I have heard so much about The Wicker King forever now. AND I HAVE FINALLY READ IT. Not going to lie, this might be my best achievement of 2021. I’m not sure if it’s technically the oldest book on my shelf, but it’s certainly up there. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
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.
TW: abuse, panic attack
The Wicker King is a powerful, gripping, and emotional story about codependency and love. The pacing is fast and it works so well. Ancrum sweeps you up in this story about friendship, toxicity, and love. About those lines we cross for the ones we love. The short chapters only contribute to this fast paced feeling – and I loved it! Combined with the page details (the pictures and the pages which get darker), reading The Wicker King feels like a descent.
You get this sensory experience where you feel yourself being dragged in like August. The nooks, crannies, hooks, and tenderness in their relationship. And yet The Wicker King inhabits this space of relatability amidst it all. In this space where you feel like you orbit around someone else. So badly crave their acceptance, their acknowledgement of you. And what you would do to chase that. Or is that just me? It’s a testament to Ancrum’s writing skills that we see Jack so clearly even though this story is very much about August. We never get Jack’s POV, because we see him through August and his love. All the ways that
The Wicker King examines these spaces in a relationship. That pressure we feel when we think we have to save someone. When we’re drowning ourselves and despite it all, want to save someone else. All the ways that the support systems, the schools, the adults fail kids. It’s a captivating and emotional story which I read in like two days!
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