Title: Gabriel and the Swallows
Author: Esther Dalseno
Publication Date: March 2016
Publisher: OfTomes Publishing
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 a 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 the 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.
This book was provided by the publisher for an honest review. Let me just say that I have been in the worst reading slump lately. Every book I look at seems unappealing and every book I pick up holds no interest for me. That is why it took me so long to read this book. I would pick up my iPad, read a few pages and then put it down and end up on Youtube. That being said I think taking my time with this book is what helped me process it, because honestly I don’t even have words to describe the way I feel. The first half of this book I wasn’t as connected to the characters as I wanted to be and it wasn’t until they hit adulthood that I really truly cared what happened to them. I think that was mainly in part to the way these characters acted as children. Gabriel the main character is bullied at school for being poor, having a handicap mother, etc. The main person to bully Gabriel is Darlo Gallo, the daughter of the man Alfio Gallo, who wants to buy Gabriel’s family’s vineyard. This girl was such a B and while you sorta got hints as to why she did what she did to Gabriel. I didn’t start liking her until she was older. She actually becomes a decent person who I ended up really liking. But because as kids she bullies Gabriel so badly he finds an escape through his dreams. I can totally relate to this. As a kid I didn’t have a lot of friends after I moved, and my daydreams became a way for me to get away and imagine the life I wanted. I thought Esther did a really amazing job of making you feel the pain of these characters. Although I didn’t agree with the way Gabriel handles certain situations, I definitely understood why he did what he did. I also thought it was really interesting the way that Esther wrote this story. Because you start with Gabriel at a young age and continue until he gets married. Which sounds like it could get a bit boring, and at times I found myself wanting to get through a certain story, they were definitely few and far between. And the parts that held my attention, really held my attention. I found myself wanting to know more about Volatile and who she was. Why she could do what she does. Who are her people. There are so many questions that were left unanswered. One thing I wish, was that there was more of a build between Volatile and Gabriel. I wanted to see them connect more because for me I didn’t feel it. It may have also been my prediction at the beginning that Gabriel and Darlo were going to get married. So maybe I was just rooting for that to happen. Although there were a few times I wanted to just hit Darlo. She redeemed herself in the end.
To be honest I did not see what happened to Volatile coming. It was a very sad moment, but I wasn’t as invested in her as I was in Gabriel. I wanted him to be happy and I just didn’t think he would be with Volatile . One thing that I loved that Esther did was the way she wrote Gabriel. Was he always my favorite? No. But in the story Orlando tells Gabriel, as adults, that he always needs someone to protect him and I liked that. Not many times do you see male characters portrayed as needing a female to come and save him. It was definitely an adjustment getting used to that kind of male lead. I liked it. I liked that kind of twist on characters. And while Gabriel definitely grew up and started acting like an adult, he still needed someone to protect him. And who better than Darlo. Who by the way after her childhood and being gone for a bit, came back and just kind of was a decent person. She took care of Gabriel’s father, and even Gabriel himself. Even if he didn’t want it. Esther has this really interesting way of writing, I find myself being drawn in to the story, even when the characters are being brats (looking at you Darlo). But I just think that was such an interesting story and not one I had heard before. I do hope that the second one answers more questions, because this one left me wanting. I need to find out certain things. Mostly just about Volatile and her people. Overall I think this story was really interesting read. Something I didn’t expect and something that had me thinking about it days later. This one comes out this month. So definitely pick it up when you get the chance.
I rated this one 4 stars.
Until next time!