Sixteen-year-old Olivia Prior is missing three things: a mother, a father, and a voice. Her mother vanished all at once, and her father by degrees, and her voice was a thing she never had to start with.
She grew up at Merilance School for Girls. Now, nearing the end of her time there, Olivia receives a letter from an uncle she’s never met, her father’s older brother, summoning her to his estate, a place called Gallant. But when she arrives, she discovers that the letter she received was several years old. Her uncle is dead. The estate is empty, save for the servants. Olivia is permitted to remain, but must follow two rules: don’t go out after dusk, and always stay on the right side of a wall that runs along the estate’s western edge.
Beyond it is another realm, ancient and magical, which calls to Olivia through her blood…
Victoria Schwab is one of my favourite authors and Gallant was my most anticipated release of 2022. This gorgeous, atmospheric tale follows the story of Olivia Prior – a young girl living at Merilance School for Girls. Her mother disappeared and she has spent her days being taunted by the other girls at the school. When a mysterious letter arrives from Olivia’s Uncle, she is sent to Gallant – the Prior family estate. When Olivia gets there she learns this is anything but a normal household. Olivia soon discovers another realm bordering on Gallant’s estate and must do everything she can to save her family and herself.
This book has such an intriguing premise and Schwab executes this story perfectly. The book is brimming with atmosphere and filled with Schwab’s trademark lyrical writing. As soon as this book arrived I dropped everything to read it and was utterly swept away. The setting really comes to life in the story and I could easily picture the world Schwab has created. The book also features some fascinating illustrations that added another layer to the story.
There is so much to love about Gallant and our main protagonist Olivia is definitely one of those things. She’s clever, determined to succeed, and desperate to find a place where she belongs. You can’t help rooting for her and the people she cares about. I loved the way Gallant was at times a moving story but also had some really tense, creepy moments too.
Gallant is an incredibly engrossing read, one that you will not want to look away from. It’s the sort of book that once you finish you immediately want to reread. While I do prefer Schwab’s adult books, this is an exceptional book and if you’re a fan of her writing I absolutely recommend picking this one up. Gallant is a beautiful story and I can’t wait to see what Schwab dreams up next.