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?
New York Times–bestselling author V. E. Schwab crafts a vivid and lush novel that grapples with the demons that are often locked behind closed doors. An eerie, stand-alone saga about life, death, and the young woman beckoned by both.
Amazon Link: Gallant
Author: V. E. Schwab
Genre: YA Dark Fantasy
Rating: 5/5 stars
This was another great stand-alone novel from V. E. Schwab that weaves a complete world and emotional journey within a compact number of pages. It was a quick read but it kept my attention consumed the whole time. Even the illustrations were beautifully detailed and they revealed new secrets as the narrative progressed.
The gothic atmosphere was perfect from the drab boarding school to the melancholy estate, Gallant. Olivia cannot speak, but she can see the dead, and that is her first clue to a larger mystery. Interesting that the dead were incorporeal, but Olivia called them ghouls instead of ghosts or spirits. She also has a journal from her dead mother who tells her about her mysterious father, her family home Gallant, and the danger that waits for her there. When she finally goes to Gallant, the questions only increase.
I thought that she would get her voice in the other Gallant, but she had a surprising new power to bring life there–a nice twist, and it was nice that her disability wasn’t magically “cured.”
I also liked that the story was about family. The love her parents had for her and each other, and the new family she made with her cousin. She found a place to belong.
I recommend this book to fans of gothic novels and dark fantasy. There were major Coraline vibes, so Neil Gaiman fans should definitely pick this up!
Here is the book in my reading journal: