The Six — The Gateway Chronicles, Book 1
By K.B. Hoyle
Darcy Pennington hates her life. She is an insufferably average teenager with no true friends, crushing social anxiety, and an indescribable sense of not fitting in anywhere. When her parents force her to attend Cedar Cove Family Camp the summer before her eighth-grade year, Darcy once again finds herself on the outside of an established social circle. But the camp holds secrets, and when Darcy begins to have strange experiences, she comes to believe she’s either losing her mind or on the brink of a discovery that could give her life purpose. An unwitting tumble through a magical gateway lands her in a new world called Alitheia, and Darcy must convince five other teenagers at the camp to not only befriend her but follow her on a journey beyond their world and their wildest dreams to save Alitheia from an ancient, shadowy foe
Nearly ten years ago, K.B. Hoyle released the first of her Gateway Chronicles to the world, and I immediately fell in love. Through three different rounds of releases, covers, edits, I've had the pleasure of watching Hoyle's writing mature and her story expand into a vast and beautiful entity. What a pleasure it's been, being a part of the latest (and best) release of this series complete with new and vibrant covers, smoothed-out sections, and brand new material readers have never had access to before! Now, more than ever, the series feels well and truly complete.
Yet back to the beginning, my heart happily wanders.
The Six introduces a stunning cast of characters to love, an intricate plot deeply woven within each thread of the series, and powerful imagery that begins and ends with the magical gateways into Alitheia. Before they traverse worlds, however, Darcy Pennington has to learn the simplest, yet most challenging act of befriending others her age. She battles social anxiety and a sense of not belonging, something almost painfully familiar to me both as a teenage girl and a twenty-three year old woman. Her struggle with this in the first portion of the book doesn't magically disappear in Alitheia either, which I find to be an incredibly compelling and powerful move on Hoyle's part. Darcy learns to cope with this throughout the series as she's thrust into a public position of leadership and scrutiny she'd never anticipated, and it is a hallmark of her growth and maturity as the series goes on.
That said, maturity does not happen overnight, and Darcy makes several critical errors within The Six that go on to affect the rest of her life, the prophecy, and the six's journey in cataclysmic ways. And yet, as with any good hero or heroine, Darcy eventually faces her mistakes head-on and engages as an active player in her own life. She is captivating, complicated, and incredible—one of many well-rounded characters within Hoyle's canon.
Thankfully, Hoyle's characters are matched by an equally enthralling landscape within Cedar Cove (the camp that starts it all) and Alitheia. One of her most powerful strengths comes in creating scenes that practically leap off the page and surround her readers. When I read The Six, I smell sharp pine needles, see deep red fabric, feel the brush of fur that comes from being surrounded by wolves, hear phantom whispers. It's impossible to be anything but fully engaged within the scenes she lays, and it is a talent not many authors have.
I will always and forever love The Gateway Chronicles, and I wish nothing more than for you to love them just as fiercely. If you haven't read them yet, I can promise that you are missing out.
5 out of 5 Magpies