A suspenseful, gloriously atmospheric first novel, and a feast of gothic storytelling that is impossible to resist.
Kate Atkinson, bestselling author of Life After Life and Case Histories
A cracking good read . . . Owen takes the gothic conventions of the vampire novel in a refreshing new direction.
Deborah Harkness, author of A Discovery of Witches and The Book of Life
Reading the blurbs on the dust jacket of Lauren Owen’s first novel—from such luminaries as Kate Atkinson, Hilary Mantel, and Tana French—readers might think they’re about to embark on a high-handed version of the Gothic novel, full of metafictions and literary allusions. These do appear, along with some beautiful language, but by Page 100, when the first neck is about to be bitten, The Quick drops its cloak and becomes a good old-fashioned vampire novel. . . . [It’s full of] wonderful inventions, while still providing the torn collars and hungry looks the genre demands. . . . What fun.
The New York Times Book Review (Editor’s Choice)
Owen has created an intricate world in which the reader feels a part. Take the trip, if you dare, into a luscious Victorian London rendered by a gifted young British writer who seems weaned on equal parts Sherlock Holmes, Buffy Summers and Harry Potter.
An intricate, sinister epic . . . an impressive feat . . . Owen proves a master at anticipating readers’ thoughts about future happenings and then crumbling them into dust. Her world building is exceptional, and readers will simultaneously embrace and shrink from the atmosphere’s elegant ghastliness.
An elegantly written gothic epic . . . Owen’s soaring imagination and her light-handed take on magic save this story from being either obvious or boring. . . . The journey from one genre to another is satisfying and surprisingly fresh.
An intriguing blend of historical, gothic, and supernatural fiction . . . [The Quick features] wonderful atmospheric writing.
Seductive . . . extraordinarily polished . . . a book for readers to lose themselves in.
Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Lauren Owen—a brand-new author with an M.A. in Victorian Literature—has produced her own mind-bending tour de force.
A sly and glittering addition to the literature of the macabre . . . As soon as you have breathed with relief, much worse horrors begin. It’s a skilled, assured performance, and it’s hard to believe it is a first novel.
Hilary Mantel, bestselling author of Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies
A big, sly bucketful of the most tremendous fun . . . At first, The Quick seems like a really terrific, plain old tale of yesteryear—à la John Banville or Peter Carey or Eleanor Catton. . . . [But then] things begin to really rollick. . . . [Owen] weaves what’s here with what’s beyond as easily as J.K. Rowling does, and as with Rowling, she seems to feel particularly at home with the beyond.
[An author of] prodigious gifts . . . Owen captures Dickens’s London with glee and produces a number of characters Dickens would be happy to call his own.
The Quick is ambitious in both scope and structure. . . . Her London is exquisitely detailed. . . . [Owen] inhabits the breadth and panorama of the Victorian tale.
The Washington Post
The first quarter of this debut novel is a lovely, poetic tale. . . . The last half is entirely bonkers and totally unexpected. Read it with the lights on.
The New Republic
Make no mistake, The Quick is good reading. . . . Adventure of the first order, firmly rooted in both the tropes of the genre and the skilfully rendered texture of the period . . . driven by sharp storytelling, thought-provoking ideas, and strong characters.
The Globe and Mail
Like the best gothic fiction, this dark tale of manners and morals closely guards its secrets; over hundreds of pages, one unspoken word lurks in the corners of every character’s and reader’s mind. By the end of Owen’s precocious first novel, set in the narrow streets and cavernous interiors of Victorian England, you will understand viscerally how monsters are made and what it means to be human.
Lauren Owen is an impressive storyteller and with this ambitious debut, the literary world will soon take notice. Part gothic mystery, part Victorian romance, The Quick is a novel where the glamorous and the macabre collide. . . . With suspenseful rhythm and illustrious prose, Owen succeeds at crafting a fresh, enchanting portrait of Victorian London wrapped around an irresistible mystery that is at once beautiful and terrifying.
[The Quick] hits the mark in terms of suspense and gothic literature. . . . Reminiscent of Bram Stoker’s Dracula and [Elizabeth] Kostova’s The Historian.
If you are a fan of literary Gothic—think Susanna Clarke or John Harwood—buy this book. You won’t regret it. . . . A long gallery of beautifully drawn characters makes the many pages of The Quick turn as swiftly as those of a Wilkie Collins novel.
The Quick is that rare book that reviewers and readers live for: both plot- and character-driven, a stay-up-all-night-reading romp of more than 500 pages that you’ll desperately wish was double that. This is elegant, witty, force-of-nature writing, and Lauren Owen should have a long and illustrious career ahead of her.
The Dallas Morning News
The book’s energy, its wide reach and rich detail make it a confident example of the ‘unputdownable’ novel.
Ambitious, elegant, atmospheric, and often deeply poignant, The Quick is a seamless blend of Victorian London and rich imagination. This is a book to savor.
Tana French, bestselling author of In the Woods and Broken Harbor
[A] creepy debut . . . a thrilling tale . . . This book will give you chills even on a hot day.
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Forget Jack the Ripper—it’s the curiously pale aristocratic types you need to beware of in this supernatural Gothic nightmare. . . . Owen’s stylishly sinister world of betrayal and Lovecraftian monsters will have you sleeping with the lights on.
O: The Oprah Magazine
“Ambitious, elegant, atmospheric, and often deeply poignant, The Quick is a seamless blend of Victorian London and rich imagination. This is a book to savor.”
Tana French, Edgar Award–winning author of In the Woods
“Reading the blurbs on the dust jacket of Lauren Owen’s first novel—from
such luminaries as Kate Atkinson, Hilary Mantel, and Tana French—readers
might think they’re about to embark on a high-handed version of the
Gothic novel, full of metafictions and literary allusions. These do
appear, along with some beautiful language, but by page one hundred, when the
first neck is about to be bitten, The Quick drops its cloak and
becomes a good old-fashioned vampire novel…[It’s full of]
wonderful inventions, while still providing the torn collars and hungry
looks the genre demands…What fun.”
New York Times Book Review
“The Quick is ambitious in both scope and structure…Her
London is exquisitely detailed…[Owen] inhabits the breadth and
panorama of the Victorian tale.”
“Debut author Owen sets her seductive book in 1892, in a late-Victorian
London with a serious vampire problem. And like her Victorian
counterparts, Owen depicts a host of characters…Owen’s sentence-by-sentence prose is extraordinarily polished…and she packs many surprises into
her tale, making it a book for readers to lose themselves in.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)
startling plot, Owen proves a master at anticipating readers’ thoughts
about future happenings and then crumbling them into dust. Her world
building is exceptional, and readers will simultaneously embrace and
shrink from the atmosphere’s elegant ghastliness…An impressive feat.”
“An intriguing blend of historical, gothic, and supernatural fiction.
Readers will be especially engaged by the author’s memorable characters,
particularly Adeline, a tightrope walker-turned-avenger, and her
partner Shadwell. Owen’s wonderful atmospheric writing is evocative of
“An elegantly written gothic epic that begins with children isolated in a
lonely manor house; takes a spin through the velvet-draped salons of
late-Victorian literary London; then settles in to the bloody business
of an outbreak of evil magic…A book that seems to begin as a children’s story ends in blood-soaked
mayhem; the journey from one genre to another is satisfying and
surprisingly fresh considering that it’s set in a familiar version of
gothic London among equally familiar monsters.”