(Spoiler warning: If you haven’t read any of The Gateway Chronicles but think you might want to, grab The Six and start reading before you read this review. A number of earlier plot points will be spoiled for you otherwise!)
Darcy left part of her heart in Alitheia at the end of The Enchanted. She and Tellius had finally come to terms with the depth of their love for each other, only to be separated for an entire year – Darcy in her own world, dealing with the mundanities of school while agonizing over Tellius, who, as king of Alitheia, is constantly in danger from the evil Tselloch. Darcy can’t stop worrying about his safety, and one day, her worries intensify. Through a tiny mirror, the only magical object she has from Alitheia, Darcy sees Tellius imprisoned and tortured. How can she possibly wait months to return to rescue the man she has promised to marry?
Through loss and seeming coincidence, more secrets of Alitheia are revealed. K. B. Hoyle’s plotting is at its most intricate here: familiar prophecies take on new meanings, mysteries are unraveled, and subtleties of Alitheian magic are explored in detail. It’s clear that Hoyle thoroughly planned the entirety of The Gateway Chronicles in advance, laying the groundwork in the earlier volumes for the revelations later in the series.
The Scroll shows us Darcy at her most vulnerable. She fights to ignore the apparitions Tselloch sends of Tellius pleading to her to come to him, but also longs to see his face, even for a few seconds. She makes an impulsive decision that leads her both to a tragic loss and a new ally. She must constantly battle her desire to see her beloved king on her terms, and seek the good of Alitheia above her own.
These internal struggles, along with the prophecy of her death, strengthen Darcy’s character. By the end of the book, she is a young woman who is willing to sacrifice everything that is dear to her to save not only Alitheia, but her own world as well. Sam, Amelia, Perry, Dean, and Lewis also experience emotional challenges and substantial growth over the course of their year in Alitheia. On one level, they behave like typical American teenagers, even sometimes having to explain their slang to confused Alitheians to great comedic effect, but at the same time, they have gone through stresses and tragedies very few teenagers could imagine. Their compassion and courage moved me to tears several times.
K. B. Hoyle has woven another compelling tale that is impossible to put down. Like the other books in The Gateway Chronicles, I finished The Scroll in one day. The wait – of only a few weeks! – to read The Bone Whistle was excruciating, because The Scroll ends in chaos and terror and heartbreak. Reader, have your copy of The Bone Whistle available to start reading as soon as you finish the last page of The Scroll – I promise you’ll thank me! You may not sleep until you finish the series, but it’ll be worth it.