Everything casts a shadow. Even the world we live in. And as with every shadow, there is a place where it must touch. A seam, where the shadow meets its source.
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?
The master of the house stands at the garden wall.
It is a grim stretch of stone, an iron door locked and bolted at its center. There is a narrow gap between the door and the rock, and when the breeze is right, it carries the scent of summer, sweet as melon, and the distant warmth of sun.
There is no breeze tonight.
solid, good read:
Gallant is all about the vibes. Dark and haunting, full of loneliness and unlikely hope; there’s a lot to love here, even if the story itself is a little shallow.
From the first pages, I was drawn into Olivia’s grey world. Schwab’s writing is beautiful and captivating, setting the scene and introducing the characters. You immediately felt the overwhelming gloom of Merilance, the nastiness of the matrons and the other boarders. Olivia lives in her own silence, trying to make as much noise as possible. Sneaky and talented, she lives in the legacy of her mother’s madness with no discernible future to look forward to.
The most confusing part of Gallant is the complexity of the writing and the simplicity of the story. The world is starkness and vibrancy contrasted, but the narrative follows a straight line with no deviation. I finished Gallant feeling like that couldn’t possibly be it. There are so many instances where the lore, the family, the magic, and the rules could have all been more detailed. So many moments when I just wanted to dig a little deeper.
As atmospheric as it gets, I definitely enjoyed my 200th book this year. While I was left feeling like something was missing, Gallant is still an enjoyable gothic read.