Summary: The final chapter.
Writing about the final book of a series is always difficult. I assume most people reading this have not necessarily read the previous five books in the series. (But you should and they are The Six, The Oracle, The White Thread, The Enchanted, and The Scroll). I want to give enough detail to interest you in reading the series, but not include a bunch of spoilers. So like my review of The Scroll, I am splitting this review into two parts. The first part is my general, non-spoiler thoughts. The second part will be more discussion about the book directly and assume you have read the previous books.
After having finished the whole series, I am even more impressed about the construction of the books and the plotting. This is a series that has layers and references and subtlety so that it can be read multiple times. The characters grow and mature, not suddenly or because the plot suddenly needs them to, but naturally in a way that we can see as readers. And while this is a book that is written for young adults, as a well read adult, I was kept engaged throughout the series. There were no weak books.
The Bone Whistle is the final in the series. It reaches a conclusion. As a warning to the reader, this book is structured a bit differently. One of the plot points is that Darcy forgets something and only recovers her memories slowly later in the book. We as the readers do not know what that is, so there are places where we readers are a bit in the dark. I actually went back and re-read the end of the Scroll because it had been a few weeks since I had finished it and based on what I was reading at the start of The Bone Whistle, I thought that I had forgotten the end of the Scroll. I had not, The Bone Whistle jumps into the middle of something and we are supposed to be confused. That will happen a couple times in the book. Go back and re-read if you need to (and I did in a couple places) but then keep reading, the plot will resolve itself.
The Bone Whistle and the rest of the series are not ‘Christian Fiction’. They have never been marketed as Christian fiction and I would not consider them that. But more than the rest of the series, Hoyle’s faith is evident. It is not a ‘beat you over the head with the gospel’ or evangelical type of presence. It is the subtle references and the thematic elements of sacrifice, redemption, and love that carry through in the story.
The last thought before I get to then spoilers is that the characters are the most mature of the series. That is probably obvious because they are older, they are coming closer to the completion of their tasks. While they are not perfect, they maturity does evidence itself in character, not just age. There is trust between them, even when there is disagreement. The characters are willing to sacrifice for one another and there is genuine affection and love between them. Not just between Darcy and Tellius, but between the whole cast of characters. That make the book more enjoyable. It is not that I do not want to read about immature characters, there are many great books about immature people. But there is something encouraging about maturity that leads toward character.
I also want to note that every year I make a list of my favorite books that I have read the previous year. At this point I cannot conceive of how this series will not make my best of 2018 list. I really do commend the whole series to you.
Tellius and Darcy marry at the end of the The Scroll. That fulfills part of the prophecy but also is their choice. There is a discussion a couple times in Bone Whistle about the role of free will. This quote is from fairly late in the book is one of the clearest points:
He nodded and smiled. “Yes. You may go on to Alitheia, should you choose to do so.” “Should I choose . . .” Darcy pursed her lips. Now that she was in this strange and beautiful place, it didn’t seem so appealing anymore. “Have I ever really had a choice?” Nemertes rested his dark chin on his hand and regarded her with golden-eyed intensity. “The intersection of free will and providence is a mystery not easily understood, even by the wisest of creatures. But you are given an option, Darcy Ecclektos. Two paths lie before you now—choose death, or choose life.”
Even though the marriage ceremony is complete at the end of the Scroll, they are separated at the end of the ceremony and Darcy is sent back to earth and there is a concern that Tellius has been killed. Hoyle does not try hard to make the reader believe that Tellius is dead, but it is a possibility. What the threat of death is more about is clarifying her love for him (and his love for her), Darcy’s desire to be in Alitheia, and everyone’s willingness to see the prophecy to completion.
There is a lot of pain in this book. The series has not shied away from death. Lots of people have died. This is a series set as a literal war against evil. People, have died and will continue to die through The Bone Whistle. Not out of gratuitous violence or a lack of concern about death, but because bringing about goodness and defeating evil sometimes requires the ultimate sacrifice. Those deaths are showing the goodness of life and there is real grief.
I am looking forward to re-reading the series again. Audiobooks are coming, so I might listen to them on the next round. But I will read them again regardless.