Thanks for coming back for another of my reviews!
This past weekend, I bought three books that were all cover buys. For those of you who read that post, The Quick is he book I picked up as my mystery even though it was less a mystery and more of a Gothic-style (not entirely Gothic but cutting it pretty close) thriller. The Quick by Lauren Owen didn’t have much of a dust jacket book blurb once I did read it but, like I said, before I came home, I had judged these books strictly on their cover and the cover of this one is gorgeous.
The Quick was not at all what I was expecting from the few sentences on the back of the cover. In fact, this book wasn’t a mystery at all. We knew exactly what was going to happen because we saw everything that led up to it, from various perspectives. So, bad booksellers for putting it in the mystery section! Instead, this is a Gothic-style fantasy that takes place in London around the same time as the Jack-the-Ripper cases.
James Norbury, a wannabe-poet has left his country home to attend school and decides he’ll stay in the city and work on his craft. The only problem is that he has major writer’s block and his attempts to emulate other writers isn’t working out for him. He sends his sister letters withholding a lot because he isn’t sure how to share a very large secret that he has. One day, the letters stop coming. And when Charlotte sends a telegram to let him know that their aunt passes, he doesn’t respond. No matter how many she sends, she gets no response. And so she decides to leave their dilapidated estate and go to London to search for him. She discovers that not only is he changed but that the city holds a dark secret, one that is out to hurt not only her brother but her as well and she is unsure how to protect herself. James goes missing again and she is stalked only to be saved by a strange couple and whisked away to their home. Can she find James again? Can she protect herself? Can she come to terms with what her life has now become?
What I loved most about this book is that not only does it call back to Bram Stoker’s Dracula with the inclusion of journal entries, different points of view and the London setting, but it also includes a bit of folklore that predates Stoker’s famous work. As you may know from earlier posts, I love folklore and so it was cool to see some of the very things I researched in the novel. It was also interesting to see what bits of folklore Owen did not use. Additionally, I really enjoyed reading about Charlotte. She is one of my favorite characters and I enjoy how she navigates a new place and the new information that monsters really do exist in the world.
As most stories that try for a Gothic style, this one seems to start a bit slow. The only difference is that is starts extremely slow. We don’t even really get a sense of anything similar to what the book jacket says until Part Two. Don’t get me wrong, Part One is interesting enough but if you aren’t someone patient enough to wait it out…this book may not be for you. That was the biggest negative for me but there were a few other things that keep me from giving this book a five-star rating. I won’t spoil it for you!
Overall Score: 4/5
Well, that was one book down from my latest book haul, two more to go! If you enjoyed this review, please share it with others and be sure to follow this blog, if you don’t already. I would greatly appreciate it!