Gallant by V.E. Schwab is a modern day dark gothic young adult fairy tale filled with ghosts and death. Gallant is a hauntingly good story, that seeped into my dreams. The plot is half mystery and half gothic horror. The pace of the story is very rapid and doesn’t let up. Olivia the lead character is born mute, which would be a challenge for any writer to make compelling, having others talk and you lead character only gesture, but Schwab makes it work seamlessly. The dark gothic horror elements don’t go too dark and seem appropriate for the young adult audience as low as 12. The world building and mystery are done really well, I loved deep diving into the family history and the curse. The ending was done really well is both crowd pleasing and sentimental. This is my sixth Victoria Schwab or V.E. Schwab book that I have read and it is now a close second to Villainous which is still my favorite. So Gallant is in good company if you’ve read my review for Villainous and know how special it is and gallant coming in as a close second. Gallant was published by Greenwillow Books and published on March 1st 2022.
Plot Summary: Olivia is mute teenager and lives in a home for girls. She doesn’t have real friends and is constantly teased, but she does need them since she can see and communicate with ghosts or ghouls as she calls them. She knows how sign thanks to one sister, but she has come and gone and now communicates through writing which she hates or gestures. She can not remember here family but has a journal of her mother’s who was rumored to go insane and reading the writing it looks like it. She dreams of her mother whisking her away, when one day she gets a letter from an uncle, saying he’s been searching everywhere for her and must come to Gallant. Gallant is a place she knows from her mother’s journal, where she write Gallant is not safe. Olivia arrives at huge manor bigger than her girls home. When she arrives it is not with a welcome, the residents didn’t know she was coming, and want to send her away instantly, they haven’t heard about her, the invitation came from an uncle that died a year ago, who invited her to the manor and what do they want?
What I Liked: I liked how gothic and dark the story got. I instantly feel in love with the character of Olivia. I love a house with secrets story and there’s so many secrets. The villain was pretty terrifying and liked how dark and creepy he was. I loved the journals and their lyrical writing. I loved how fast the plot moved, when the action slows down you find more secrets out so I thought it was super interesting even when a little slow. The finale was super emotional and satisfying I loved every second of it. I loved the plot twist, there’s only one and it is pretty shocking and smart. The cover when you read the story really works well.
What I Disliked: I needed a little more about Olivia’s father, that was the only part that I was scratching my head, Schwab did make an attempt but I needed more.
Recommendation: Read this book it will have you turning pages long into the night, and for me it seeped into my dreams. This is a dark gothic fairy tale that feels pretty timeless, the only thing marking time is a car. Schwab is a great writer that keeps coming up with such original work. I rated Gallant by V. E. Schwab 5 out of 5 stars. This book is currently in my top 5 of books published this year.