Title: The Wicker King
Author: K. Ancrum
Genre: YA Contemporary
Edition/Pages: Hardcover, 305 pages
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.
This is a dark, intense story about mental illness and 2 teens trying to make it through on their own. Huge trigger warnings for depression, eating disorder, anxiety, and Agoraphobia.
I read this for the Dragons and Tea Bookclub with the lovely Mel from MelToTheAny and Amy from A Court of Crowns and Quills. If you haven’t checked out the bookclub definitely join us for the next book!
This book was an emotional rollercoaster. This is a multimedia story told from August’s point of view. I definitely recommend picking up a print copy of this – there are illustrations throughout the story and the pages darken as the mental illness progresses. Which really adds to the story in my opinion!
What I Liked
- This was a really intense but wonderful representation of mental illness. K Ancrum clearly did lots of research. And the pacing and writing style just added to the intensity. I felt anxious and on the edge of my seat the entire time. Definitely make sure you are in a headspace to handle these topics, they could be very triggering.
- I became very attached to August. I want to step into the story and hug and protect him. It was so hard to read about him taking on everything on his own.
- The relationship between Rina, August, and Jack was handled beautifully. This is a type of relationship I personally can’t relate to but fell in love with anyways.
What I Didn’t Like
- I found the story mildly confusing for the first half. The story is written in third person from August’s pov and I didn’t realize until over half way through that he was an unreliable narrator. So some of the scenes made little sense and I didn’t know why.
- August and Jack have a very intense, codependent relationship that I had a hard time connecting with it at first. And at times their relationship felt mildly abusive and unhealthy.
Overall this was a beautiful story that I’m so glad I picked up. It was way out of my comfort zone and I don’t think I would have read this without this book club. So thank you Mel and Amy for choosing such an amazing first book!