The Wicker King by K. Ancrum
Published: October 31st, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy/Contemporary
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.
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*Amazon: The Wicker King
They were stronger together; they were always stronger together.
“You can’t just die so stupidly,” he’d hissed. “I need you. You’re mine.” August had gazed up at him as he spit river water into the dirt. He had been terrified. Jack’s words echoed in his bones so deeply that it hurt.
August and Jack have been friends since forever and they have always had an intense friendship. When Jack is beginning to have strange visions and hallucinations August does what he thinks is best; believe him. Their relationship becomes 10x more intense. This fantasy world that Jack sees begins to infiltrate their everyday life. They don’t know what is real or what is fake and the stakes become more dangerous as they work to end these vivid delusions. The young people in their lives try to help them in the only way they know how and the older people in their lives don’t try enough. Eventually, things get worse and it’s only a matter of time before someone gets hurt or worse killed. This story was so good and the pace was perfect. I felt the intensity and the pace/writing style matched Jack’s mind. As his delusions got worse the pace got more intense. As the stakes got more dangerous the writing felt vicious. The color of the actual book pages goes from light to dark which is amazing because it matches August and Jack’s psyche. Every little detail of the book goes with the story and it’s so cool because you can see how the author and her team took all this into consideration. Everything gets more vigorous as we delve deeper into the story. The author’s writing is vivid and rich. The world Jack sees is so descriptive, whimsical, and terrifying. The way the story wraps up is amazing. The twist was not expected and it leaves you so satisfied.
The author’s end note was a nice added feature to the story because you can see the care she put into this story. It meant something to her and it comes across in the writing. The book’s layout is scattered like their relationship and brain and its set up in a really cool and dynamic way. It has notes, CDs, police reports, doctors notes, et cetera throughout which adds to the story in an engaging way. The world-building and writing of Jack’s world through August’s eyes is intriguing. It’s like seeing a new world within your world. You get an even better understanding of the world in the free novella The Legend of the Golden Raven: A Novella of The Wicker King. It is from Jack’s POV and goes deeper into the world and you see how bad Jack’s mind truly was and what he hid from August.
But he’d known then that he was important. He was valuable. He was Jack’s.
August was a misfit and pyro. He was a lower class boy and drug dealer but you would never know. He keeps himself clean cut and doesn’t let the world see what is going on. He takes care of Jack and his mom. He leads but deep down he wants to be lead and there is only one person who can give him that. Jack is the golden boy jock. He is intellectual and a possessive person but you wouldn’t know. What many people don’t know besides August is that besides the visions Jack has a darker side to him and he has no problem being the one to lead a certain boy. The side characters, namely the kids, are awesome as well. The twins, Peter and Roger, are friends of August’s who take notice of Jack’s issue and try to help in the best way they can. They care about their situation and they are incredible characters. There was also other character’s that were interesting but these four I loved the most. The author gave them all such unique voices and they interacted in a vehement way.
“Is this what you wanted?” “This is what I thought we were.”
August and Jack hung out with different crowds. They didn’t hang out at school not because they didn’t want people to know they were best friends but because they just didn’t. People knew they were best friends but as the reader, you felt something more. AT first, you don’t know what but you know something is different. August takes care of Jack. His parents are both married but never around. They don’t pay attention to him and August is the one who checks on him, makes him stuff, is there for him, everything just like with his own mom. But, August needs to be lead by Jack. It is hard to explain it in words. When you read it you just get it and it makes sense. Their relationship is all giving and take but not in a bad way. They are intense and Jack is possessive but again it is not in an ugly way. It makes sense for them and it is very co-dependent but really it is not unhealthy. Things can seem that way but you have to understand their characters and mind to get it and I did. By the end, your heart is soaring because you saw this from the beginning and it is funny because it seemed like Jack was clueless and August wasn’t but, it was the opposite. It’s so beautiful because by the end you just see how their future will flourish.
“Well done.” It echoed in his bones like it had been spoken by giants, spoken by gods. Nothing could replace the glory of the Wicker King’s favor—the peace of returning from defending his honor. The phrases that ran through his mind were archaic and ridiculous and urgent and more real than anything he’d ever known.
“You burn things all the time these days,” Jack said softly. “Would you burn for me?”…”You already know I’ll do it,” August said.
“Do kings march out to war?” “They used to.” He could feel Jack smiling at him. Breathed it in so he could feel it deep in his lungs. This was it. This was everything. “Your kingdom come. Your will be done.”
“I never said I didn’t feel the same,” Jack said harshly…”We decide the end of the game, not them. Not anyone else. You’re so stupid, August. You’re so stupid and I love you so much.”
“It’s just true,” he said. “It always has been. In this world and the next. They could take everything away and leave us with nothing, and I would still love you.”
The Wicker King leaned down and pressed their foreheads together…”Through doom and dust,” Jack recited.
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