I will always remember this summer when I think about The Gateway Chronicles. I lost myself in each book, usually while discouraged and in pain, because the stories took me away from my circumstances and into a land of magic, beauty, and adventure. In particular, I read The Enchanted the day after my most recent surgery. The world of Alitheia felt more real to me that day than the world of scars, painkillers, and ice packs. To me, that is the mark of a great story: the power to make everything fade except the need to know what happens next.
My remaining reviews will come with a spoiler warning. Several books end with cliffhangers, and I would be unable to discuss major aspects of the books that follow without ruining those surprises, so: reader, beware! Don’t read any further if you don’t want to be spoiled on The Enchanted.
In the fourth installment in The Gateway Chronicles, young love, insecurity, and misunderstanding play out against a backdrop of ever-rising stakes. The Six – Darcy, Sam, Amelia, Perry, Lewis, and Dean – must grapple with the dynamics of broken or confusing romantic relationships as they continue their quest to defeat the evil Tselloch and close the dark gateways that allow his minions to infiltrate Alitheia.
After years of resentment, Darcy is realizing that she may indeed have feelings for Tellius, the prince of Alitheia whom she is prophesied to one day marry. Amid tragedy, the two begin to open up to each other, only for the doors to slam shut between them after a well-intentioned but ill-advised decision. The quest Darcy undertook several years before to find a way out of a future marriage to Tellius adds to her angst: what a waste of time and lives, when now she may not want to get out of the marriage after all!
But was it a waste? Rubidius, the brilliant old magician who mentors Darcy and her friends, thinks otherwise. His theories lead the group on another quest across Alitheia, this time to gather information on how to close Tselloch’s gateways. The task has double urgency for Darcy and her five companions: Colin Mackaby, also from their world, has joined Tselloch to create a gateway between Tselloch’s dark world and their own. If Darcy and her friends cannot defeat him, Tselloch will eventually control not just Alitheia, but the world of Cedar Cove Camp, their homes, and their families.
The Enchanted is full of beauty, romance, and friendship. As the teenage protagonists face unthinkable danger and loss, wisdom begins to replace their recklessness, their insecurities diminish, and their empathy grows. Hoyle portrays realistic teenage interactions as deftly as she describes stunning landscapes. In each case, the reader becomes a part of the story: loving the characters as if they were real, and experiencing the land of Alitheia through their wondering eyes.
K. B. Hoyle’s storytelling captured my imagination once again in The Enchanted. Minor plot points from earlier books gain significance, and long-held secrets are revealed. Some fantasy sagas have left me wondering how the author will tie all the pieces together, but not The Gateway Chronicles. The deepest mysteries of Alitheia remain hidden, but The Six continue to get closer to the meanings of all the oracles and prophecies. Just as each departure from Alitheia gets harder for Darcy, finishing each of these books becomes more difficult for me, because I don’t want to leave the story and the characters behind.
I’m sad that there are only two books left, but I won’t wait long after finishing the final story to go right back through and enjoy the series all over again, slowly this time, to savor every detail.