    Any additional comments?

    It's just not a very interesting story. Seems more like someone decided to try to copy other popular vampire stories, but utterly failed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    missgrundy San Francisco, CA 09-28-14
    missgrundy San Francisco, CA 09-28-14 Member Since 2010

    Fine art photographer, retired English professor, dog mom to an adorable Maltese mix, long-time Californian, genealogist, what else?

    HELPFUL VOTES
    23
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    "Mixed Reaction"

    Well. I wouldn't want to not recommend this book. It's good, and it kept my attention throughout. But as others have said, it takes a kind of left turn part way in, and I wasn't aware that I was going to be reading "that" kind of book. Still, I kept reading, and it's a good story in the end. At times, it was a little confusing, but it might have been less so if I'd been reading the book instead of listening. The narrator is fantastic -- switching accents effortlessly. He did a wonderful job. So, recommended. I'm looking forward to this author's next effort.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert North Ridgeville, OH, United States 06-28-14
    Robert North Ridgeville, OH, United States 06-28-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "It failed to entertain me and felt scattered"
    Would you try another book from Lauren Owen and/or Simon Slater?

    I enjoyed Simon Slater's narration and would enjoy listening to more from him. I will also give other works by Lauren Owen a listen, but this story felt like the author had great plans and then didn't know what to do with it when they got it there.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    The most interesting aspect was that of the "monster hunters" and "Dr Knife". The least interesting were the failed/ruined relationships throughout the book.


    Have you listened to any of Simon Slater’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have not listened to Simon Slater prior to this, but his vocal style is enjoyable.


    Was The Quick worth the listening time?

    In my opinion it was not. It tried to be many different things when it should have just picked a core personality and grew it into something. At many times it felt like it was structured similar to be Bram Stokers Dracula with its many stories/letters/journals from different characters perspectives helping to tell the narrative, but I wasn't made to feel for any of these characters. What could have been unique and interesting characters and story arcs are just abandoned to wrap up the novel with a relationship of circumstance which withers and dies much like the story.


    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mrs.Morgan 07-26-14
    Mrs.Morgan 07-26-14

    geemo49

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Gosh"
    What would have made The Quick better?

    What would have made The Quick better? Less words.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Lauren Owen again?

    Don't know. I'm sure there will be Book 2, but will probably not read it.


    Have you listened to any of Simon Slater’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Narration is great. Wasted on this book.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    The last 5th if the book


    Any additional comments?

    None

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
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