The Wicker King
Author: K. Ancrum
Genre/Themes/Demo: YA, Contemporary, Social Issues
Release Date: October 31st 2017
Page Count: 320
Initial Post Reading Thoughts
This is one of those books that I’m going to need to think about for a while before I write a full review…
The Wicker King is a psychological young adult thriller that follows two friends struggling as one spirals into madness. 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.
Where do I even begin with this one? The Wicker King is one of those books that has left me questions all of my thoughts surrounding it. I really enjoyed it and yet there were also things that I didn’t really like about it as well. It was one of those books that left me feeling confused after finishing it, not about the story itself, but about my feelings towards it.
The Wicker King has a very dark and eerie feel to it. The writing style actually reminded me a lot of The Rules of Attraction by Bret Easton Ellis in the sense that it makes you feel slightly uneasy as you read it. The Wicker King was very vague with its subject matter and kind of makes the reader work for answers. It never really gives you full information as to what is going on and you are left trying to figure it out on your own.
The characters felt overly mature for their ages. I felt like I was reading about college students or people in their early 20s rather than teens, especially our two main characters: August and Jack. These two had a very unhealthy relationship and obsession with one another. While I understand where the author was going with the story and how it all tied together by the end, I’m not sure I like that it went there? It felt a little forced and rushed and maybe slightly out of place? I’m not sure, but I think the way that this story ended is part of the reason that I can’t decide how I feel about this book. While these two characters loved each other in their own twisted way, it was very unhealthy and slightly disturbing.
I normally love everything dark and twisted, but there were moments within this story that just didn’t jive with me. At times it felt like it was being dark just for the sake of shock factor and I just couldn’t get into that.
However, The Wicker King was extremely fast paced and addicting. I literally could not put this book down. Each chapter is about a page long, literally, and they basically told little stories on their own. This made it super easy to breeze through this novel.
Another super unique aspect of this novel is that as you read, the pages start to darken. There is a casual gradient throughout the whole book. While the beginning of the story starts on white clean pages, it slowly progresses through different shades of grey and eventually black. I think this storytelling device was used well to depict the story that was being told.
As you can probably tell, I’m a little conflicted about this one. I loved the dark nature of the story and I loved how quick paced it was, but some of it felt a little off to me. The ending felt a little rushed and out of place and I kind of wish it was just developed a little more. The Wicker King is a very unique novel with an original writing style when it comes to young adult contemporary.
About The Author
K. Ancrum grew up in Chicago Illinois, under the illusory rigor of the Chicago Public School system. She attended Dominican University to study Fashion Merchandizing, but was lured into getting an English degree after spending too many nights experimenting with hard literary criticism and hanging out with unsavory types, like poetry students. Currently, she lives in Andersonville and writes books at work when no one is looking. She is the author of The Wicker King.
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Thank you for reading!