Escape Velocity

A curated Collection of Fantasy and Science Fiction Media

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Olivia Prior is an orphan who has grown up at Merilance School for Girls where, from a young age, she has been able to see ghouls that no one else can see. Suddenly, Olivia receives a letter calling her home to Gallant, a large mansion inhabited only by her dour cousin Matthew, and his staff. But her new home is not all it seems. Still, not even ghouls and shadows can keep Olivia from trying to find out where she came from.

I listened to the audiobook for Gallant, read by Julian Rhind-Tutt. The narration for this book was really good. I feel like audiobooks often work best if the narrator is similar in age/gender to the main character, but I really liked the narration by Rhind-Tutt. Gallant is almost like a fairy tale, and the style of narration brought that out beautifully.

The novel reminded me a bit of Coraline by Neil Gaiman. Not just because it is the story of a young girl discovering the secrets of her new home, but also in the general vibe, if that makes sense. The book is wonderfully atmospheric and a little bit spooky.

I wasn’t fully won over by Gallant, however. The first reason is that it’s just not quite spooky enough. The book deals with some scary themes, but it doesn’t really make my skin crawl like Coraline does, for instance. I really feel like this book should have been scarier. The second reason is that the characters never really get fleshed out like I would have wanted them to be. We only really get a sense of who Olivia is, but Matthew, Hannah and Edgar are never really developed in a satisfying way.

Overall I would have enjoyed it more if these two issues had been addressed, but Gallant was still an enjoyable read. I think this book is really good for a younger audience wanting to read a spooky book that never really gets too scary.

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