Author: K. Ancrum
To-be-Published: October 31st 2017
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The Wicker King is a psychological young adult thriller that follows two friends struggling as one spirals into madness.
When August learns that his best friend, Jack, shows signs of degenerative hallucinatory disorder, he is determined to help Jack cope. Jack’s vivid and long-term visions take the form of an elaborate fantasy world layered over our own—a world ruled by the Wicker King. As Jack leads them on a quest to fulfill a dark prophecy in this alternate world, even August begins to question what is real or not.
August and Jack struggle to keep afloat as they teeter between fantasy and their own emotions. In the end, each must choose his own truth.
The Wicker king centers around August and his best friend, Jack. This book reeled me in quick; I couldn’t put it down and I blew through it in a few sittings. It’s written in such a poetic and unique way. Even the formatting is incredibly unique. The chapters are very short and there are few pictures and illustrations in between. The two boys you see on the cover? Yeah, you’ll see more of them. I felt like these little snippets made the characters all the more real, almost too real…
I immediately fell for these characters. August…even thinking about him makes me want to wrap him up in a warm blanket.
He has to fend for himself, taking care of his mom and selling drugs for money. He is loyal to the people he loves to a fault. Jack is infinitely less responsible. He comes from a well-off family but his parents are almost never home so August is the one who takes care of him, cooking for him, keeping him company on Christmas and basically being there for him in every way.
These two have known each other from a very young age and they have a sweet-but-kinda-weird-and-toxic relationship. It’s hard to even describe, you’d have to read it to understand. It’s almost obsessive and too-dependent but then they’d do or say something to each other and it’s the cutest thing ever. Although, it’s not mentioned on page, I believe both main characters are bisexual.
When August finds out that Jack has degenerative hallucinatory disorder his immediate reaction is to try and get help, but Jack insists that they must go on a quest in this alternate world and August, being the loyal friend he is, agrees. Jack leads them deeper and deeper into the elaborate fantasy world only he can see and soon, they’re both unsure as to what’s real and what’s fantasy. Things spiral down fast and their relationship strains as they both try to figure out the connection between them. August already has too much to carry and Jack’s worsening condition leaves him unraveled. The growing tension and confusion is even alluded to by the color of the pages; they get darker and darker as you go till they become all-black near the conclusion.
Although I enjoyed this book, I found myself confused a few times and the ending kind of disappointed me a bit. I really wanted more from the ending. I want more of August and Jack in general. I can’t vouch for the quality of representation of bisexuality and degenerative hallucinatory disorder so I’m interested in hearing from others. This is a very unique book and quite an odd one as well, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it after I put it down. I look forward to seeing more from this author.
K. Ancrum grew up in Chicago Illinois. She attended Dominican University to study Fashion Merchandizing, but was lured into getting an English degree after spending too many nights experimenting with hard literary criticism and hanging out with unsavory types, like poetry students. Currently, she lives in Andersonville and writes books at work when no one is looking.