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August 30, 2018

The Scroll by @KBHoyle_author ~ a Review #TheGatewayChronicles

by Donna Huber

I'm almost at the end of the re-read of this wonderful series. The Scroll is book 5 and there are only 6 books in the series. This is my 3rd time reading the series (which I have also bought 3 times as I've bought sets for my mom and niece) and still absolutely love it. I'm excited that two of my neighbors are reading it after meeting K.B. Hoyle last Saturday at our town's book festival.
Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.


The Scroll
August 2018; ebook; YA, fanasy
Since I started re-reading this series last month, I've been looking forward to The Scroll. I always feel weird saying how much I like the violent scenes of Tellius's torture. That makes me sound like some kind of psychopath. It's not so much the actual acts, but the emotions and depth of character that comes from those scenes. In this case, it really is a matter of how far will a leader go for his people. And you have to remember that Tellius is only 18. I also enjoy it because I love the rescue scene that is only possible and as exciting as it is because of the torture.

Usually by the time I post my review I have the next book in hand (and a couple of times mostly read), but not this time. Hoyle is still editing The Bone Whistle. And I'm itching to get my hands on it.

As I have said in my review of The Enchanted, I've wanted to restart the series as soon as I finish the book. However, with The Scroll, I wanted to go back and re-read this book in particular immediately. While I usually say the theme of this book is 'hurry up and wait', there is actually a lot going on just not in the typical action scene kind of way. You have to look closely.

First, let's look at what I thought of The Scroll when I first reviewed it back in 2013:

"I'm so not going to be ready when this series ends. I loved book 4 The Enchanted and book 5 The Scroll built on what I loved. I really tried not to rush through this book, but it just wasn't possible. I was so wrapped up in the story that I couldn't put the book down."

I really touted Hoyle's writing skill in my first review. Her storytelling abilities really shine in this novel. It really takes a special touch to keep a reader engaged when on the surface it looks like everyone is pretty much tiddling their thumbs. But like I said so much is going on beneath the story. If possible, The Scroll may have become my favorite of the series.

This is the first time that the Six have pretty much been left to their own devices. In the past years, Rubidus or Eleanor have schooled them on magic, customs, history. etc. Or they have been off on an adventure. This time Rubidus is holed up in his cottage working on a super secret project that apparently no one else can help him with. (Do you hear my tone of derision?)

I really didn't like Rubidus this time. I don't remember having quite this strong of a reaction to him the other two times I read The Scroll. After admitting that Darcy has really grown up in the last book, he goes back to treating her as a child. He admits that she has powers that no one else has ever demonstrated, yet won't seek her assistance. I think in the past, I have felt a little bad for Rubidus because of his oracle having him losing a beloved student. And then after hearing the lines from Darcy's oracle about being twice dead, I always thought he was distancing himself as a means of protecting himself. You know he feels deeply because of his emotional outburst on occasion. But in this read through, I just felt that he was selfish, maybe a little too prideful - only he can solve the problem of rescuing Tellius.

I also had a bit of a light bulb moment (I've had it before but I think it is expanded in this re-read) about why Rubidus and Darcy are often at odds. You know how you are more critical of a flaw in another person when you yourself possess the same flaw? Yeah. Rubidus and Darcy are a lot alike. While we are forgiving of Darcy's impetuousness because one she is a child and two, she tries to learn from it. Rubidus, on the other hand, is an adult and I'm not sure how much he learns from it. It actually seems to take a pretty big fall before he recognizes the flaw in himself.

There's a lot of strong emotions in The Scroll. And as Sam says in the first chapter,

"Jeez, Darcy, what if we're almost to the end?"

Darcy frowned. "The end?"

"Of - of everything. Of going to Alitheia, of fighting Tselloch."

Darcy blinked, silent. pg 7

As Sam foreshadows, The Scroll is all about preparing for the final showdown, on a mental and emotional level. I'm not sure if I noticed it before, but in these few lines, we really see the dichotomy of how "the end" looks to the friends. Sam believes that once they complete their job they will no longer go back to Alitheia. I'm sure Amelia, Dean, Perry, and Lewis feel the same. It has been a great adventure, but life will return to normal for them when the prophecy is fulfilled. However, Darcy's dumbstruck silence hints at the fact she hasn't considered that they would not continue to visit Alitheia. And after the declaration of love between Tellius and her in The Enchanted, it would be hard to even consider the possibility of never seeing him again. The first time I read The Scroll, before I knew the full meaning of Twice Wed, Twice Dead, I thought perhaps Darcy would die in this world (kind of like Eleanor) and then at some time in the future she would die in Alitheia. So I'm not sure I really gave much thought to what would happen after they fulfilled the prophecy (or maybe I'm more like Darcy than I thought and just didn't want to think about the future).

Since I'm still waiting for The Bone Whistle and after meeting Hoyle on Saturday, which really made me want to immerse myself in the world of Altheia, I did something that I have wanted to do since the beginning. I pulled out my old edition and compared it to the new edition. I know people are curious about the edits being made to this latest edition. I gave a little look at that in my review of The White Thread. Here's another example that I found in chapter 1 of The Scroll.

From the 2013 edition:

Darcy tossed and turned that night, but not because she was having nightmares. She lay up on her bunk in the small camp room of the lodge thinking only of Tellius, while her mom, dad, and brother snored softly around her. She should have been happy to be with her family again. Although they didn't know it, she had been gone for a year. But while she had missed her family, she missed Tellius in a different way this time around. She felt an almost physical pain anticipating the year that would pass before she could see him again. She loved him and he loved her. But their happiness has been quickly chased away by her resolution that she couldn't marry him. She would spare him the pain of the death of a wife and protect him from his own death, if that was indeed what "twice wed" meant. pg. 7

Here is the same paragraph from this updated edition:

Darcy tossed and turned that night, but not because she was having nightmares. She lay on her top bunk in the small camp room of the lodge, thinking only of Tellius, while her mom, dad, and brother snored softly around her. She should be happy to be with her family again. Although they didn't know it, she had been gone for a year. But she felt an almost physical pain anticipating the year that would pass before she could see Tellius again. How could she stand a year apart? They loved each other. pg. 8 - 9

So not too much different, but the updated edition feels more powerful to me. And as I'm really discovering with this read through I'm a mood reader. I've always known that when I'm in a certain mood, I read particular genres. But I didn't realize that what I really love about a story is not so much the details, but how it makes me feel. It is the feeling that I most remember from a book I read. And I'm feeling much more strongly with this updated edition.

Have you decided to give this series a try? If you haven't already, you may want to check out my review of The Six and The Oracle to find out why I'm sleep deprived.

Have you read it before, but want to see how the edits made changes how you feel about the story?

Buy The Scroll at Amazon

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.

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