Gallant | V.E. Schwab


Gallant by V.E. Schwab. 

Out Now from Greenwillow Books; 334 pages

Content Warnings: Bullying, blood, violence, death. 

About the Author: “Victoria “V.E.” Schwab is the #1 NYT, USA, and Indie bestselling author of more than a dozen books, including Vicious, the Shades of Magic series, and This Savage Song. Her work has received critical acclaim, been featured by EW and The New York Times, been translated into more than a dozen languages, and been optioned for TV and Film. The Independent calls her the “natural successor to Diana Wynne Jones” and touts her “enviable, almost Gaimanesque ability to switch between styles, genres, and tones.” (Bio taken from author’s website.) 

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“Perhaps you are haunting me. What a comforting thought.”

Olivia Prior has lived at Merilance School for Girls for as long as she can remember. With no family to speak of, her only connection to the mother she never knew is an old journal documenting the woman’s apparent descent into madness. One thing her mother’s journal made clear was that Olivia must never go to the manor, Gallant. But one day, when a letter arrives from Olivia’s long-lost uncle inviting her to come “home” to that very place, she is unable to resist the chance of finally having what she wants most in the world: a family to call her own. However, when Olivia arrives at the old manor, she finds that she is less welcome than the letter suggested. With ghouls lurking in the shadows and a strange curse looming over the house and everyone inside, Olivia soon discovers that Gallant holds secrets darker than she could have ever imagined.

With Gallant, V.E. Schwab has created a thoroughly chilling tale. I would describe this book as a YA version of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline with some The Secret Garden thrown in for good measure. Schwab’s lyrical and deliberate writing is the novel’s greatest strength. Every sentence feels as if it was constructed with the utmost attention and care. The rich atmosphere Schwab created makes for an especially immersive reading experience. One of my favorite aspects of the novel was the delightful contrast between cozy details and spine-chilling horror. This would be the perfect book to curl up with on a rainy afternoon or a stormy night. Gallant also has a non-verbal protagonist. Not only was it nice to see a representation of characters using sign language, but the lack of written dialogue did an excellent job of adding to the foreboding and introspective mood. I recommend this book to fans of atmospheric, Gothic-style horror. 

PRR Writer, Emily Pimental