One of my favorite things about being part of this community is joining with other bloggers to participate in a challenge or read-along or some other sort of bookish project. I especially love read-alongs because they often expand my reading horizons and I get to answer discussion questions. I love discussion questions! For R.I.P. X, the lovely ladies at The Estella Society hosted a group read of Lauren Owen’s The Quick.
What genre (or genres) would you say THE QUICK falls into? What genre or author influences do you see in this book?
Well, definitely historical fiction, as the book is set in Victorian England. I would also place it under horror/supernatural/gothic. Even though I didn’t really find it scary, there isn’t really a better category. As for influences, maybe Anne Rice?
Emily Richter figures into many of the book’s most pivotal early scenes. How much do you think she knows or doesn’t know about James and Christopher, and about Eustace’s change?
I really like Emily as a character, and I think she knows way more than she lets on. In fact, I think she knows everything, but she’s way too smart to bring that to everyone’s attention. I just wish we had seen more of her, that she didn’t just kind of fall away as the book progressed.
Did you notice the repetition of owls? What’s up with that?
A little bit, and I have no idea.
Characters agree to the Exchange for different reasons. Are there any reasons that would tempt you to join the Aegolius Club?
Absolutely not. It seems despicable to me. Yes, they may be influential, but they care nothing for scholarship or learning. And they aren’t really doing anything. They mostly hang around the club and drink.
Why do you think Mrs. Price turns children? How does their group compare to other family units in the book?
I think children can get away with a lot more than adults can, depending on the circumstances. Especially in Victorian London, they would have been more inconspicuous. Also, free labor. Why hire someone to pass messages and run errands when you can just turn a child? For comparison purposes, I didn’t actually see them as a family group. There’s not the same level of bonding and attachment and commitment that you see in a family. I think I mostly saw them as a motley crew that banded together out of necessity.
Why do the Club members refer to the living as the “Quick”?
You know, my roommate asked me what the phrase refers to, but for the life of me, I just can’t remember. Their blood runs quicker? Their hearts beat faster? They can move about in daylight and don’t face the same restrictions? Please, someone remind me.
How does Mould change over the course of the book? Do you think he remains a man of science to the end?
I honestly didn’t see too much change, except he seemed a little more willing to please and hop on board at the beginning. But as the years pass, he realizes he’s just being used by the club? I don’t really remember him grappling with morality or anything like that. I also think he starts to go a little mad. Like, at the beginning he was in it for the science, but the methods he uses starts to seem more like torture.
Charlotte’s quiet life is altered drastically by the book’s events. In what ways does it change for the better?
Although definitely more dangerous, Charlotte is no longer sitting at home uselessly. That’s one of the things I hate about history, that women were expected to be part of polite society, and when they weren’t, they should be at home tending to household. But when Charlotte leaves for London, she gains autonomy. She makes new friends. She takes control of her destiny.
Had you heard of a priest hole before reading THE QUICK? Why do you think Owen chose to begin and end the book there?
It sounds familiar, but I can’t place where I’ve heard about it before. I think Owen was foreshadowing with the beginning of the book, placing James in the priest hole for an extended period of time, which was quite a traumatic event for him. So to end it there as well was just fitting.
The ending of THE QUICK seems to beg for a sequel. What do you think about it?
Eh, this wasn’t my favorite book ever. But I’ll certainly read the sequel. I do have to know what happens, after all.