The Quick by Lauren Owen

The Quick by Lauren OwenThe Quick by Lauren Owen
Published by Random House Publishing Group on 2014-06-17
Source: TLC Book Tours
Pages: 560
Buy from IndieBound
In the late 1800’s, James Norbury leaves his family’s large country estate behind for the bustling streets of London. Soon, he is wrapped up in a new friendship and the city’s high society, hoping to jump-start his writing career. Just as his new life is about to take off he disappears mysteriously, causing his sister Charlotte to come searching for him. Instead of answers, however, Charlotte finds herself pulled into a fantastical world lurking just below the London’s surface.
The Quick starts gorgeous. When asked early in my reading, the first comparison that came to mind was Elizabeth Gilbert’s The Signature of All Things, as it shares a similar setting on a Victorian estate and the same rich language. But then there’s the twist. About a quarter through, the story is turned on its head and pushed far away from Gilbert’s sprawling novel. As a fairly diverse reader, I was almost excited by the chance to dip into something a little outside my comfort zone and continued to cross my fingers that this would be the book I’d been looking forward to for months. 

Certainly, straddling the line between literary and genre fiction is no easy task, but I couldn’t help feeling like Owen was holding back. There is a sense that she is trying mightily to avoid genre tropes, which could have worked had she given readers more information about the world she created. There were dozens of questions I had regarding certain aspects of the club, but kept finding pages of new locations or characters that never felt central to the story. Given the surprise subject of the The Quick, I was so disheartened to find myself bored for a majority of the novel. 

While I’ll be looking forward to Lauren Owen’s next book, as her writing is very strong, too much of The Quick felt like a missed opportunity for it to be an enjoyable debut. 

What was your last highly anticipated book that was a letdown?

  • Ciska van der Lans

    Thanks for sharing. Really looking forward to this one and now I am curious if I will experience the same.

  • Wesley

    This one disappointed me too. I felt like there was a chance to really do something interesting and unique but then it took a turn for the well worn.

  • Oh man! The first part of this review got me all excited and then, bam. Disappointment. Although, it actually makes me kind of curious too. Maybe I’ll listen to the audio.

    • It sounds so great, right? I’ve been dying to read this book, I was just so bummed that it didn’t live up to expectations.

  • Too bad this book was a dud-it has such a great cover and premise.

  • I agree with you 100% on this novel. Sooo not what I was expecting, but not in a good way.

  • Oh no, that’s so disappointing. :( The premise sounds so good, too!

  • Ti Reed

    Many have said the same thing. Too bad it didn’t work out better for you. Our precious reading time needs to be focused on amazing books. Not ones that fall into the meh category.

  • Annie Smith

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who saw a problem in this book. All the other reviews I’d seen up to this point (apart from mine) were positive. The problem as I saw it was that the book had no center. It was like it couldn’t decide what it wanted to be or who it wanted to be about. (My Review:

    • You’re so right – it was just way too fragmented, especially through the middle of the book.

      • Annie Smith

        Now, if *The Quick* had been more about the vampire hunting couple…I would have LOVED that book.

        • I would have loved a book just about Christopher’s romance. His type of relationship in Victorian London? Fascinating.

          • YES! I was so excited when I thought that was the “twist” because I was loving the beginning of the book.

  • Bummer! This sounds so twisty-interesting. Sorry it didn’t play up to its potential.

  • guiltlessreading

    Oh how disappointing! And it started out so good too! I saw this one in the tour, too late, but I guess I can wait for it in the library.

  • Haven’t started this one yet and now I’m not so sure. I just finished The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu and the characters were just terrible people. But I didn’t like any of the characters in Rebecca, yet the story was superb. Such a shame after reading some amazing books…I was on a literary roll. Not sure how to review it. :/

  • HeatherTLC

    Thanks for being a part of the tour!

  • Pingback: Lauren Owen, author of The Quick, on tour May 2014 | TLC Book Tours()

  • Susan W

    I also found myself quite bored after, the twist. What I really wanted, and was looking forward to was the story of Christopher and James. Now that was interesting. I found the rest of the book, slow to progress and not as exciting as I think Owen thought it was. She wrote the book she wanted, it just wasn’t the book I wanted.

  • What a bummer. I like the book cover and the synopsis makes it sound so interesting. I’ll give it a skip

  • Michele McCarthy

    My last highly anticipated book that was a letdown was The Good Lord Bird. Almost everyone else seemed to love it.