A to Z Book Review: GALLANT
My letter “G” pick for the 2022 A to Z book read was GALLANT by V.E. Schwab, a stand-alone gothic-style YA horror story with masterful plot weaving and subtle layers of poignancy that leave you aching.
I have to tell you that this story had two elements that generally make it “not my favorite sort of read.” First, it’s a YA story without a hint of romance for the main character – a true rarity in the genre. Second, it features an omniscient narrator, who tells you the story, rather than having it play out in first person or third person. I sometimes find that off-putting when I read. Despite those two things, this story hooked me from the beginning and held me captive all the way to the shattering end.
Olivia Prior is the protagonist of the story, an orphan born with a clever mind and the magical gift of seeing the dead. She also happens to be mute, a fact that doesn’t stop her from standing up for herself and later doing what must be done. Olivia is mysteriously “found” by her mother’s extended family, taken away from the wretched Merilance School for Girls, and sent to live at Gallant, the family home that guards the entrance to a a dark and sinister mirror realm – one that is intent on encroaching into our world.
“There must always be a Prior at the gate,” she’s informed by her belligerent cousin, Matthew, who thought he was the last of his line until Olivia showed up. As she learns who truly sent for her, and discovers secrets about her true parentage, Olivia stands ready to face the circling force of evil and defend the home – and family – she has come to embrace.
This book has a wonderfully unfolding plot, gripping suspense, a strong protagonist, and though it doesn’t exactly end on happily-ever-after, the lingering and beautiful melancholy of it stayed with me. This was a very good read. Four and 1/2 stars.