Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Gabriel and the Swallows by Esther Dalseno

Series: The Volatile Duology, #1

Publication: 10th March 2016 by OfTomes Publishing

Goodreads description:
A lonely farm boy.
A girl with swallow’s wings.
An ancient city buried in a volcano.
A mystery old as blood and bone.

There is more to Gabriel than the life he’s ashamed of – the son of peasant winemakers, bullied relentlessly on account of his disabled mother. For Gabriel has a secret: the elaborate dream world he descends into at night – a grandiose, vivid existence – is becoming more real than his waking life.

Everything changes for Gabriel when he rescues a wounded creature – a miraculous girl with swallow’s wings – from the voracious pursuit of Alfio Gallo, a dangerous old enemy. Aided by the beautiful and mysterious Orlando Khan, Gabriel is conflicted by unanswered questions: who is the Dark One that dwells in the medieval tunnels beneath their city? Is he just a figment of Gabriel’s powerful imagination? And is the foundling really who she says she is?

Wrestling with manhood whilst beckoned by ancient rites and foreign lands, Gabriel is about to make a deadly decision that changes the course of life as he knows it…as long as he can decide which reality he’s in.

My spoiler free thoughts:
Gabriel and the Swallows is a wonderfully unique story that completely blew me away.

Firstly can we just take a second to appreciate the absolutely stunning cover of this book. It has this magical and mysterious tone to it that matches the story so well.

Gabriel and the Swallows is a short but stunning story. Esther Dalseno's writing is beautiful. I want to read all her books now. She has an incredible talent of weaving words together so that they flow nicely while creating vivid images. Her picturesque style is so unique. The writing keeps the reader reading. I found that the short chapters pushed me to keep reading until the book was all gone.

I will admit it was a bit jarring in the beginning and it took me a few chapters to get into the story because I haven't read anything like it before. I have no idea what genre Gabriel and the Swallows fits into. It's an incredibly unique story. Is it magical realism?fantasy? historical fiction? Paranormal? Romance? YA? NA? I don't know and I love that. It's a story that has a bit of everything.

Gabriel is introduced as a lonely boy who's something of an outcast in this small town. This makes him a very easy character to relate to because everyone has felt lonely at one stage in their life. I loved how the story took place over many years. It was a joy to watch Gabriel grow up. His character development was perfectly paced and well done.

As Gabriel and Volatile grew older i began to like Volatile more. We spend a good bit of time with her and yet there is still so much we don't know. She's a mystery.

I loved the setting of the small town of Orvieto. The descriptions made me feel like I was there. I had clear pictures of what the vineyards looked like.

I didn't know that this was the first book in a duology. Dalseno wrapped everything up so nicely it could easily be read as a stand-alone. I'm still very interested to see what happens in the next book though. I can't wait to see what's in store for Gabriel next.

My rating: 4 stars

*I'd like to thank Oftomes Publishing for sending me an ARC of Gabriel and the Swallows in exchange for an honest review*

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