Publication: 8th March 2022 – Titan Books
Sixteen-year-old Olivia Prior is missing three things: a mother, a father, and a voice. Her mother vanished all at once, and her father by degrees, and her voice was a thing she never had to start with. She grew up at Merilance School for Girls. Now, nearing the end of her time there, Olivia receives a letter from an uncle she’s never met, her father’s older brother, summoning her to his estate, a place called Gallant. But when she arrives, she discovers that the letter she received was several years old. Her uncle is dead. The estate is empty, save for the servants. Olivia is permitted to remain, but must follow two rules: don’t go out after dusk, and always stay on the right side of a wall that runs along the estate’s western edge. Beyond it is another realm, ancient and magical, which calls to Olivia through her blood…
Gallant is the second book I read by V. E. Schwab and I think it’s time I start on her backlist, too, because I am really loving this author and I found Gallant to be a brilliant and engrossing story.
The protagonist of Gallant is Olivia Prior. She doesn’t speak, but she knows how to express herself. She is an orphan, raised in the Merilance School for Girls. The only thing she has left of her mother is her journal. In her journal, her mother warned Olivia to never go to Gallant, the place she escaped from before Olivia was born, but that’s where Olivia is headed after being summoned by her uncle. However, when Olivia arrives at Gallant, her uncle is not there, her cousin doesn’t want her there, and the house is full of mystery and secrets, ghouls, demons, and shadows, and a wall that leads to alternate Gallant.
I savored each page of this book. The plot is gripping and intense, featuring the author’s distinctive style. Olivia is a fantastic heroine. A young woman with unique abilities who lives in her own world, ignored or bullied by the other girls in the school. She is drawn to Gallant, despite being warned off both by her cousin and by her mother’s journal. It is her home, where she finds her family, and, as she uncovers its secret, she will have to make a choice. I really liked and rooted for this character.
Gallant is a gothic and thrilling novel. The pace is very slow, but it makes up with the atmospheric and thrilling plot. An incredible read!
A huge thank you to Titan Books and NetGalley for providing me with a proof of the novel.
V.E. Schwab is the No.1 New York Times bestselling author of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, Vicious, The Near Witch and the Shades of Magic series, which was described as “a classic work of fantasy” by Deborah Harkness. It was one of Waterstones’ Best Fantasy Books of 2015, The Guardian’s Best Science Fiction novels, and a Telegraph choice. The Independent has called her “The natural successor to Diana Wynne Jones.” She lives between Nashville, France and Edinburgh.