Published 1st September 2014, Jonathan Cape (Random House)
I started reading The Quick without knowing what it was about. I bought it because the cover attracted my attention and the purposely vague blurb on the back pricked my interest. I enjoy reading good Victoriana and halfway through the first page I was confident I had found it.
I read on, becoming immersed in the world of two children left to bring themselves up in a large Yorkshire estate. Very little happened for page after page… but in a good way. There are hints of something strange to come; and it was those hints, the beautiful prose and loveable characters which keep me reading. So… it wasn’t until about a hundred pages in that I discovered what the book was really about. You can imagine my shock when I realised what it was. It was about… vampires. There, I’ve said it.
Please don’t stop reading.
Good, you are still there. Luckily, the pleasure of reading the first hundred pages was enough for me to trust that although the story had taken an unsuspecting turn into what is arguably a currently over-tapped genre, it still would all turn out beautifully in the end.
I am very glad that I did. The Quick had echoes of another vampire novel, Anno Dracula by Kim Newman. Like Newman’s work Owen’s vampires are real, they exist in a real London where livings need to be made and dead bodies have to be disposed of before they begin to stink too much.
The characters are interesting, the story compelling and believable. Owen manages to come up with new ideas in a genre where you would think everything had already been tried. The story spans a lifetime (I won’t tell you who’s) and ends perfectly to leave you hungry for the sequel. Along the way it is a page turner full of believable characters caught in an unfolding battle between… well, you’ll have to read it to find out, won’t you…