Leta’s Book Review: Gallant by V.E. Schwab

Before diving into Gallant, I read an Instagram story from V.E. Schwab—the author—talking about how she wanted her readers to feel afterwards. Haunted. She wanted the story to haunt us. I thought that was a perfect way for any author to explain how they want their readers to continue thinking about their novels. I never thought that it would be quite so literal.

The word itself haunted me until I gave in and picked up the book. It was intriguing, mysterious, terrifying, and yes, haunting. I’ve tried to think of a better word, but haunted encompasses the whole of the story, characters, and the house.

The protagonist is Olivia Prior, a young orphan who grew up in a home for girls called the Merilance School for Girls. She is sent for by an estranged relative and arrives shortly after at Gallant, an estate run by the Prior family. It doesn’t take long before the secrets of the house reveal themselves to her, leading her to the heart of a terrifying mystery about the house and herself.

Gallant is very different in tone and theme from V.E. Schwab’s last novel, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue. I can’t compare it to any other works by Schwab, but I know that a lot of people read Addie LaRue as I did, and there were a lot of readers who didn’t vibe with it. Personally, I liked it. But it pales in comparison to the tendrils of smoke that reach out of Gallant and squeeze themselves around your chest. Even if you didn’t like Addie LaRue, I think you’ll enjoy this novel. It’s a lot of things that Addie isn’t. It’s intense and action-packed with an easy-to-follow plot and a heroine who needs no words. And those who fell in love with Addie will be drawn in by the darkness and its peculiarities.

If you’ve never read anything by V.E. Schwab and want to start, pick up Gallant. It doesn’t deal with too many dark and heavy topics and it’s an easy read. If you love it as I do, Schwab has a huge library of books to choose from, most of which I’ve heard amazing things about.

I won’t say anything else, since it would be full of spoilers. I hope that I’ve already convinced you that this is a worthwhile read. It certainly was for me, and I’ll be picking it up again in the future for a reread. It haunts my thoughts nearly every day.

Thanks for reading.

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