Ahoy there me mateys! This year be crazy so this is only book three in me Ports for Plunder – 20 Books in 2020 list. Lots of reviews talk about The Twist. I was spoiled by other Goodreads reviews back when I put together the 20 in 2020 list. I decided to read it anyway and then so much time had passed that I kinda forgot about it. But I don’t know how it could have surprised anyone because it a) occurs early on in the book; and b) is so blatantly obvious in the hints that by the time it officially is explained, it is hardly shocking (well maybe for the people who missed the word “magic” in the blurb and thought they were getting a straight historical fiction). Spoilers abound below for this so read the rest at yer own peril . . .
Or not at yer peril because this book was rather long and boring and the VAMPIRES didn’t help. Boring, boring vampires. I did think the beginning set-up for the novel was interesting enough even if the Gothic flair was hardly unique. I enjoyed the homosexual relationship between the main character and his housemate even if the housemate was a jerk. I was interested in seeing how the vampire club was going to play out. Sadly as it turned out.
The problem was that after the rather straightforward trajectory of the beginning in terms of character development, world building, and plot, the author switches into a stilted history of the club. This takes the form of diary entries and begins the POV shifts that impede flow. Interesting ideas and characters are hinted at but long interludes of backstory take the focus. The Twist happens, the plot gets sillier and more convoluted, and a romance begins to be hinted at.
I basically grew weary of the rambling and found it harder and harder to pick the book back up. I also be weary of thinking about this book any further so I shall stop here. Abandoned ship and glad of it. Arrrr!
Goodreads had this to say about the novel:
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.
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