The Bone Whistle is the stirring conclusion to K. B. Hoyle’s Gateway Chronicles series. The final volume is full of deep love, heartbreak, magic, and sacrifice. The prophecies are finally explained and, even in ways unexpected, fulfilled.
Darcy has been in agony for the year since she left Alitheia. She and Tellius were separated immediately after their wedding by Tselloch’s brutal attack, and she doesn’t know if her husband survived. Darcy is mentally and emotionally years older than her physical age of 18 after spending a year in another world every summer for the past five years, but still must suffer through her last year of high school. And if that wasn’t enough, her family thinks she has a serious mental disorder, and almost succeeds in preventing her return to her beloved world. Once Darcy finally does arrive in back in Alitheia, giant memory gaps from her last hours in her world plague her for months.
(Spoilers ahead! Stop here if you have not yet read The Bone Whistle.)
Darcy’s marriage to Tellius is the thread that holds this story together. Tellius’s intense love for his wife threatens to blind him to Alitheia’s greater needs, and Darcy struggles between frustration with his over-protective tendencies, compassion for his agony over losing her, grief about her upcoming death, and the undergirding certainty that their desires must be sacrificed for the good of the world.
The believable portrayal of a passionate, loving marriage is a feat not often attempted, much less achieved, in young adult literature. Books for teenagers often depict young love in all its spine-tingling, all-consuming beauty, but marriage in most of these stories is either far in the future, unattainable, or not desired. But in The Bone Whistle, after five books of hints and short scenes and anticipation, readers finally get a giant dollop of romance – after the wedding, instead of making a fairy-tale wedding the reward at the end of the story. Hoyle works magic deep into the nature of Alitheian marriage itself, showing that Darcy and Tellius are better able to serve their realm and each other united than they would be apart.
I did not expect to be so moved by Tellius’s fury and love. Every time he raged about his wife’s danger or possible death, I rejoiced to finally find a fictional man written with so much rightly-directed passion, tenderness, and relatable human weakness. I didn’t realize how starved I was for romantic portrayals of marriage within this framework. Hoyle manages to convey passion and depth of feeling between Darcy and Tellius without veering into overly titillating description, a balance few authors can achieve. Instead of drawing my emotions toward a fictional character, Hoyle’s portrayal of Tellius led me to love my husband more for the ways in which both he and Tellius reflect the character of God.
Of course, there is much more to The Bone Whistle than just the story of a marriage. Darcy, Sam, Amelia, Perry, Lewis, and Dean must discover the part they each must play to finally defeat Tselloch and close his gateways. As they search Alitheia for the final piece of the prophecy, the abilities they each received when they first arrived as young teenagers come to full flower. Hoyle’s brilliant plotting throughout the series finally pays off: all the mysteries are revealed, and seemingly tragic choices are shown to have a redemptive purpose.
K. B. Hoyle is the rare Christian author who can weave biblical principles – and even quotations from Scripture – into a fantasy story with a light hand. Christian readers will recognize the hints she has given, but readers of different faiths or without faith can enjoy the story without feeling preached at. Hoyle shows wisdom and folly, love and hate, courage and fear through action, and gives her characters space to grow in virtue by learning from their mistakes. The Gateway Chronicles shapes the minds and hearts of readers by immersing them in a story.
I can’t stress enough how much of a gift these books have been to me. Each new volume in The Gateway Chronicles took me away to a land of adventure, while still pointing my heart to the good, true, and beautiful. I can’t wait to read them to my son, and to give them to my friends to enjoy with their families. If you’re still not convinced, read my reviews of The Six, The Oracle, The White Thread, The Enchanted, and The Scroll, and then pick up your copies on Amazon (links below). I’d love to discuss them with you when you’ve read each one! Sharing books increases our enjoyment of them.
Thank you, K. B. Hoyle, for writing these stories. You have made the world a richer place with your words.
Amazon links for The Gateway Chronicles: