Gallant by V.E. Schwab – Book Review

Title: Gallant

Author: V.E. Schwab

Pages: 338

Publication Date: 03/01/22

Genre: YA Dark Fantasy / Dark Academia

Rating: ♥♥♥♥,75

TW: ableism, animal death, blood, body horror, bullying, child death, claustrophobia, confinement, death, injury, injury detail, mental illness, panic attacks/disorders, self-harm, suicide, violence.


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?


Plot and world-building:
The book Gallant felt quite empty, quiet, and filled with action, but at least we didn’t have to read about love affair with the devil because it’s a YA novel. This tale is a brilliant fusion of magic, mystery, darkness and simplicity. Even though the mystery isn’t really difficult or complex, it was entertaining to see Olivia figure it out. The other realm and ghouls had an intriguing part to play , giving the otherwise sweet story just the proper amount of eerie creep factor. I quickly gobbled this story since enjoyed every minute of it so much. It’s easily one of my favorite reads this year, as well as one of my favorite standalones.
Though I understand the argument that if Matthew had been honest with Olivia from the start, the main confrontation might have been avoided, I believe that everything had to come to pass. Olivia was able to discover aspects of herself and Gallant and obtain information that she would not have otherwise been able to.
This book has a lot of vibes and is really atmospheric! This quaint, eerie world with its enigmatic diaries, odd sculptures, lovely gardens, ghosts, and divergent parallel worlds was one that I adored. I was drawn in by the eerie aura and magic of academics and would have gladly stayed longer in this small universe.
  • am appreciative of Olivia despite her terrible incapacity to speak. She  gave mefresh perspective on the world. It made me realize just how challenging it is for people who are unable to make their voices heard, both literaly and figuratively, and it made me appreciate something I had previously taken for granted. I was also thrilled when she would find new methods to have others listen to her because I could feel her loneliness, rage and aggravation. She is likeable for her sassiness and stubbornness as much as for her bravery and tenacity.
  • To be honest, Matthew got on my nerves. When Olivia first comes, he is a jerk to her, makes mysterious remarks without explaining them, and wants her to be taken away from Gallant. But it’s clear from the start, and it becomes clearer as the story progresses, that Matthew has good intentions and is attempting to keep Olivia’s life from being damaged by Gallant and the Prior curse. His story broke my heart, especially when he repeatedly pushes away anyone who wants to be there for or with him because he is concerned about their safety. Every time he opened up a little, it made me very happy.
  • It was also difficult not to enjoy Gallant’s guardians, Edgar and Hannah, who were the only people living there save Matthew. Olivia finds them both incredibly hospitable, and since Edgar is proficient in sign language, she can finally communicate with someone who can translate for her. Their strong protectiveness towards Matthew, Gallant, and Olivia is admirable. They are the parents she always deserved but was never given.
  • I wish we had known more about the Master of the House (in Other Gallant), also known as Death, as Olivia’s mother refers to him in her notebook. He’s an intriguing antagonist.

Gallant is undoubtedly among my Top Five books of the year and swiftly rose to the top of my list of favorites. The paintings are stunning, the location is dramatic, the magic is realistic but basic, and the story is both lovely and heartbreaking. It’s also perfectly creepy, making it the ideal cozy fall read.

This is a nice, gloomy book that I would suggest to anyone looking for disability or nonverbal portrayal.


“Merilance was a house, but it would never be a home.”
“There was that word again – safe. But what is safe? Tombs are safe. Merilance was safe. Safe doesn not mean happy, does not mean well, does not mean kind.”

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