by Victoria Schwab
Everything casts a shadow. Even the world we live in. And as with every shadow, there is a place where it must touch. A seam, where the shadow meets its source.
Olivia Prior has grown up in Merilance School for girls, and all she has of her past is her mother’s journal—which seems to unravel into madness. Then, a letter invites Olivia to come home—to Gallant. Yet when Olivia arrives, no one is expecting her. But Olivia is not about to leave the first place that feels like home, it doesn’t matter if her cousin Matthew is hostile or if she sees half-formed ghouls haunting the hallways.
Olivia knows that Gallant is hiding secrets, and she is determined to uncover them. When she crosses a ruined wall at just the right moment, Olivia finds herself in a place that is Gallant—but not. The manor is crumbling, the ghouls are solid, and a mysterious figure rules over all. Now Olivia sees what has unraveled generations of her family, and where her father may have come from.
Olivia has always wanted to belong somewhere, but will she take her place as a Prior, protecting our world against the Master of the House? Or will she take her place beside him?
A hauntingly beautiful story wrapped up with ghouls and shady pasts.
After a slightly slow start, this story will sweep you away. I was completely and utterly captivated by the way Schwab spins this fairytale. It is full of spooky settings that ccasionally had me switching on my light at night. This story is sad and will have you wanting to adopt all the kids who have no homes. At least, it did for me. Olivia is speech impaired, and I am here for all of the books with disabilites being represented. This story also makes me want to learn sign language. Olivia struggles to fit in because she is unable to communicate with anyone. Noone deems her worthy enough to try to learn sign language. It is very sad, and I definitely felt a connection with little Olivia immediately. The poor dear, I just wanted to take her in and love her.
Once she receives the letter from her Uncle, and arrives onto the Gallant property the story takes off into a creepy mystery that will have you turning the pages as quickly as you can. I was fascinated by her cousin Matthew’s attitude towards her, and why he would want her to leave. As the mystery unfolds I was shocked and intrigued by the being kept beyond the wall. There were a few twists that I thought I had figured out, only to find I was wrong. I love a story that keeps you guessing, and this one did not disappoint. Schwab is a master story teller. Her writing is magical, and the way she spins a story brings it to life around you.
I do feel that you would need to enjoy middle grade stories to really appreciate this fully. It is classified as YA, however, as an avid middle grade reader, this seems more middle grade. That being said, I obviously loved it giving it 5 STARS. However, the complexity of the ending is not as deep as her YA/Adult endings are. I is a relatively fast ending, but in no way do I think it takes away from the overall story.
Genre Young Adult, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Victoria is the product of a British mother, a Beverly Hills father, and a southern upbringing. Because of this, she has been known to say “tom-ah-toes,” “like,” and “y’all.”
She also tells stories.
She loves fairy tales, and folklore, and stories that make her wonder if the world is really as it seems.