Cover Image: Gallant

Gallant

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Olivia Prior has yearned for answers about her family's past, and what her mother was like. All she has to go by is a discarded journal her mother left behind, a symbol of Olivia's very being that she clings to as she navigates life at the Merilance School for Girls. But when Olivia is suddenly whisked away from the confines of the orphanage-like school, and reunited with extended family at a home with a curious garden, she is forced to confront her family's secrets. Just as Superman has Bizarro Superman, so too does Galant have an imperfect clone. There is a place on the other side of Olivia's new home, just past a crumbling wall in the garden, and she must grapple with what she learns when she crosses over to it. This book plunges the reader into the darkness of a world unknown, with descriptions so rich, they will feel as though they've been transported alongside Olivia. The touch of a wilting flower, the tone of a villain's voice, the creak of floorboards in a dilapidated hallway — Schwab gives life to the bleak and shadowy place just beyond our own. The book slowly pieces together a portrait of a lost girl on a quest  to find the truth about who she is, where she's from, and what will make her feel whole.

One super nit-picky aspect: The use of "And yet...." throughout the novel is noticeably abundant.
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Gallant is a hauntingly atmospheric story that is a cross between Coraline and Mexican Gothic. I really enjoyed reading this, but it was very different then other books in Victoria Schwab's impressive collection. Gallant is not driven by action; it is much slower paced, giving the reader time to sink into the world. The only draw back I has was with the ending. I did not feel satisfied as if there were a few promises that were made earlier in the book that did not come to fruition; things were answered and solved, just not in the way I personally had been expecting. But overall, this was a great read and I recommend it to readers who enjoyed Schwab's Nearwitch.
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"Everything casts a shadow. Even the world we live in. And as with every shadow, there is a place where it must touch. A seam, where the shadow meets its source."

Oh, how I adored this book. As usual, with her lush and descriptive writing, Schwab dragged me deep into her dark fantasy world: in this case, the life of Olivia Prior, a mute orphan searching for freedom and family. 

"Free - a small word for such a magnificent thing."

Gallant is a vivid gothic horror tale, complete with hostile relatives, death, ghouls, and a mysterious wall on a creepy country estate. And Olivia is the perfect gothic heroine: fierce, defiant, clever, alone (in more ways than one). I don't want to give too much away, but I found this book impossible to put down and on par with Vicious. Perfect for fans of dark fantasy, gothic horror or the author herself.
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Possible spoilers......




I really enjoyed the story.  Schwab is great at crafting worlds and characters and she has done it again with this story. I am making the assumption that since it's Victoria and not VE that this is a YA title, which I feel is a good categorization.  I like that she didn't shy away from characters having things happen to them that may not be the popular choice with all readers as it made the story a lot less predictable and things weren't tied up prettily at the end with a bow.
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Before I get into this, let me lay out the basics for you: Olivia Prior is a mute girl living in an orphanage with no hint of her parentage except for her mother's journal. The journal addressed to her father, details her mother's escape from a place called Gallant...and her descent into madness. Though her mother warns Olivia to never go to this mysterious Gallant, a letter arrives for her, insisting that she return to her family there. Olivia, with no better options in her grasp, returns as instructed and falls into a decades-old family secret.

This novel was EXCELLENT. It was not particularly scary, but I felt extremely uneasy as I was reading it. Schwab captures the eeriness of the uncanny in a way I have never experienced with the written word. Though Olivia cannot speak out loud, I did not feel in the dark (pun intended) during the journey. There were no frustrating moments that could be solved by lack of communication. The line between eagerness to unearth the mystery and patience with plot pacing was perfect for me. Schwab never reveals everything, but lays out all the clues for you and leaves room for imagination.

If you have been unsure about pre-ordering this book for lack of information, I went into this novel fully blind and found it to be an absolute joy; compelling, creepy, and dosed with (somehow) warm familial undertones. A unique addition to my shelf.
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Victoria, you did it again! Gallant did not disappoint - it's like combining paranormal horror with a big hug.

Our protagonist, Olivia, is a young girl who's only desire in life is to find a place where she feels like she belongs. We first meet Olivia at the Merilance School for Girls, a refuge for orphaned girls and a place that is definitely not a place where any young girl should be. Much like the other girls, Olivia dreams of one day running away - unlike the other girls, Olivia is essentially rescued from Merilance when a letter arrives inviting her to "come home". The only thing about the letter...the author is dead. How did it find her?

What I really loved about this book is the spooky air that is present from page to page. It's not outright horror with jump scares; it's the kind of horror that has you slowly peaking out from behind corners, or looking over your shoulder, or holding your breath when you think you heard something while you're home alone. The suspense builds and THAT'S what keeps you on your toes. Gallant will keep you away from all of your responsibilities because once you start reading it you won't want to stop.

If you enjoyed the Netflix show Bly Manor you'll love this book. If you enjoy horror or suspense, you'll love this book. If you're a reader in general, you'll love this book.
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Victoria Schwab is amazing at world building and character development and this book is a brilliant example of her power! Story is delightful and fun, while our main character feels like our best friend
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Some may consider the hardest job of an author’s career to be writing their most successful novel. For Schwab, most would undeniably consider this her 2020 work “The Invisible Life of Addie Larue.” And yet, what might just be the hardest task, is writing the follow up book to one’s most successful novel; for Schwab this is her upcoming novel “Gallant.”

Gallant follows the story of Olivia Prior, a young orphan who can see ghosts, cannot speak, but still makes herself heard. Soon she is whisked away to her uncle’s home where what appears to be just doors, walls, and keys morphs into something much greater than that. 

This text is the core of what Schwab is consistently successful in: crafting an immersive world and immaculate characters through words that work together like clockwork. And yet it still manages to set itself apart from all her other works. Schwab has stated many times that she draws much inspiration from fellow creative Neil Gaiman, and this the work in which I saw that influence the most. In an almost Coraline-esque tale, Schwab creates a story and characters that feel familiar and yet are unexpected and feel wholly fleshed out.

At the end of the day, do I believe this to be my favorite VE Schwab novel? Probably not. But do I think it a fantastic work in itself? Absolutely. Schwab could have reached for another masterpiece like she did with Addie Larue. But instead, she chooses to let this story be a small whimsical tale, and that is where it is so successful.

**Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC of this book.**
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Gallant tells the story of a young orphan, Olivia, who discovers she has a family and a home, but the home is threatened by its dark image. The tone is similar to Schwab's first book--quiet and mysterious. The book is also interspersed with lovely illustrations that are rearranged for the plot. However, it did take a bit long for the plot to get going and I didn't feel particularly attached to any of the secondary characters. More backstory would also have fleshed out the story, so I would feel more invested.
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*thank you to VE Schwab, NetGalley, and the Publisher for this advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.* 

I’ll be honest, when I saw this book on NetGalley, I didn’t know anything about it other than it was a VE Schwab book. And after finishing it? I still don’t know much about it. Though the book was kinda meant to do that. 

As always, let’s talk characters. 

Olivia: an orphaned girl unable to speak, looking for her family. She was so intriguing and I loved seeing how she interacted with the world when the world struggled to interact with her. 

Matthew: who hurt you child? He is angry angry angry. All the time. Also an orphan, but he knows a heck of a lot more about himself than his recently-discovered-cousin Olivia. I loved seeing the two of them figure each other out. 

Hanna and Edgar: I love them. I will read a whole book about just them. (They are the house staff who work at Gallant.) 

Death: sir, I need answers. 

The ghouls: creatures, I need answers. 

The staff and other orphans at Merilance: you suck.

As for the plot of this book, I struggled to figure it out. At its heart, this book is about family and finding your family and learning the value of who and what you have. The bond between Olivia and her (assumed?) late mother is emotional. The growing relationship between Olivia and Mathew is beautiful. The longing for a relationship between Olivia and her father is heart wrenching. It’s such a powerful story in the sense of relationships. 

I got so hung up and confused, though, on Gallant. Where did the mirror house come from? How did the master of the mirror house come to be? How did his people get out of the mirrored dimensions? What are the ghouls ties to Gallant? What are the ghouls ties beyond Gallant? Why can’t they just leave Gallant? WHY DID HE SEND THE LETTER? 

There is so darn much that I am left confused on. The story has so much development in the idea of family, that when the *epic battle scene* came about, I was left a little wanting. I wanted more. More struggle, more dynamics, I don’t know what, but more. Just more. 

Overall, this was a good-ish book. It has the stunning writing that VE Schwab is a master at. The characters have a way of working themselves into your heart and making you care deeply for them, but the plot just left me wanting *MORE.*
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V E Schwab is a genius with a pen! I love her works and will continue to devour novels for years to come.
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I absolutely adored this book! V.E. Schwab is one of my favorite authors.

Her writing style and world building are just phenomenal.  Her characters are so fleshed out, so courageous, interesting, and poetic.  I just fall in love with all of them.

Gallant is no exception. Schwab compares it to The Secret Garden meets Crimson Peak.  I completely agree.

Olivia lives at an all girls home until a letter arrives telling her it’s time to come home.  The letter is from her uncle who lives at a home called Gallant.

Olivia is a special person who can see ghouls, but also can’t speak. She has a journal left to her by her Mother. In the journal are her Mother’s thoughts as well as beautiful drawings.

When she leaves the all girls home she realizes not everything is what it seems. No one at Gallant knew she was coming.  She befriends Hannah and Edgar who take care of the huge home. Her cousin, Matthew, is not happy she is there and wants her gone.

As Olivia stays she begins to discover Gallant’s secrets.  She ends finding out she needs to changes things at Gallant so everyone can survive.

It was everything I wanted.  I just loved the ending! I can’t wait to buy a hardback copy in March! Thanks to Netgalley for my ecopy.
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I loved this book for the dark twisted secret gardenesque vibe. I loved that it was about this girl just trying to find her home and family in this world and what she finds isn't exactly what she hoped but it is still her family. I loved the underlying message that those that came before us set a path and are helping us a long our way despite the fact that they are gone. 
Thank you Victoria for another fantastic novel. I can't wait to read this again in physical form.
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This book was so good. I'm kind of at a loss as to how to describe it. Maybe Coraline meets Slade House. So good. Schwab is always a delight to read. I enjoyed the mute heroine. She has such strength and is so communicative without being able to freely communicate with the world around her. I was fully immersed in this book and all my weekend chores were lost to this book and the amazing world of Olivia and Gallant.
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I read this book in about a day. The prose was gorgeous, the visuals crystal clear, and I loved that the main character was mute and how the writing developed as a cause. I think our protagonist here was brilliantly done and I truly feel like I got a sense of who she was. A book I would desperately like to have in physical copy so I could look at it on my shelf and get that little warm familiar feeling of a fond story.

In all honesty, the other characters felt distinctly on the side. They were present, but as props. I didn’t feel invested in anyone but our protagonist, and I suppose more interested in the antagonist though they were fairly cut and dry. (A thought: Is this middle grade and I’m being too harsh?)

The magic is beautiful, the description of the home and garden well done, and the Door (capital D) was phenomenal. I finished it wanting more story- Who built Gallant? What was the family like who lived there and how did they come to find the garden wall? What was their history, their magic? There’s nothing wrong with leaving the questions unanswered, but it leaves me with the feeling that this book was an amuse bouche if not a full meal.
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**I received this complimentary ARC in exchange for an honest review.**

Olivia Prior spends her early life at the Merilance School for Independent Girls, convinced she's been left alone in the world. A journal from her mother is her only key to her past, and it leaves her with a haunting message: "you will be safe as long as you stay away from Gallant." One day a letter arrives from the very place her mother warned her about, and soon her new life begins to unfold.

Gallant is so hauntingly beautiful, and the descriptions are absolutely amazing. Hauntings and ghosts aren't quite what they appear in this novel, and I loved the fresh take of how Olivia experienced the ghouls. There's a symbiosis with the various ghouls that you don't see in most "ghost stories", and this neverending evocative atmosphere that wraps you up in the story and makes you never want to leave.

I've loved every one of Victoria Schwab's books this far, and this is no exception. The illustrations add an extra layer to the book I wasn't expecting, and I can't wait to see what she writes next.
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I’m giving this book 5 stars.

This book changed the way I see the world, not by the writing or the characters, but how it gives a voice to the voiceless, how you can be strong even in your loneliness. VE Schwab once again gives you a new world, with new characters, and new people to love. This felt like beautiful poetry when I was reading it, and gave me so many different emotions then I was expecting. 

The fast pace, but slow burn was incredible from start to finish, and I felt as if I myself was walking through that garden and through that Iron door. 

Beautiful, breathtaking, and wonderful.
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QUICK TAKE: I liked it! It's CORALINE meets THE SECRET GARDEN, though I wish there was a bit more character and world-building. As it is now, it felt more like a novella to me and was missing some of the scope of Schwab's previous books. That being said, if you're a fan of the author and genre, there's a lot to like about this one, and I'm a huge fan of any book with a dangerous garden.
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Wow. Wow. Wow.
Once again Victoria Schwab's writing and characters have left me speechless. The world building of Gallant and Merilance sucked me right in and I didn't want to put the book down. Everyone of all ages will love this book. Olivia, the main character, has a special place in my heart. 

Thank you NetGalley for sending me an arc for an honest review.
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