Darcy Pennington has spent the past year agonizing about the consequences of a self-centered, unconsidered choice. She returns to Alitheia with one thing on her mind: to make things right. She expects to be thwarted by her mentors and friends, but to her surprise, the desperate, solitary journey she imagined becomes a quest undertaken with almost everyone she cares about. And if they are successful, not only will Darcy have a chance to rescue a prisoner, but The Six may also learn more about how to ultimately defeat the evil Tselloch.

Things are looking up for Darcy personally, too. Perry has finally started to pay attention to her, and the old awkwardness with Tellius, the boy she may or may not be destined to marry, has dissipated. She wants to enjoy her first romantic relationship, but as she learns over and over in Alitheia, indulging her own desires without considering the needs of others often leads to pain and regret.

Not many writers portray teenage angst like K. B. Hoyle. Somehow, her characters remain relatable – even likable! – in the midst of awkward situations. As Darcy and her friends mature, they each face different challenges, like jealousy, insensitivity, bitterness, and lack of foresight. Hoyle deftly weaves the personal growth, friendships, and romantic entanglements of The Six through a story full of adventure and peril.

As The Six and the Alitheians embark on their rescue journey, more secrets from Alitheia’s past are brought to light. Cryptic prophecies from The Oracle, damaged tapestries, and mysterious magical objects begin to hint at meaning not just for their current quest, but possibly for the years to come. Hoyle excels here, too, rewarding the observant reader by adding significance to events from previous books, and presenting new riddles for us to puzzle over. Her masterful plotting makes every installment in The Gateway Chronicles ripe for re-reading.

And did I mention the romance? We got a few tantalizing tastes in The Oracle, but in The White Thread, an exquisite slow-burn begins in earnest. Growing attraction and comfort are mixed with misunderstanding and frustration to form a heady brew of romantic possibility. The Six and The Oracle drew me in with action, danger, and mystery, and The White Thread added just the right dose of romance to an already-gripping story.

Add in the suspense of the last few pages, and The White Thread has left me longing to return to the saga like no series since Harry Potter. It also doesn’t hurt that this tale is mostly set at sea; C. S. Lewis drew me in to the magic of ships and islands with The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and ocean stories have held a special place in my imagination ever since.

If, like me, you’re dying to dive back in to Alitheia with Darcy and her friends, you can buy The White Thread here. Then you can join me in waiting with extreme impatience for The Enchanted and the rest of The Gateway Chronicles, to be released later this summer!

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