Gabriel and the Swallows by Esther Dalseno

Rating Score: 11/10

Author: Esther Dalseno
Pub date: March 2016
Genre:Fantasy, YA, Romance 

Synopsis- 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.


I don't know where to start, this novel was Breathtaking. From the first page to the very last I was staring at the pages in so much awe. 

When I got to about 85%-100% I was crying pretty much the whole time. I was even DM-ing Esther Dalseno . . . whether she liked my little commentary with a lot of crying emojis, I don't know. But I had to let her know how I was feeling. And I want her to know now that, this novel is by far my FAVORITE 2016 read and this will be my go-to novel for everything. 
I loved Esther's writing style in this book--like I did for Drown--but this was written so beautifully. 

I don't want to give away ANY spoilers since Gabriel and the Swallows isn't OFFICIALLY out yet, but I will put as much as I can with no spoilers. 

If you HAVE read GATS go DM me on twitter so we can fangirl/fanboy (aka cry together), I would love to hear your thoughts. 

Characters:  For one, Volatile was by far the best character ever. I am in LOVE with her character, and she is definition of perfect. She was so delicate, but also very dangerous. I really enjoyed being able to watch not only Gabriel grow up but Volatile, even if she wasn't in it as much as I'd wish. 
But out of all the characters Volatile was the best. 
Then there's the Main Character, Gabriel. 
Gabriel was pretty much a loner all his life, until he saved none other than the girl with swallows wings. Then he finally had someone to talk to, even if she didn't do much talking to him. (at first). I liked the end-of-the-book Gabriel the best, and this part brings in my other favorite Orlando Khan. Orlando was Gabriel's best friend. Protector if you'd like to say, and at the end he said something. 

Read highlighted section if you've read: 
"You being involved in all this," he held his hands up and stretched them wide, "it's all kinds of wrong. It's like you've always been the anti-hero in a story that was never about you to begin with. Oh, you have the looks of a hero--the height, the build, the face. Some might even say you have the air of a storybook hero, if they didn't know you at all."

I really liked this part of the novel, I loved what Orlando had said also. And in a way . . . it's kind of true. 

Back to characters, here is the one I HATED, Mariko. 
I just did not like her character. I hated Darlo even more . . . but something changed a bit towards the end. ;)
Mariko, to me, seemed so stuck up. I didn't like it. 

Darlo did too, as a child. But people really do change, some for better other's for worse. But they do change. 
We can't leave out mama and papa! Even if Gabriel's mother had an issue, it's not like it's her fault or that anyone should hate her for it. But they did, it's what people do. 
I think the mother was a really strong character, and Gabriel's father was the strongest out of all of them, in my opinion. 
Esther did such a wonderful job creating these characters and making them all so different in amazing ways. 

Setting:  my favorite place was the dream Orvieto, obviously. But there were so many different places in this novel. I think all the places were written perfectly, and some places were really cool but I won't mention them for spoiler reasons. But I can definitely say there is a really really awesome place ;) 

I really hope you all read Gabriel and the Swallows and LOVE it as much as me. I love everything about this book, even the parts that made me cry for a while. I want to tell you all of the parts I loved so much but I don't want to spoil anything so I'll just end it here!

This novel is a beautiful story of love, and I can't wait to read a lot more of Esther's writing. 

Thank you Oftomes for sending me a digital copy before release, and thank you Esther for being so amazing and for writing this wonderful story! 

About the Author:


Esther Dalseno was born to a Malaysian mother and an Italian father in Australia. After living in both Portland, Oregon and Sydney, New South Wales, she headed off to see the world.

Writing and teaching, she has lived in Laos, Vietnam and South Korea and has traveled the world extensively, from Johannesburg to Bangkok to Barcelona.

She now lives in Berlin with her husband, daughter, and Pekingese dog, all acquired in different countries. She has no plans yet to return to Australia.

Esther loves museums, festivals, live music and can often be seen ambling about the graffiti-strewn streets of Berlin’s inner city.
began her publishing career with the short Totoro’s Garden in the acclaimed short story collection, We All Need a Witness, published by Macmillan.
Her debut novel Drown was published in 2015. Her second novel, Gabriel and the Swallows will be released in March 2016.

Click HERE to visit Esther's author website
and, click HERE to visit ofTomes' website to read more amazing novels!


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