Hi everyone! January 2019 is the first month of the Dragons and Tea Book Club hosted by lovely ladies Melanie and Amy! The first book they picked to read was The Wicker King by K. Ancrum, which I decided to read with them due to its mental health themes. Let’s see what I made of it!
What the book is about…
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 fulfil 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.
What I thought of it…
This book was unlike anything I’ve ever read. The short ‘micro-fiction’ chapters make it an incredibly fast-paced read and I really liked the inclusion of mixed media. The physical book is actually beautiful.
I love that the beginning of the book foreshadows the end, giving a feeling of coming full circle. This is something I always find satisfying in a book. Ancrum’s writing really is very good.
What struck me most about this book was its intensity. I thought the author’s writing was very clever. There is little to no description of the two boys, making them fairly indistinguishable. It is often not specified who is talking, causing the reader to feel as confused and helpless as the boys themselves. Furthermore, all minor characters feel underdeveloped, emphasising that the boys only have eyes for each other. All of this serves to emphasise the co-dependency between August and Jack, and to show that the mental health of both boys is taking a significant hit.
When I initially drafted this review, I talked about the book’s ending not having the emotional impact I was expecting. I was preparing to have my heart ripped out and, while there was a certain rawness to how things tied up, it didn’t destroy me the way I had thought it would. However, after Melanie and Amy arranged for the author to chat to us on Goodreads and answer questions, I have come to appreciate the book’s ending more and more. There is a real power there.
I also have to mention that both the dedication and author’s note were lovely. Ancrum is doing a great thing, giving voice to troubled teenagers and helping them to recognise that some things are not acceptable and shouldn’t have to be dealt with alone. I definitely want to read her next book, The Weight of the Stars!
Did anyone else join the Dragons and Tea Book Club this month? What did you think of The Wicker King? x