This book was provided to me by Random House Publishing Group via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
The Quick by Lauren Owen
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. (via Goodreads)
I did not finish this book, stopping at about the 33% mark.
Reading that blurb, I am led to believe that I’m going to go along with Charlotte as she unravels the mystery of her brother’s disappearance. In the first 20% of this book, we grow up with Charlotte and James. They’re good kids, though a little strange due to growing up in seclusion in rural England. Shy James goes away to school, while Charlotte stays to take care of things. Upon graduating, James, now a young man, sets up in London. He even falls in love. Honestly, I wouldn’t have minded spending a whole novel living with James in happy domesticity in London. Frankly, the set up is perfect. I care about James. I care about Charlotte.
Then, The Quick utterly changes tone. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with doing bad things to good characters. We expect something untoward to happen to James. It’s there in the blurb. What I expect next is that smart, but unsavvy, Charlotte is going to solve the mystery while being in a lot of danger. I’m led to believe that my entrance into this mystery is Charlotte. We’re going to go together and uncover clues. I know a few mysterious things that Charlotte doesn’t but she’ll catch up.
But, the flow of information is way off in this novel. Owen tells us what’s going on in London. Further, we have to endure a 25 year history of what has occurred. I don’t have a problem with what the novel’s “twist” is. What I don’t understand is why I’m being told this, rather blandly, instead of finding it out within the tension of the mystery I’m expecting.
I really enjoyed the first ~20% of this book. I read that in one sitting. And then spent the next five days grinding through the next ~10%.
Publisher: Random House
Publication date: June 17th 2014
Why did I choose to read this book? Combination of cover and blurb made it sound interesting.