The cover and the summary made me want to read this novel. But all that didn´t prepare me for the reading impact, this story gives you. Dark, with a lot of pain and hope. The combination of all those is perfectly brought to life in this thrilling novel. The beauty of nature is as visible as the darkness of life, the good and the bad – the author sensitively shows all that with a hint of cruelty. Well, expect everything. 

Gallant-Im Garten Der Schatten*
by V. E. Schwab
Translation Sara Riffel, Petra Huber
Original Title Gallant
Publisher Fischer Tor on March 29, 2023
Genre Fantasy
Pages 347
Format Hardcover
Source Publisher

Olivia Prior cannot speak. Her life at the Merilance School for Orphans and fallen girls is anything but easy. The only thing that gives her comfort is her missing mother's green diary, which is full of riddles and strange drawings and gives her at least a glimpse of hope that one day she will find her again. When a letter arrives from Olivia's uncle inviting her to "Gallant," the old ancestral home of her family, she immediately sets out on a journey to the remote manor house. Little does she know that Gallant is a place where something unbelievably dark awaits her. And that, like her mother, she is well on the way to being lost to the world.
Olivia wants nothing more but to find her mother, a home, but most of all a family which cares about her. Because life at Merilance isn´t the life she´s dreaming about. The letter from her uncle seems to be the gate to that. But Gallant is anything but a happy life. It is dark and cruel, and someone there doesn´t want her to be there at all.

The author has used delightful puns here, with excellent word choice and intriguing terminology, making this novel a unique reading experience. Gallant is a dark tale of beauty and tragedy, yet with a touch of light.

I especially liked the main character, Olivia. The way she looks at the world, her views, and the way she makes herself feel around her are simply wonderful.

In this story, the author plays with the character and physical contrasts of her characters excellently. Nothing is left to chance; nothing is presented to the reader without thought. Everything is spot on, but it's still not perfect. And that's exactly why it's perfectly worked out.

Olivia is mute and yet speaks volumes. Her mind is razor-sharp and she knows how to defend herself without attracting too much attention. She hates injustice, but she is only too aware that life is never fair.

A beautiful, poignant novel that inspires with a strong main character and a very dark plot. A must for fans of V.E. Schwab. For all those who don't know the author yet, this is an excellent introduction to reading to change that.

Happy reading

*This book was kindly provided to me by Fischer Tor in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Thank you.

Deutsche Rezension

Die Autorin hat hier herrliche Wortspiele mit großartiger Wortwahl und faszinierenden Begrifflichkeiten verwendet, die diesen Roman zu einem einzigartigen Leseerlebnis machen. Gallant ist eine dunkle Geschichte voller Schönheit und Tragik, die dennoch einen Hauch Licht in sich trägt.

Mir hat vor allem die Hauptfigur Olivia sehr gefallen. Die Art, wie sie die Welt betrachtet, ihre Ansichten und wie sie sich ihrem Umfeld bemerkbar macht, sind einfach wunderbar.

In dieser Geschichte spielt die Autorin mit den charakterlichen und äußerlichen Gegensätzen ihrer Figuren auf hervorragende Weise. Da wird nichts dem Zufall überlassen, nichts unüberlegt dem Leser vorgetragen. Alles sitzt auf den Punkt und trotzdem ist es nicht perfekt. Und gerade darum perfekt ausgearbeitet.

Olivia ist stumm und spricht doch Bände. Ihr Verstand ist messerscharf und sie weiß sich zu wehren, ohne groß aufzufallen. Ungerechtigkeiten sind ihr ein Gräuel, aber dass es im Leben nie gerecht zugeht, ist ihr nur zu bewusst.

Ein wunderschöner, ergreifender Roman, der mit einer starken Hauptfigur und einem sehr dunklen Plot begeistert. Für Fans von V. E. Schwab ein Muss. Für all diejenigen, die die Autorin noch nicht kennen, ein hervorragender Leseeinstieg, um dies zu ändern.

Victoria Schwab
Victoria Schwab ©Jenna Maurice

Victoria (V.E.) Schwab is the author of the »World Walker« trilogy and the New York Times bestseller series »Vicious & Vengeful«. Born in 1987 she is the product of a British mother, a Beverly Hills father, and a southern upbringing. Schwab has a penchant for tea and BBC shows, and a serious and well-documented case of insatiable wanderlust. When she's not wandering the streets of Paris or climbing any hill in England, she's sitting in the back of a café, spinning on her stories.


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