Monday, February 21, 2022

ARC Review: Gallant by Victoria Schwab

Title: Gallant
Author: Victoria Schwab
Publication Date: March 1, 2022
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Pages: 384
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Olivia Prior has grown up in Merilance School for girls, and all she has of her past is her mother’s journal—which seems to unravel into madness. Then, a letter invites Olivia to come home—to Gallant. Yet when Olivia arrives, no one is expecting her. But Olivia is not about to leave the first place that feels like home, it doesn’t matter if her cousin Matthew is hostile or if she sees half-formed ghouls haunting the hallways.

Olivia knows that Gallant is hiding secrets, and she is determined to uncover them. When she crosses a ruined wall at just the right moment, Olivia finds herself in a place that is Gallant—but not. The manor is crumbling, the ghouls are solid, and a mysterious figure rules over all. Now Olivia sees what has unraveled generations of her family, and where her father may have come from.

Olivia has always wanted to belong somewhere, but will she take her place as a Prior, protecting our world against the Master of the House? Or will she take her place beside him?

Victoria Schwab is an author I have always had a bit of a weird relationship with. Everyone seems to love her, but I've never been able to connect with her books. I thought A Darker Shade of Magic was fine and I gave up on The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue. I WANT to love her, I just don't think I'd found the right book. Until Gallant. A friend lent me her ARC a few months back after I'd read the synopsis and been sure this was THE book that would make me a Schwab fan and I was absolutely right. 

This story follows Olivia Prior, an orphan who unexpectedly finds herself invited to Gallant, her family home, a house full of secrets and mysteries. I don't think that this book will be for everyone. It's definitely more about the *vibes* than the plot, although I absolutely fell in love with Olivia. I've seen another reviewer compare this to Crimson Peak and Coraline, and I think that description perfectly encapsulates the way Gallant feels. 

What I most loved about this story was the feeling of being pulled fully into the world of Gallant. Even months after reading it I can still imagine the world (to the best of my aphant abilities) and want to go back and experience its creepy charm again. Of course, the plot that pulled Olivia along as she unraveled the multi-generational mystery was intriguing and I was dying to find out all of the house's secrets. What kept me entranced, though, was the feeling the story gave me. And I guess that's the magic of V.E. Schwab that I've been hearing about for all these years. 

I'll absolutely be buying as many special editions of this haunting book as I can afford and recommending it to everyone. I'll also be giving Schwab's backlist another look because I desperately want more stories this beautiful.