Thank you to Titan Books and Netgalley for the review copy in exchange for an honest review. This does not change my opinion in anyway.
Book: Gallant by V.E. Schwab
Release Date: March 1st 2022
Tags: Young Adult | Fantasy | Family | Legacy | Death
Trigger/Content Warnings: Child Abuse | Alcoholism | Strangulation | Bullying | Parental Abondonment | Murder | Blood | Ableism
Other books by this author I reviewed
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
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…
Over the years I’ve become a bit hesitant with Schwabs work. I tend to love her ideas but do not always enjoy the characters and the execution. So I was hesitant going into this book.
Gallant is a bit of a different work as it felt like a short story. It started as a typical story of an orphan in an orphanage who is different from the others and gets bullied. But Olivia can see ghosts and is mute. The diary she has of her mother is the third thing that caught my actual interest. It creates a bit of a mystery of what is going on. Why can she see ghosts and why is her mother’s diary so jambled.
We move into a more interesting setting when a letter comes her way and she is send to her family. A big mansion and a garden. The idea of this legacy of her family and what they have to sacrifice for that really grabbed me. They are the kind of stories that I like to hear about.
The addition of the plants, the door, the secrets and the otherworld. It created something that I wanted to dive into. Deeper and deeper. There were the little things too. How Olivia felt when someone knew sign language and she could finally speak with someone. How heart breaking it was to see her nephew try to send her away. Those little bits I loved.
I feel like I would have liked to have gotten a bit more time with these characters in the mansion. Like her nephew. There was so much more to him than we really got. Of the two side characters too. It almost felt more like an introduction to a grander story of Olivia.