Title: The Wicker King by K. Ancrum
Publication date: 31 Oct 2017
Genre: Fantasy | Young adult
Page extent: 305 pages
Holy fuck was this a read. What a twisted and stunning novel combining mental illness, fantasy and soft, broken, co-dependent boys. The writing is so lyrical and poetic, it’s just absolutely stunning.
I was tossing between both of K. Ancrum’s book for my Pride TBR list – The Wicker King or The Weight of the Stars. I decided on The Wicker King because I really love reading books with good mental health representation as it’s very close to my heart – and it did not disappoint. August learns that best friend Jack is beginning to hallucinate a fantasy world, one he can interact with but which no else can. The halluncinations seem to grow worse and worse as Jack imagines himself in the midst of a quest within the world. August, trying to support his friend, allows him to play out the fantasy, and helps Jack to fulfil the quest.
I don’t think I’ve ever read a book quite like this, not least because of the styling. You most definitely should pick up a print copy of this book, because the way the book is printed is phenomenal. Ink slowly covers more and more of the page, as Jack’s illness progresses and it is such a powerful tool. I haven’t ever seen a book do something like that before, the closest I can think of is Illuminae which I read on a Kindle and so it didn’t really work.
K. Ancrum has such a beautiful and emotive prose – I felt like someone had punched me in the chest the whole way through. It was brutal in a way not many books are. It was so gutrenching to see August realise how much help Jack needed but not know how to help him. With neglectful adults, he does the only thing he knows how to – he tries to help Jack himself. Their relationship is so twisted and interesting. August wants so much to give his whole self to Jack, and be under his control, he would do anything for him. And Jack is just as entranced, wanting to control and give August what he needs.
This is such a difficult book to review, because I’m still numb from the read. When I think about it, I struggle to find words because it is such a different, unique and magnificant book. All I can say, is that is it absolutely stunning and you will feel absolutely torn apart as you read it.
Rach + Draco