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. Unnerved, 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 secret world at the margins 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 one of the country’s preeminent and mysterious institutions: The Aegolius Club, whose members include the most ambitious, and most dangerous, 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. – Goodreads.com
This book is difficult to review because I don’t want to give away anything. Let’s just say there was a really BIG twist that was unexpected. It was something I particularly enjoyed, and readers looking for a conventional Victorian suspense novel may continue reading; for others, this may not be your cup of tea.
I thought the take on this particular topic was unique, intriguing, and at times thought-provoking. Victorian London was the perfect setting and added to the element of suspense. There were numerous characters and different POVs which were sometimes confusing, but I felt this was necessary to advance the plot line.
Although filled with angst and torment, James was an engaging character to read. Because he had to hide who he really was (in more ways than one) I sympathized with him. With some of the characters, however, I felt like too much backstory was given and with others, I could have used a little more, such as Eustace Paige. I would have liked to know more about his motivations.
This novel was engrossing and I especially liked the ending, but felt it could have been trimmed down some. There were definite highs and lows with pacing.
This review is based on a digital copy from the publisher through NetGalley.