As a vampire book, The Quick plays it out more for suspense than horror. In fact, there’s no fang action in the first hundred pages, giving the reader little to sink their teeth into (groan!). The lack of romantic interests might disappoint those looking for the swoony Twilight experience, but there’s no shortage of Gothic gallivanting.
Growing up in the grounds of their Yorkshire estate, siblings James and Charlotte Norbury are struck by successive tragedies. With only each other for company, time is spent exploring their stately surroundings and their expansive library with its secret nooks.
Soon, James must leave for university in London (Oxford, no less) and Charlotte remains behind to look after the estate. James completes his studies but stays on in the city to publish his research. He meets the mysterious Christopher and they take up lodgings together. A surprising closeness develops between James and his new roomy, but an odd turn of events sees the former mixed up with a mysterious gentleman’s club and he goes AWOL.
Charlotte heads to London searching for her brother and finds him ill-tempered and in a sickly state. It also becomes apparent that James is being chased, and is in grave danger of being taken in by a group of undead. Nasty. Charlotte teams up with some Ghostbusterly-types (of the Victorian era) and together they all try to free James from the terror.
Owen’s book is a complex read. Far removed from the agonisingly suspenseful Bram Stoker’s Dracula, it falls victim to a Harry Potter-style innocence as our protagonists roam through London’s streets. The fact that its violence is hinted at rather than gratuitous may be its fatal flaw.
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