Cover Image: Gallant


Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

As a fan of Victoria Schwab this was extremely exciting to receive. I thought her character arc for Olivia was perfectly strung together staying consistently engaging and mysterious. The setting would’ve been the perfect Halloween read given it’s atmospheric and gothic scenery. Although at the end I was still left with some questions regarding Olivia’s parents and vocal impairment, I felt that she was able to create a comforting sense of closure. Also as a side yet very minimal complaint, I do think through her books that V.E. Schwab has very common themes surrounding ghosts which can get repetitive but the fact she’s able to execute it well balances it out.
Was this review helpful?
Gallant, the latest fantasy novel by NY Times best-selling author Victoria Schwab, is an enchanting and haunting novel about a young mute orphan girl's search for a place to call home.  I read an advance reading copy of the novel courtesy of NetGalley and HarperCollins/ Greenwillow Books in exchange for an honest review.

Olivia Prior was abandoned on the steps of the Merilance School for Girls, with her mother's mysterious notebook as her only possession. Bullied and teased by the other girls and teachers from the moment she arrives, she escapes into her own world, studying the entries and drawings in her mom's notebook in hopes of making some sense of them. When Olivia receives a letter inviting her to her ancestral home, a home she was warned against visiting, she eagerly accepts her and quickly becomes embroiled in tightly-held family secrets. The estate is filled with wandering (but mostly harmless) ghouls, hidden rooms which may or may not be real, dark shadowy hallways, and a "second Gallant", albeit an unconventional one with very dark surprises of its own.

It is easy to get caught up in Schwab's mysterious Gallant(s). Her writing is vivid, precise, and has a neat, sumptuous, gothic sense about it. She is a master storyteller whose intricate plotting is fresh and original. Best of all, her characters are marvelous creations, from the mute and determined Olivia, who aches to find a home; her hostile and antagonistic cousin; a pair of well-meaning housekeepers, and especially the evil behind the mysterious secret which has haunted the Prior family. I relish reading her descriptive passages aloud, as much for the sound of the words as the sense. 

While Schwab's tale is dark and sometimes suspenseful, it is never truly frightening or disturbing. It will not keep you awake all night unless you want to keep reading until the end. The book has a lot to say about the need for a place to call home, a place to belong, the strong ties we maintain to those who have left us.  I wanted the story to continue, the sign of a good book. 

Is the book perfect? No. Many loose ends, unanswered questions and the like. None of it stopped me from enjoying the story.  It is well worth reading. I have yet to be disappointed by any of Schwab's books. They are a delight to read!
Was this review helpful?
This was a solid 4.5 stars. 
Thanks again to NetGalley and the author for the advanced reader copy! 

This book was so good, but I expected nothing less of Victoria Schwab. The pacing wasn’t as even as I would have liked- but the second half of the book made up for it entirely. The writing is hauntingly beautiful and I loved it. Secret Garden meets Tim Burton meets Coraline, but add a touch of magic. (It also made me think of City of Ghosts and the other two middle grade books she has in that series!) All in all, very happy with this read! Can’t wait to get my hands on a physical copy next year.
Was this review helpful?
Victoria Schwab, author of a variety of fantasy novels under the name V. E. Schwab, wows in this YA Gothic Fantasy. 
"Home is a choice."  Olivia, an orphan who has grown up under the careful eyes of the Matrons of Merilance Home for Independent Girls, has never belonged. She is bright and capable, but she can't speak, and this makes it difficult for her to make friends or prove to anyone that she is more than meets the eye. There's also the fact that she can see ghouls, the shades of those who are no longer living. 
One day, she receives a letter from an unknown uncle, telling her that she has a family and a home grander than she could have imagined. But the house, and the family may hold sinister secrets that Olivia must uncover before it's too late. 
Schwab's Shades of Magic books have gained ardent followers for their compelling, action packed plots. Her Invisible Life of Addie LaRue enjoyed praise for it's deep dive into the psyche of it's main characters. This novel takes the best of both worlds to create an interesting examination of a young woman's yearning for belonging and the lengths she is willing to go for those she loves.
Was this review helpful?
I have always loved The Secret Garden (minus the colonialism), and Gallant made me feel the same joy while I was reading it. Gallant has the addition of spookiness (woo!).

Girl finds herself at estranged relative's house and finds a door to a secret garden. But add in ghouls, death, and darker mysteries.

This book was exactly my cup of tea.
Was this review helpful?
Honestly, what do you want me to say? Schwab is a genius, and we are lucky to be alive while she's publishing. This book is a perfect MG read - gorgeous illustrations, dark and complicated without being harsh, full of independent spirit. The kids in your life who like ghost stories and horror will love it, but you will too. Lush, challenging, evocative.
Was this review helpful?
Victoria Schwab has an incredible ability to take shopworn themes in fiction and mold them into something new and unique. She does it again here with the Gothic “There’s something wrong with the house” trope, putting her own unusual, fresh spin on one my my favorite topics in one of my favorite genres.

The bones of this are pretty standard to the trope, but Schwab takes us on an atmospheric, beautifully eerie and meandering trip through the strange world of Gallant. 

Olivia, who cannot speak but has a gift for sort hung and can see and interact with ghouls, is a fairly standard to the genre but likable protagonist. Her foe (despite being based on an age old character of sorts) is a far more unusual fellow. But Olivia is easy to root for and their relationship to one another is based on some interesting stuff.

I loved the concept of the house and the shadow house, and Schwab’s world building was as creepily gorgeous as always, though I think the story could have used more of it. 

This lacks the emotional pull of Addie LaRue, and while it’s less dramatic in some ways, it’s a gentler and more atmospheric novel than Vicious. In all, a lovely, dark gothic fairy tale and a delight to read.
Was this review helpful?
Gallant is a fast paced gothic novel for middle grade/YA that is sure to delight fans of Coraline. 

Olivia is a mute orphan who can see ghouls. She lives at Merilance, a school that trains girls up to be maids and other household servants. One day, a letter arrives from her uncle claiming her and returning her to her ancestral home, Gallant.

What ensues is a dark journey into the mysteries of Olivia’s family and why her mother tried to protect her from it all those years ago.

Fantastic storytelling and an unforgettable main character. Highly recommended.

Huge thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a free digital advanced reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Another fantastic read from Victoria Schwab!  Olivia discovers she has family she never knew about, and makes a journey into the shadow world. Excellent read!
Was this review helpful?
Enjoyed this book. The plot and characters were well thought out and vivid. I would recommend this book to others and can't wait to read what the author does next.
Was this review helpful?
I am as big fan of all Victoria Schwab’s fiction, but if you have not read her before start with something else. This is a peculiar story reminiscent of another era and it might not suit the contemporary reader’s taste. It is a darkly sad tale from start to finish. The battle between death personified and the Priory family does not lift the spirit in spite of the strength and resilience of the characters. If you are in the mood for haunting melancholy this is the tale for you.
Was this review helpful?
A fun haunting dance through captivating house. Gallant is perfect for anyone that is a fan of Tim Burton or Guillermo Del Toro.
Was this review helpful?
This book was about as perfect of a follow-up to “The invisible Life of Addie LaRue” as one could ask for. Once again, we have a strong, female protagonist who knows she is due much more than her destiny, even if that means chasing down a god who answers after dark. Olivia Prior is a multi-faceted character, with many redeeming qualities/powers but also some flaws/impediments that make her an extremely realistic and relatable character. Furthermore the writing style and pacing of the book far exceeded my expectations; I don’t usually read YA nor do I read a book in under 2 days. To add to that, the atmosphere was engrossing and perfectly suited for a Halloween-time read, although I read it in the peak of summer and was still enamored. I don’t want to say much more in order to keep the plot a mystery, but I highly recommend this book.
Was this review helpful?
Gallant is a bit Coraline, a bit Jane Eyre, a bit The Secret Garden, and a large dash its own thing.  It is a quiet and creepy story, all about family and ghosts and unexpected homecomings.  

Olivia grew up in an orphanage, a harsh one whose job is to prepare children who have no place in the world to be adults who have no place in the world.  All that she has of her history is a journal that once belonged to her mother, and a strange ability to see spirits.  Olivia is also mute, a condition that sets her even more apart from her fellow students.  This all changes when Olivia receives a letter from a previously unknown uncle, begging her to come join him at Gallant, her ancestral home.  

Gallant is rather empty and full of secrets.  The only residents are two aging servants and a cousin.  There is also a mysterious wall in the garden, with cracks perpetually appearing...almost as if something is trying to push through from the other side.  

I enjoyed this book, and the story is nicely dark and creepy in the style of older gothic novels.  Olivia's muteness works especially well here, since it sets her aside from the world around her and creates a sort of muffled and claustrophobic atmosphere.  Her justified anger at the way that the world ignores people like her is well done, with little moments like a character turning away in order to cut off a conversation, knowing Olivia is unable to call after them and make herself heard.  There is also something added to a horror story when you have a protagonist who is literally unable to call for help.  

Gallant falls more under horror then fantasy, and it would be a great Autumn read.  It is a quiet and personal story, and the answers that Olivia eventually finds feel like exactly the right answers for the story being told.
Was this review helpful?
Gallant is a novel that pulls you in and refuses to let go as you finish each chapter and the novel itself.  It is marketed for fans of Crimson Peak but to me felt more like the Haunting of Bly Manor.   Gallant follows Olivia Prior, orphaned and without any future prospects, as she receives a mysterious letter for her uncle inviting her back home. All she knows of her mother is from a journal whose entries mark a decline into madness.  She makes her way to her family home and finds that her mother’s journal was just the beginning of a peculiar existence for the Priors. 
Schwab’s writing style is so atmospheric and immediately pulls you into Olivia’s haunted world.  I was unable to put it down and was entranced by the by the mystery of Gallant and Olivia’s family.  Easily five stars and one of my favorite novels that I have read this year.
Was this review helpful?
This was a fast, creepy ghost story. It was enough to enjoy, and that's about it -- enough backstory and lore, enough spooky moments, enough interesting characters and pathos. Perfect for those looking for a tasty snack rather than a heavy, three-course meal.
Was this review helpful?
V.E. Schwab is one of my very favorite authors, which led me to have very high expectations for Gallant. I also did not realize (and perhaps it hasn’t been advertised as such) that Gallant is a middle grade, not an upper-YA or YA crossover book, so I should have been more prepared for something closer The Near Witch as opposed to Monster of Verity or A Darker Shade of Magic though the cover of Gallant does have similar artwork to DSOM. These two factors combined left me slightly disappointed with Gallant.

Gallant does contain many of Schwab’s signatures. The writing is gorgeous and the story unspins quietly but intensely. There is an eerie, fairytale like quality to the novel which definitely works in its favor. However, it is missing some of Schwab’s other hallmarks. Olivia is an underdeveloped character. She is an orphan who cannot speak and there’s not much beyond that. She has an anger and desire to belong, but that does not shine through in a compelling way like it does with Lilah Bard, Katherine Harker, or Sydney Clarke. It is perhaps unfair to compare her to other Schwab characters, but it is hard not to do so when character development is one of her immense strengths. Similarly, we get to know next to nothing about Matthew which makes it difficult to be invested in his struggle. 

It’s not quite an Easter egg, but I like to joke that a V.E. Schwab heroine loves a knife (see: Lilah, Katherine, Lexi). At one point in Gallant, Olivia picks up a knife but discards it quickly. 
In some ways, Gallant has echoes of The Archived in its relationship to life and death and loneliness. Gallant is quieter, spookier than that series, which I appreciated.

Overall, Gallant is lushly written but did not have the depth to satisfy in the same way that Schwab’s YA and adult novels do, which is maybe not a fair assessment, so I think Gallant is best taken for what it is: A middle-grade novel about a girl, ghosts, and belonging. 

PS- the art gorgeous!

*Thanks very much to NetGalley/ the publisher for providing me with an digital ARC.
Was this review helpful?
A haunting book about the power that death has over the living and the power of family - chosen or otherwise.
Was this review helpful?
Victoria Schwab is a master of words. Gallant, her latest work, lives up to the hype. It's lush, vibrant, and dark in a way only she can achieve.
Was this review helpful?
This book was amazing. Victoria Schwab is one of my favorite authors so I went into this book with high expectations. It didn't disappoint. 

Once again, Schwab is masterful at weaving a magical story. I found myself captivated by the unraveling of the many mysteries presented in this book. Gallant, itself, proved to be even more fascinating than I could have anticipated. 

Olivia is a great main character. It was unique to have a main character that does not speak. And yet, Olivia was able to make herself heard when she wanted to be.

My only complaint is that this book didn't feel long enough. The plot didn't really pick up until about halfway through, which led to the ending feeling a bit rushed. I also found myself frustrated to still have some lingering questions unanswered (or at least not answered as fully as I would have liked.) I would definitely read another book in this story's universe!
Was this review helpful?