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  • Writer's pictureAshley Mongrain

Gallant | Review


Rating - ⭐⭐1/2


"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."


 

Gallant is a standalone YA fantasy novel by V.E. Schwab.


I haven't had the best luck when it comes to this author's work. I read the Cassidy Blake series which is mediocre at best, and I didn't like The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue at all. This book, unfortunately, didn't impress me much either.


I found it unexpectedly dull, even for a gothic, as this follows a small cast of uninteresting characters with not much going on in terms of plot.


Let's get into the details.


 

WRITING


The writing was standard YA writing, and despite me not enjoying the book very much I did fly through this due to the lack of chunky paragraphs (which was appreciated). I also liked how there were pictures included as it was a nice touch you rarely get.


What I wasn't the biggest fan of, however, was the different perspectives. Typically we follow the MC, Olivia, but the story also included letters from her mom and dad as well as small sections from the master of the house. I just didn't like the random addition of bolded text in the middle of the page and felt like the story could have done without it too as it didn't add too much context anyway.



PLOT


We start the story off in Merilance, which is a girl's school run by matrons. Initially, I thought that it was an interesting beginning, but once Olivia left the school rather quickly, it felt like a waste of space and potential. More time could have been spent there in order to get to know Olivia and the environment she grew up in better.


As for the rest of the story, it took a while for the story to kick in as, for a good chunk of the book, we don't get a good sense of what the story is aiming for. Once the majority of the book has passed and you finally get to the core of the plot, I found that it wasn't anything particularly new or spectacular. It was just your standard gothic novel.


As a gothic, I did go into this expecting a slow-burn story with an odd and explosive ending. In all honesty, that is probably why gothic books don't work for me. You get a whole lot of nothing with some underlying background tension for the majority of the book, and then the twist ends up throwing me off.


I also found that I wasn't fully satisfied with the ending as it didn't explain things clearly enough for me (and it was just not a satisfying ending in general). It was also a very convenient ending due to Olivia having certain abilities.


Finally, there were some useless anecdotes, such as Olivia talking about a boy she met, that should have been left out as they added nothing to the narrative. There was also a good chunk of the book that were letters full of information we already got previously and was a major waste of space.


CHARACTERS


I didn't particularly enjoy following Olivia as the main character. She made a lot of bad decisions in order to advance the plot, such as refusing to leave the house after all of the warnings she got. That ended up decreasing my sympathy for her character as I ended up not caring about what would happen to her.


Olivia also ended up displaying a massive pet peeve I have when it comes to characters. I am talking about making bad decisions without thinking clearly because they were 'only trying to help'. That one little detail can turn a character from being normal to annoying.


As for the rest of the cast, I didn't fully understand Hannah and why she decided to let Olivia stay at the house fully knowing the family's history. Matthew, I found to be much more interesting than Olivia, although I did think that his character was not done justice.



CONCLUDING THOUGHTS


Overall, this book was too short and had a lot of wasted space and potential for both plot and character development.


If you like gothic novels you might like this, but I cannot say for certain as I only say that because I don't like gothics and didn't like this either. If you are looking for something a bit similar, I would suggest The Haunting of Hill House instead.

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