By K.B. Hoyle
Living each year twice—once in her world and once in Alitheia—has made Darcy Pennington into someone who cares little for normal teenage activities. She has more important things to do, like save Alitheia from darkness and destruction. But this time, Darcy can’t save Alitheia until she saves Tellius, the love of her life. A window between the worlds allows Darcy to see Tellius from her home in Chicago. But far from being reassured, she plunges into despair when she sees Tellius captured, imprisoned, and tortured. All her plans for her future life are put on hold as Darcy faces a singular goal: save Tellius, even if it means giving Tselloch something in return. Old friends tell new lies, best friends hide crucial secrets, deceptive apparitions roam the halls, and betrayal lingers around every corner. If only the Six could unveil the scroll, they might learn the greatest secret of all, before everything burns to ashes around them.
“Fight the despair. There is always hope.” Though these words don’t come until the very end of The Scroll, they are desperately needed to make it through this tumultuous, active, and darkly romantic installment of The Gateway Chronicles. The shadow of evil that plagues K.B. Hoyle’s beautifully constructed world of Alitheia is more prevalent than ever as we see our favorite hero, Tellius, captured within the first three chapters and Darcy left helpless to stop it in a world to which she no longer belongs. Never before have the characters felt the burden of their dual-lives so much as in The Scroll, and it is equal parts gut-wrenching and joyful as we cheer Darcy on to her eventual role as Queen of Alitheia while questioning what that means for “our world” she may leave behind, and the roles her friends have played thus far.
After a total of nine years spent together bearing the knowledge and burdens of Alitheia, the Six come together in a way they’ve never quite managed before. The bonds of their friendship are well-established and any kinks, odd-crushes, and rivalries are things of the past. Using this bond allows them all to fully realize their individual talents while working to encourage one another, even when that encouragement comes in the form of correction when old faults or character flaws rears their ugly heads. Trust is paramount to not only their survival, but their ultimate victory.
Despite the turbulent nature of The Scroll, Hoyle invests time and ink into some truly thrilling new characters and developments. At last, the readers acquire further insight into Nark history and society while gaining a new, daring, and wildly passionate Nark along the way. Golden promises come to fruition in an overdue and tear-jerking display (seriously tear-jerking. As in tears were actually jerked from my eyes). Magic is studied, explored, and worked in thrilling new ways and even leading lady, Darcy Pennington, proves to have a few surprises hidden up her sleeves. These are incredibly bright moments, yet they are followed by material that is decidedly grim.
As readers, we must trust the promise of the author that the story does not end with this book. Of all The Gateway Chronicles thus far, The Scroll is the first novel that truly left me uneasy at its finale, uncertain of what the future might hold. Hoyle has crafted an intricate story thus far that is true, beautiful, and good despite or perhaps because of the prophecies, objects of importance, fate-altering mistakes, oracles, and multiple possibilities the future may hold. Never before have the stakes been so high, the consequences so great should they fail, and though there is tremendous momentum with the plot in this novel, it is truly impossible to predict the path she may take to the very end.
So fight the despair as you read through The Scroll, dear readers, and remember there is always hope.
10 out of 10 Magpies