By Lauren Owen
Available June 17 from Random House
The cover of THE QUICK is ridiculously boring: sepia-toned man leaning on the edge, most of the cover taken up by a table. But I was quite intrigued by the blurb, which promised both magic and terror. I'm glad I paid little attention to the cover, because I thoroughly enjoyed THE QUICK.
The action begins when siblings James and Charlotte Norbury are children, just long enough to establish their relationship. James is sensitive; Charlotte is practically his mother. The time then jumps to James deciding to leave Oxford and go to London to be a writer. That's where he meets and lets rooms with Christopher Paige, the black sheep of an aristocratic family. The opening quarter of the book is all about getting to know James and Christopher, as well as the social strictures that govern their lives in Victorian England. Then something very bad happens to them.
Unfortunately, the book doesn't quite kick into gear at that point. THE QUICK delves into several of the characters' points of view, and unfortunately the next one is a lengthy section of exposition that I don't think added that much to the story. THE QUICK does blend genre and literary fiction, so I can see these passages being of use to literary fans, perhaps. I've seen it called a Gothic horror story, but I think that's inaccurate. Once the fantastical enters the story, the book instantly tells the reader what happened. But it is nice to go in with the exact details of the genre shift from historical fiction to historical fantasy being a surprise.
I liked the plurality of characters. They represent many different factions, and even the ones on the same side come at things in a different manner. I thoroughly enjoyed that almost all of them were driven by love. It's a strong motivation, and one that can lead to a desire for revenge just as much as compassion. It also enforces the need for that mundane first quarter, to show why James and Charlotte would never just go into hiding.
I think THE QUICK will appeal to someone looking for story where early Anne Rice meets Oscar Wilde. Not the best comparison, but the best I can come up with. It has wonderfully drawn characters, bursts of action, and a human villain who might be more terrifying than the inhuman ones.
Giveaway courtesy of TLC Book Tours. Limited to US only; must be 13 years of age or older.
a Rafflecopter giveaway