Gallant by V.E. Schwab was an Illumicrate book box pick for March and so I read it along with the Discord buddy read in April. The Illumicrate edition of this is absolutely *stunning*, just gotta get that out there.
Unfortunately, I didn’t find the book completely stunning. Now don’t get me wrong, the writing was absolutely gorgeous and it was a fun read. I personally didn’t have many pacing issues and I loved learning about this world Schwab created. Our orphaned main character has mutism, and communicates through sign language. As a non HOH or Deaf person I thought this was done well, but of course please go and find own voices reviewers for an actual accurate review.
The utilisation of a shadow world, one that’s the dark version of our world, is one that I love. And I’m always down for any books about death. However, this book really seemed to be lacking something. There was a significant lack of depth throughout the book. We barely learn about the orphanage and who Olivia was before she leaves the orphanage and meets the family she’s never known. We barely learn anything about said family, meaning that when there is risk abound, well we care significantly less than we should. We also barely learn about this “dark” world and the true aims of those who reside there. And her parents. We learn a fair bit about Olivia’s mum, although it also somehow doesn’t feel like a lot. But we specifically do not learn about her dad. And that leads me onto my next point.
This basically felt like a prequel book. It’s a nice novella, a prequel to a bigger series where we’ve had time to develop further at least some of these characters. This is just backstory, extra information to add to the main storytelling arc. Not a book on it’s own. Additionally the ending was far too quick. It’s like someone gave Schwab a page limit and she had to try and squeeeeze everything in there, and unfortunately she didn’t hit the mark.
On CAWPILE I rated this: Characters: 7, Atmosphere: 7, Writing: 8, Plot: 6, Intrigue: 8, Logic: 5, Enjoyment: 7, with a score of 6.86 and a 3.5* rating.
I will 100% pick up any other books that Schwab could possibly publish in a Gallant series, because I think it has so much potential. But unfortunately, as it is, unless you’re a die hard Schwab fan this one just isn’t worth the hype. (imo, obvs). Let me know, if you’ve read this, what you thought! Do you totally disagree with me and think this is the best book ever written? I’d love to hear your thoughts!