So I read a zombie book; it only follows that I need to read a (spoiler alert?) Vampire one after that. It’s summer, I was looking for a classic London society story. But honestly, how many times can I say I didn’t realize a book was about___ when I chose it, before people start to doubt my sincerity?
So here it is, in my defense. I am not a fan of those cold, marble-like creatures everyone was thrilling on a few short years ago. I read one of the trilogy, but could not muster the energy for more. So maybe I wasn’t prepped to read between the lines of the publisher’s notes:
"An astonishing debut, a novel of epic scope and suspense that conjures up all the magic and menace of Victorian London
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."
There were blurbs from some of my favorite, critically acclaimed authors. In my haste to choose it, I saw the words astonishing, epic, magic, Oxford, charming, without a trace… you get the idea. Did I miss the part where they say everyone’s a vampire? I was surprised. But, here’s the tricky part: I was not disappointed. This is not a cheesy teen romance repackaged as high art. This is a well-told story, where the characters are vivid and compelling. London and its environs are lovingly detailed, and provide the perfect backdrop for this gothic mystery. I am almost not ashamed to admit that I enjoyed this book — If nothing else, it said more in one book than that other one said in three. So it was interesting, and it saved me some time. Gotta love that.