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Monday, May 19, 2014

The Quick by Lauren Owen

How would you complete the phrase "the quick and the _____ "?  The title is, of course, a clue to the content.  

I'm not entirely certain how I feel about this book.  The beginning is slow, giving the background of a brother and sister who are pretty much neglected after their mother's death.  They rattle around a huge mansion with little contact outside of their servants.  The siblings are close, big sister Charlotte feels responsible for her younger brother James.  The purpose of this section is to establish Charlotte's love for her brother and the existence of the priest hole.  It is rather slow, and the plot does not develop for a long time.

When James finishes university, he lives in London and has decided to become a poet.  For the most part, James is a solitary figure, but on deciding to share rooms with Christopher, James begins to open up some.  

How much or how little to say without giving too much away?  The book has some slow sections, but when the plot begins to intensify the intrigue increases as well.  The novel doesn't follow a typical chronological timeline or the typical flash-back technique.  The pov changes,  and large sections are in diary form.  The setting and style are very Victorian.

Interesting relationships:  James and Charlotte, James and Christopher, Edmund and Mould, Shadwell and Adeline, Charlotte and Halliwell.

Shadwell and Adeline have the potential to be the most dynamic of all the characters, but for the most part are (sort of) pawns to move the story forward.

The book is long and atmospheric, but there is surprisingly little real action.  The reader must focus on all of the relationships and question them--particulary the relationship between Edmund and Mould.  Edmund quickly abandons his goal of bettering society, and Mould (well, just look at his name) quickly abandons his humanity in his efforts to aid Edmund.  And why was he dismissed as a tutor?  I have an idea, but no confirmation.

Even the conclusion leaves the reader with questions.

Read in January.

NetGalley/Random House

Vampire.  June 17, 2014.


  1. Hmm. I'm not sure what to make of this one. I really do like the cover though. :-)

  2. Overall, I think I was disappointed in this one.