This is a spoiler free review of The Wicker King by K. Ancrum, a standalone physiological thriller with fantasy elements.
I gave this book 5/5 stars and I absolutely loved it!
“And they’ll crescendo like beacons to the farthest reaches. With every new breath of life that forms in a world of darkness that came at the price of your hands and your mind.”
The Wicker King follows best friends and high school seniors, August Bateman and Jack Rossi. Jack has a hallucinatory disorder that causes him to have visions of a fantastical kingdom in place of their own town. August, trying to help Jack as best as he can, accepts Jack’s visions as a reality and follows him along on a magical quest to fulfill a prophesy that had been foretold to Jack, as he believes it will help stop the hallucinations.
Jack and August struggle to uncover what is truly real, and in the end, they each have to discover their own truth.
“He was alone. And he was in a prison of his own design.”
I completely loved this story.
The book was fast paced and had short chapters which added a lot to the intensity of the story. As well, there were graphics at the end of many chapters that added a new and interesting perspective to the story. While I read this as an ebook so this did not occur, the physical novel has pages that get progressively darker as the story goes on, which furthers the intensity of it.
While you see the most from August and Jack as they are the main characters, the other characters in the story felt really fleshed out and they all served a purpose towards advancing the plot.
I really liked the relationship between August and Jack, but I also really liked the friendship that formed between August, Peter, and Roger, (Peter and Roger are twins that attend August and Jack’s high school) as well as that between Jack, August, and Rita. (Rita is waitress who graduated from their high school two years prior to the novel’s beginning). I found that the friendships that developed were realistic and the characters were able to add a new insight to the situation.
This story is truly about Jack and August discovering themselves and their place in the world. It was incredibly well written and thought provoking, and I would fully recommend this novel to all fans of young adult literature.