Gallant by V. E. Schwab
Read before: No
Ownership: Proof copy provided by the publisher. Also got an Illumicrate copy with the subscription box I have.
Disclaimer: Receiving a review copy from the publisher does not affect my opinion of the book. If you think I review it highly it is due to me knowing my taste well and therefore not requesting books I won’t enjoy. And I am not obligated to review the book if I do not like it, so you may not see bad reviews due to me preferring not to hype down a particular book. I only do reviews of books I disagreed with if I think it is worth bringing a topic or warning to light.
Creepy sentient houses and slightly gothic vibes? That sounds right up my street particularly since I loved Mexican Gothic. Now, I admit after reading Adie LaRue and not loving it, I had decided to not go into Gallant with high expectations. This was a good decision, however, I still had skewed ideas of what the book was aiming to do and that did mean I enjoy it less than I might have.
My overall review is that Schwab is now in comfortable quotable prose that writes beautiful phrases in almost every sentence and therefore is very good for selling to fandom and making fandom items of it. However, to me, this means the plot is sacrificed slightly for the aesthetic feel. This isn’t exactly a bad thing but I prefer less pretty words and more story.
Now that that is out of the way, Gallant has a mute orphan at the centre of it, one who longs for a place to call home and then, presto, suddenly the chance appears with an odd letter to invite her to Gallant, her family home. Now this is particularly odd but you don’t look a gifted horse in the teeth and you do not complain. But the house is spooky and there appears to be a second house, like a mirror but dark and spooky and beyond the veil kinda thing. And of course, we have the brooding family counterparts, the loyal servants and the heroine, alongside the characters in the alternative house. All pretty good for a gothic vibe, and yet it felt a little flat on gothic.
If you are not expecting as many gothic vibes it is an interesting introduction to the vibes of it and a fun quick read that has an interesting cast of characters. One thing is that once again we see Death as part of the plot and the longing to find a home and a place to belong when you don’t feel like you do, which is characteristic of Schwab. However, there is less about who makes a monster and more about finding out who the parents are and why they abandoned her.
Overall a quick read with beautiful quotes and phrases and a spooky slightly gothic vibe that will scratch a quick read itch.