BOOK REVIEW: GALLANT BY V.E. SCHWAB

  • STAR RATING: 3.5 stars
  • PAGE LENGTH: 334 
  • CW: Death, Death of parent, Blood, Suicide, Child death, Bullying
  • IF YOU LIKED THIS, TRY: Any of Schwab’s other work, honestly.

SYNOPSIS

Olivia Prior has grown up in Merilance School for Girls, and all she has of her past is her mother’s journal—which seems to unravel into madness. Then, a letter invites Olivia to come home to Gallant. Yet when Olivia arrives, no one is expecting her. But Olivia is not about to leave the first place that feels like home; it doesn’t matter if her cousin Matthew is hostile, or if she sees half-formed ghouls haunting the hallways.

Olivia knows that Gallant is hiding secrets, and she is determined to uncover them. When she crosses a ruined wall at just the right moment, Olivia finds herself in a place that is Gallant—but not. The manor is crumbling, the ghouls are solid, and a mysterious figure rules over all. Now Olivia sees what has unraveled generations of her family, and where her father may have come from.

Olivia has always wanted to belong somewhere, but will she take her place as a Prior, protecting our world against the Master of the House? Or will she take her place beside him?

New York Times–bestselling author Victoria Schwab crafts a vivid and lush novel that grapples with the demons that are often locked behind closed doors. An eerie, stand-alone saga about life, death, and the young woman beckoned by both. Readers of Neil Gaiman, Holly Black, Melissa Albert, and Garth Nix will quickly lose themselves in this novel with crossover appeal for all ages.

For me, VE Schwab is one of those authors that I’ll buy without question. I’ve read almost all her work, and already own what I haven’t gotten around to reading yet. I love her books, and her style — dark, haunting, and just the tiniest bit curious. Gallant as a novel mostly lives up to this.

I say mostly, because there was no real reason for this book to be classified as a novel, and not a novella. This story is a short one, and truth be told, there was a lot of filler in it. There are many full-page illustrations, and many pages that are filled up with just a few lines of text. Without those in there, I doubt this book would have cracked 250 pages.

Now, the story itself is good! Gallant reminds me of a classic fairy-tale and a ghost story all wrapped up in one.

Olivia, a mute orphan, receives a letter inviting her to her family’s estate, Gallant. Once she arrives, it becomes very apparent that no one there sent her the letter. There are only three people living at Gallant when she shows up — the gardener, the cook/house keeper, and her cousin. Everyone at the house is very secretive, and seemingly afraid of the dark. Schwab is excellent at making you feel dread without really knowing why. Olivia is instantly curious, and wanders until she finds something she is not supposed to. Gallant the house is spooky — filled with the ghouls of her family. The story moves forward and you realize that Gallant is haunted by something terrible.

Seeing the world from a mute character’s eyes was incredibly unique. You could feel Olivia’s frustration when she couldn’t communicate with someone. You don’t feel her voice as absent, though, because as you read, her thoughts fill up the pages.

This definitely isn’t my favorite of Schwab’s work, but I still think it’s worth the read if you like her other books.

GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

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