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Gallant by the Schwab is one of my favorite reads so far of 2022. It’s so spooky and ethereal, and I just love the main character so much. She’s full of spunk and determination and the whole story is just, well, please read it. It’s great. It's so great that I may have gone overboard on the number of editions I purchased.
I shall begin with the standard US edition. Not many standard editions are as fabulous as this one; it has a lovely, textured dust jacket with shiny details accentuating the author name, book title, and dual houses on the front that really gives a pop to the design and catches the eye. The wrap is nothing special; it’s a standard, dual color, paper wrap with an embossing on the front in the pattern of the Greenwillow Press logo. The end papers, though, they’re the crowning feature of this edition. I was surprised that the standard edition has art on the end papers, and I was impressed with it as well. The edges aren’t spiffied or anything, but that’s just how it is. They do make a wonderful, blank canvas for a custom edge job, though. Just the standard edition is pretty nicey nice.
The OwlCrate edition, not signed (but came with a pretty snazzy book plate, which I will NOT be sticking in the book), has the same cover aspects and art as the standard edition but is black and white with all shades of gray for the art. The lettering is gold—and the same shiny stuff as the standard edition—and gives such a contrast and element of color. I could not believe how much I loved it. The digital mock up did not do it justice. As a bonus, there is embossing on the cover wrap in an elaborate design and it’s gold foil! I love foil. The edges are also a lovely, light-absorbing matte black. They actually complement the edition well. I think a pattern on them would have taken away from the element of atmospheric horror the dark colors give to the copy. And they seem to be so matte that they look like negative space, like when Olivia steps into the other realm in the book. Very spooky. The end papers on this one were supposed to be different from the standard ones, a fact OwlCrate realized after they got them back from the publisher—and it was due to publisher error, but I find I prefer the art on the original, standard end papers to the intended art. I like that I have that art on prints instead. I don’t mind the mistake at all.
On to my UK editions, first up is the Forbidden Planet edition. It has the standard UK end papers, which are magnificent. Glorious. Very del Toro and Crimson Peak with some Hell Boy colors. They are my absolute favorite end papers. The cover is the standard UK design, which I think is great and does not need changing, as it really only has unique edges and a tip-in signature page. I bought it primarily because I like the design on the fore-edge and it would be signed. I like the edges, but I wish they were stenciled on all three edges and not just the fore-edge. That was a bit disappointing when I opened the package, but the signature and end papers were so awesome, I don't mind the single edge stenciling at all. It does have different embossing on the wrap than my other UK editions; it has a singular Gallant house instead of the dual Gallant pattern; it’s black, shiny foil and matches the black lettering on the spine.
Like the Forbidden Planet copy, the Waterstones exclusive has the standard UK dust jacket, stenciled edges, and a tip-in signature page. The stenciled edges are red with a white pattern from the cover, and the stenciling is on all three sides, which I love. The only drawback to the edges is the color; it’s not quite dark enough and the black pages from the book show through, distracting from the patterning. The endpapers for this copy are exclusive to Waterstones, and they are lovely, though I prefer the standard endpapers. This edition also has cool red foil embossing on the wrap and matching red foil on the spine. The pattern on the front cover is a dual Gallant, with the word “Gallant” in the middle and the circular patterns from the US cover surrounding the houses.
I’m pretty disappointed with the illumicrate edition. Not counting the bizarre fact that it’s not signed, and everyone else’s copy is (even OwlCrate got a book plate at least), the “exclusive cover” that illumicrate touted in the description is just a mish mash of other part of other exclusive aspects of other editions. I understand the nuance of the term “exclusive” as it relates to the book world, as that cover is only available on a certain bookseller’s version of the book, but the fact that pieces of the Forbidden Planet and Waterstones end papers have been included on the illumicrate cover makes that version not so unique in my mind. As a plus, the edges are digitally printed instead of stenciled and feature on all three edges. The end papers are unique to the edition, though I don’t like them as much as the standard UK end papers. The art doesn’t feel like it matches the aesthetic of the book, and looks to me very much like it should be on A Series of Unfortunate Events. Overall, the edition is not terrible; it’s just not extraordinary. I think perhaps January illumicrate book took the cake for all the rest of their 2022 books altogether. I wish they had put as much into this book as that one. It would have been stellar.
I will also be getting the Book(ish) Box edition of Gallant. When it does finally come in in July sometime, I will add some pics and an evaluation of it to the end of this article and republish. As it is, with what I currently have, my favorite edition(s) are a toss-up right now. I like that Waterstones did the stenciling on all three edges, but the black edges on the Forbidden Planet edition look nicer with the color on the page edges not showing through. If all three edges were stenciled on the FP edition, it would be solidly my favorite.