Author: V. E. Schwab
Genre(s): Fantasy, Horror, ya
My rating: 4/5 stars
Other books written by this author: Shades of magic (series), Villains (series), The invisible life of Addie LaRue, Extra Ordinary (series), Monsters of verity (series)
Find V. E. Schwab here:
Olivia is ten years old and has lived in the girls' orphanage for pretty much her entire life. Olivia has no voice, but if she could talk, she would want to talk about her parents whom she never really had. She would talk about how different she feels from the other girls, but she will always remain silent about the shadows that only she can see. Olivia spends her days with the diary she has from her mother. She tries to decipher the last message in the diary, as the words are addressed to her. One day the orphanage receives a letter from Olivia's uncle, to have her reunited with the rest of the family. Although there is one small problem, the estate is called Gallant. Exactly the place her mother describes in her last message. A place Olivia was told to stay away from. Already determined to learn more about her family, Olivia goes to Gallant and soon discovers the dark place of the estate.
The main character in this story is Olivia. A ten-year-old girl who grew up in a girls' orphanage. Here she certainly did not have it easy, especially when the only leader who could sign language was no longer there. The rest make no effort to communicate with her in Olivia's way. They want her to write down everything she wants to say, but prefer to see her just talk. Something Olivia will never be able to do.
Without really being present, Olivia's mother also plays an incredibly large role in the story, through the diary you get to know her super well and get a good picture of her and Olivia's father. They tell their story, through the diary, since they can never really tell it.
In addition, you see many of the characters who live on Gallant, such as Matthew (Olivia's cousin) and get to interact with all the shadows Olivia sees, which she can sometimes communicate with in some way. You get to know the dark side of Gallant and everyone who lives there.
It's a very diverse cast and all the characters have very strong personalities. All of them have something that makes them unique which makes each of them fun to read about.
Personally, I knew absolutely nothing about this book when I started reading it. I hadn't even read the flap text, so I was in for a big surprise. However, I didn't have much trouble getting into the story. The writing style took me right away and I was immediately curious about Olivia and the diary. I immediately hoped that Olivia would get away from the orphanage. Because I wanted to know exactly what Gallant was and what was going on with the place.
Here and there I found certain parts perhaps a little vaguely described. I might have preferred to go into more detail. For example, I would still like to know more about Gallant and everyone who lived there. Also, at times I thought Olivia sounded a lot older than ten, but on the other hand a child who has already been through so much sounds quite mature at a young age. There were also plenty of times when it was easy to see, in her mind, that Olivia really was still a child. While reading, it did bother me at times that she sounded a bit too mature at times. Only when I think about it afterwards, I do understand why it could come out that way and also find it fitting in the story.
All in all, I would have liked this book quite a bit as a longer story, but I still found it incredibly enjoyable to read. Gallant was a successful story for me, at least, and I spent a long time thinking about the ending, in which everything came together, yet not quite. This book definitely surprised me at certain moments and I could hardly put this book down. This was my very first book by this author, but immediately I put a new author on my favorites list. I really like the writing style and this concept is also super nicely thought out. It makes me long for more stories from this author, as I want to know what else this author comes up with to write about.
Gallant is a book for anyone who does like some mystery, with a touch of horror. Anyone who wants to see something different than a book with romance and just wants to read a super good plot. The book reads super smoothly and the writing style is really great to follow. Definitely a story worth reading.
Let's finish with one of my favorite quotes from the book:
"Safe does not mean happy, does not mean well, does not mean kind."
- V. E. Schwab, Gallant.