{ Project } { Review } The Wicker King by K. Ancrum


“Would you do something bad if you knew it would have more good in it, in the end, than bad?”

The fifth book of my ’10 books in 3 weeks’ project

Read from August 2nd 2019

My Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

The Wicker King brings us the adventures of seventeen-year-old August and Jack, two high school students from Michigan. They should have grown in different directions; Jack being the rich blond-haired rugby player and August who deals drugs at school just to pay the bills, but instead, they overlooked their differences and stayed best friends all those years. Their story begins with a flashback from 2003 when the two boys broke into a toy factory leading them in an asylum. Back in the present days, we follow August dealing with Jack’s growing signs of a degenerative hallucinatory disorder. Jack is seeing a parallel fantasy world in need of rescuing where he must fulfil whimsical quests to help and please its ruler; the Wicker King. Jack’s visions are spreading; they are getting sharper and more frequent, more realistic and above all more dangerous, exposing the boys to growing risks.

The story is told through short chapters that gave an interesting pace and that fit the narrative perfectly, making the book a real page-turner. It also includes multimedia elements that grounded the story into reality and made my reading even more addictive. The pages throughout the book are gradually darkening showing the growing mental health issues that were facing the characters (I actually saw something similar when I watched Thirteen ages ago, where the colours were used to show the distress and emotions of the main character, and up to this day, I still find that artistically amazing). I was blown away by K. Ancrum’s writing, prose and plot-wise. It was gorgeous, intense, compelling and brilliant and made a point of honour to stay true to the portrayal of mental health without romanticizing it.

“The world was so big and they were very small and there was no one around to stop terrible things from happening.”

The relationship between August and Jack was messed up, yet addictive. Their obsession and possessiveness with each other weren’t signs of a healthy relationship at all. In fact, the only factor that brought them closer together was their loneliness, the fact that they both are desperate to feel loved and terrified to be abandoned by the only person they have left. They were neglected their whole life in so many different ways and had to raise themselves. Jack’s parents are always absent and don’t even make the effort to make a phone call and ask about their son, and August’s mother is only physically present as she is drowning in deep depression and is not actually able to take care of him, leaving August no choice but to find his own ways to make money just to pay for electricity.

I think that the part that made my jaw fell on the floor was the raw yet genuine way that co-dependency is addressed. I never read anything like it and it changed my life. The way they are truly certain that no one would help them better than themselves. Each of their spiralling mingled and created a bigger tornado that left them close to no chance of getting out of it. August realises that he is not capable to successfully help Jack and yet, just because Jack requested it, claiming that he owed him, August stays by his side, not seeking for help other than his own. First, he tried to ground him and when he realised that it wouldn’t work, he changed strategy and decided to humour Jack, following him in his dangerous quest.

“Jack owned him. In a way. It was difficult to explain, but the feeling was as familiar to him as his own name.”

However, I was kind of sceptical about Rina. I liked her as a character but I feel like her role in the trio wasn’t clear. I’ve read many reviews where people said that she gave them a safe place, a place to stay, but it didn’t feel different to me from where the boy lived. I loved that she was a person of colour though; diversity is always something I praise in books. Overall, this book is a gem, a love letter from August to Jack. Or maybe from Jack to August. Read this book, it deserves so much more praises.


Have you read or will you read this book?
What did you think about it?


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French Book Blogger and avid reader 📚 - YA, Adult, NA, Fantasy, Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Romance -, LGBT & disability rep 🏳️‍🌈, Ravenclaw Potterhead △⃒⃘, English teacher 👩🏼‍🏫 living to travel 🌍, proud mom of Padfoot 🐕 and Juniper 🐈

2 thoughts on “{ Project } { Review } The Wicker King by K. Ancrum

  1. Pingback: A-Z Authors

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