This is a blog post that was written and originally published by Olivia Ard over at Miscellany, but it was so great, I just had to copy and share it over here! Enjoy! And let me know what you think in the comments. :)
If you are friends with me on Facebook, know me in real life, or are somehow unfortunate enough to fall into both categories, you have probably been subjected to one of my evangelical rants about how you should read The Gateway Chronicles by K. B. Hoyle. Maybe you’re wondering what all the fuss is about, or maybe you’re wondering why you should pick up a series that was written for a fairly young audience. Either way, this is the right place to be!
The Gateway Chronicles tells the story of six teenagers – Darcy, Samantha, Amelia, Lewis, Perry, and Dean – who stumble into the magical kingdom of Alitheia while vacationing at a summer camp in Upper Michigan. Once there, they learn that they are the prophesied Six, a special group that will help rid the land of the evil usurper Tselloch, who hails from a dark land of shadow. Over the next six years, the Six travel between the worlds, living each year twice. As time passes, they begin to realize the gravity and the significance of their role in fulfilling the prophecy. I don’t want to spoil anything for you, so that’s as specific as I can be.
So, what’s the big deal? you may still be wondering. This sounds like your basic YA lit. I’m not interested.
BUT WAIT, PLEASE DON’T GO! Because I felt the same way initially.
When I bought the kindle version of The Six on March 24 of this year, I didn’t know what to expect. I don’t like YA books as a rule, and with the exception of The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia, I’m not very easily excited by fantasy. I bought the book because several people that I knew liked them and I did it more to humor them than anything.
That turned out to be one of the best (literary) decisions of my life.
But why? I’m so glad you asked.
Because the internet seems to be all about numbered lists these days (thanks, HuffPo and BuzzFeed), here are six reasons that will hopefully satisfy you and convince you to give these great books a try:
But just in case that’s not enough for you, here are six real reasons:
1. Realistic Characters
Most contemporary YA lit is filled with fifteen-year-olds who have the mental and emotional maturity of thirty-five-year olds. One thing that really hooked me in with The Gateway Chronicles is the complete absence of this. In The Six, the protagonist Darcy is shallow, conceited, selfish, and at times just plain dumb. As the story progresses from book to book, we grow to love her and take pride in her positive changes. Along the same vein, the issues that all of the characters run into – crushes gone awry, problems with parents, difficulty fitting in with ones peers – are all real problems that most people have faced at some point and time in their lives, and that really helps create a bond between character and reader.
Quests, voyages, battles, sieges, plots…if you crave action, suspense, and – let’s face it – just the right amount of gore, you will be satisfied here!
In the midst of all that action, however, a slowly budding romance (or two, or three, or… *wink wink*) emerges almost unnoticed before your eyes. I won’t say more at the risk of spoiling the story, but I will say that this is the only love story in a YA series to make my heart pang and cause my stomach to flutter with nervous butterflies as an adult. It is hands down my favorite literary love story.
4. A nice blend of originality and familiarity
In Alitheia, we meet familiar fantasy creatures such as nymphs and dragons and fairies and gnomes, but Hoyle also introduces a magical being of her own wonderful creation – the nark. They’re amazing and honestly one of my favorite parts of the series!
5. Vivid Imagery
One of Hoyle’s best attributes as a writer is her ability to describe the people, places, and things in her books in great detail yet with subtlety. It is as if she fills your subconscious with the world she has created. Usually as a reader I spend a lot of time trying to picture what’s going on in my head – that was never an issue with any of these books.
6. All loose ends – and I do mean all – are tied by the time the series concludes.
Fear no open-ended ending. Hoyle ensures that all major questions and concerns are fully addressed at the end of the last book. You will turn the last page with bittersweet satisfaction.