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The Wicker King

(The Wicker King #1)

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4.04  ·  Rating details ·  2,837 ratings  ·  1,020 reviews
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 qu ...more
Hardcover, 305 pages
Published October 31st 2017 by Imprint
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K. Ancrum This is a friendship-to-love slow burn scenario from the perspective of an unreliable narrator clinging to the closet door with his fingertips. Jack…moreThis is a friendship-to-love slow burn scenario from the perspective of an unreliable narrator clinging to the closet door with his fingertips. Jack is bisexual, August is Questioning until the end. Both characters have relationships with girls while obviously being sexually attracted to each other and don't get together until the end of the book. [SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT]

The accusations of queerbaiting honestly filled me with dismay. Maybe because this is a journey where someone slowly comes to terms with his attraction for the whole book, rather than being "out" the whole book some people assumed that this was queerbaiting. <spoiler>But the words "I love you" were definitely explicitly used. August has sex with another character while thinking of Jack (and then panics). In addition, every single character in the book besides the MC tries to point out to the MC that his feelings for his friend may not be platonic. The book is mixed media and one of the art pieces is a note where Jack asks August out-- which he writes in the beginning of the book and doesn't give to August until the end of the book--and August says yes (Which was available in the ARC).

In the final version, not only is the confession more fleshed out, but they also kiss. And more, in the book to be released after this, they are in a Poly family with another character (R) and are raising a child together, who is a major character.

This book was never intended to be anything but queer. It just takes these kids a while to get there, that's all. :)</spoiler>(less)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
K. Ancrum Both. The love would have always existed without the codependency, but I'm not quite sure if codependency can even develop without love or without an…moreBoth. The love would have always existed without the codependency, but I'm not quite sure if codependency can even develop without love or without an environment of care/dependence.

If August and Jack had normal lives, with normal parents and Jack never got sick, the story of them wouldn't cease to exist, it would be a standard, softer friends-to-love story where they maybe had a cute homecoming love confession. Or maybe they'd still wait until the last minute and only become brave enough to kiss at graduation. They'd probably spend the whole 4 years flirting terribly and having fun with their friends. Or maybe Jack would have the energy and confidence to be bolder, maybe seduce August and treat him to the whole stereotypical nerd/jock dynamic of a love story while reminding him that technically he's both the nerd and the jock because he gets better grades than August.

They would laugh more. And hang out for fun instead of necessity. And they would touch each other with less desperation.

The love would always be there. It would just have been easier. (less)

Community Reviews

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4.04  · 
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 ·  2,837 ratings  ·  1,020 reviews


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شيماء ✨
There is a unique sort of agony to this book that I can’t exactly describe but it’s not quite right and it leaves me cold. My heart feels both hollowed out and so heavy my chest could not hold it. The Wicker King beckoned me closer with delicate claws then sank its fangs into my heart and I think a part of me will never fully escape it.

See, there are books you like and then there are books you end up thinking about in the middle of the night with a cosmic ache in your chest, feeling like what st
...more
Lola
This book. This book.

I am a kaleidoscope. I am a puzzle in disarray. My heart is … simultaneously heavy and light? Frozen in a total equilibrium room? All I could think as I read it was, ‘‘Please, have mercy.’’

What cruelty. What wickedness.

And yet… I know that I will be rereading this one next year, and the year after, and so on and so forth until the end of my days on Planet Earth.

I couldn’t put it down. I was planning on testing the field, just going through a few chapters to see if it would
...more
C.G. Drews
READ #2: May 2018

Yes I only waited like 5 months to reread this and I'm here to say I am jUST AS IN LOVE WITH IT AS EVER. I still (nearly) cried at the author's note. My heart still sort of beats messily all over the place for this book and these boys and their illnesses and their story, which is part magic and part poison.

juST GO I'M FINE I'M HAVING A CRISIS I LOVE IT TOO MUCH.


READ #1: January 2018


JUST SO WE'RE FRIKKIN' CLEAR: THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF MY LIFE. I actually teared
...more
destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]
I originally read this book as an ARC, and was really bothered by a few things in it. I was so disappointed that I gave it 2.5 stars, but as the finished copy released, I started receiving messages from friends, saying it was different from what I had reviewed. I was confused, but didn’t look too deeply into it until the author contacted me and explained. She told me she had changed a lot of what bothered me in the ARC, and asked would I like to read the finished copy.

She was so kind, and I had
...more
Elise (TheBookishActress)
Have you ever read a book that you love, but also feel as if you'd be judged by everyone for recommending? This is that book for me. The Wicker King is a weird, weird book, and one I'm sure will be polarizing. But the immersive atmosphere and developed characters absolutely saved this one for me.

Let's talk atmosphere. The Wicker King is told with gradually darkening pages, beginning white and slowly getting darker and darker, and with incredibly short chapters. I found it very hard to put down a
...more
Melanie
Dec 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Melanie by: شيماء ✨


“Would you do something bad if you knew it would have more good in it, in the end, than bad?”

Okay, I just want to start this review off that this book will forever be sentimental to me, not only because it was the first book I read this year and that I absolutely loved it, but also because it was the very first pick for the Dragons & Tea Book Club and the author came into the group and answered so many questions that made this one of the best reading experiences I’ve ever had in my entir
...more
Kayla Dawn
Sep 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was fucked up in the best way possible! 🙌🏻
This book needs to be hyped more pls everyone reaaad it!!



(But please be aware y'all that the relationship that's portrayed in this book is not healthy by any means ok that's it thank you for your attention goodbye)
❄️Nani❄️
Feb 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was good beyond expectations. I loved August & Jack and I, not only felt for them but with them.
There’re so many thoughts going through my mind and want to say so much but think I need a little bit of time to process it all.

I loved their connection and their intense friendship (SO MUCH) which enables both to survive parental neglect and absence however while you’re reading, you get a sense of an impending doom kind of feeling because you know their incredibly unhealthy, toxic codepende
...more
Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘
Don't sleep on The Weight of the Stars, The Wicker King's companion novel! Preorder it here



Upon closing The Wicker King, I opened my eyes and I just... blinked, in that forlorn way we do when we're so affected that the real world around us has stopped making sense. It's the kind of novel that fails to be contained in any kind of genre, but honestly, it delivers just the kind of weird, dark atmosphere that never fails to enrapture me. Think Charm & Strange. Teeth.



I swear I'm going to do my
...more
megs_bookrack
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Original and hard-hitting.

Punch you in the gut and face.
Mmmmm.



This one, I felt it in my heart, my bones and my head hurt.

August and Jack.
This is the story of their relationship but at its heart, it is so much more than that. The overwhelming emotion I had during this story was anger.



I wasn't angry at August and Jack though, I was angry at the characters we didn't really know. The absent adults: the parents, the teachers, the counselors. Where were all the people who should have been helping
...more
Hamad
Dec 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: e-books, 2018-reads
This review and other non-spoilery reviews can be found @The Book Prescription

“If you drop the weight you are carrying, it is okay. You can build yourself back up out of the pieces.”

🌟 I have been thinking how to review and rate this since I have finished it and I decided that writing my thoughts might help me in the final say about this book.

🌟 I also should say that I added this as a recommendation and then kind of lost interest in it but then was in the mood to read it again which I did!

🌟 I a
...more
Chelsea Humphrey
Jan 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Chelsea by: Melanie
Has anyone seen my heart? I think it was shattered by this book and I need to put the pieces back together. 😭😭😭
may ➹
I’m quite shook by how good this was, it’s very rare that books ACTUALLY live up to my expectations!!

and tbh if you don’t add this to your TBR for its fabulous premise, at least add it for that cover

4.5 stars, review to come!!

// buddy read with a sweetoe rat
Sara➽ Ink Is My Sword
FUCK. FUCK FUCK.

This was just. Oh mY god. I am, no words, I. FUCK. I relate so much to this story like I never expected.

I started disliking this book for at least 60%. then I start relating so bad. then my heart broke into tiny pieces. and finally, I was shedding tears by the Author's note.

I now that if I were to rate this right now by the last 20% I would give it 5 stars. But then what about the first 80%. I really wanna re-read this, knowing how the story will unfold and what to expect. I wo
...more
Lily ☁️
I wish I could say that I loved this book, but … well. I think everyone knows what’s coming. I was Disappointed. (rtc)

➽ buddy read with the queen of badassery

Blog ¦ Bloglovin’ ¦ Tumblr ¦ Instagram
anna (readingpeaches)
This review is also posted on my blog.

Things I loved about this:

» the characters. August & Jack are utterly lovable (and spoiler alert: in love), but also “problematique”, by which I mean they both struggle with their mental health, while not getting any help from adults around them. Their relationship was one of the most intense ones I have ever read about & there are no clean lines there, but that just makes it so much more interesting. If you thought Gansey & Ronan’s friendship wa
...more
may ❀

this book just made me really sad and idk how i feel
my heart hurts

RTC
3.5 stars!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Buddy read with a mango

apparently this book is amazing and ruins your life at the same time and well, that sounds good to me
Julie Zantopoulos
"It's not weird. It's just...unusual And even then, just because it's unusual doesn't automatically make it bad."

I don't know how to put into words how I feel about this book, all I know is that it spoke to me, connected with the darkest and most painful parts of me, and made me feel so damn much. It's not secret that I deal with depression and anxiety, that mental illness is a part of my reality. It's also not a secret that I have a degree in psychology and love anything that explores mental il
...more
- ̗̀ DANY  ̖́- (danyreads)
Nov 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-reads, lgbt
. : ☾⋆ — 5 ★

this was so beautiful in such a messed up way

i will say that this book heavily romanticized mental illness but in a very respectful and deliberate way. what i mean by this is that our main characters, jack and august, are explicitly described as codependent and are both canonically diagnosed, jack more importantly. this is not a case of “wah wah, the writer didn’t do enough research and she’s portraying mental illness in a very unhealthy way”, but rather a case of “this writer did h
...more
Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
Stayed up until 1:30am to finish this last night and I think that was a mistake. What even happened????????? This book was very strange and I KNOW that this could very easily be a favorite for someone else, but I just could not wrap my head around the writing style. What an odd read.
Jessi ♡
May 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Some books feel like you're reading a recycled version of past books, like you're reading the same characters with just a bit of a difference, the same relationship dynamic except with a few different pet names. This book is completely it's own, different, a relieved sigh left me when I felt like I was reading something NEW, something unique, something so important and interesting and intriguing, that I was lacking in the hundred+ books I read this year... and the last.
Reading the author's fin
...more
Karima chermiti
Dragons & Tea Book Club book of the month


Warning: This review contains spoilers, so if you haven't read the book but want to, you're better of not reading this review but I really think it's important to read the trigger warning just to know what you're getting yourself into

Trigger warning : (view spoiler)

This book hurt me and I’m not saying that because it was so good and I loved
...more
Joshee Kun (조수아)
My written interview with the author can be found here.

Thank you, Macmillan, for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

codependency
noun co·de·pen·den·cy \ˌkō-di-ˈpen-dən(t)-sē\
: a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (such as an addiction to alcohol or heroin); broadly : dependence on the needs of or control by another


August and Jack were such messed up character
...more
Mel
Apr 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Non-readers and casual readers always ask me why I read so much and spend so much of my disposable income on books. I usually just tell them I enjoy reading and don’t have any other interests, so I don’t mind spending my time and money on reading.

But the real answer to their question lies within the pages of books like this one. A whole bunch of words that someone else came up with written down on paper had the ability to make me feel and experience things that I’m never going to feel or experi
...more
Kat
Apr 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-2
This was an unusual book about two best friends, August and Jack, who have an undercurrent of something much more than friendship, as they struggle their way through absent and emotionally absent parents, mental illness, and the perils of figuring oneself out. Watching August try to help Jack as his visions grew more present was both deeply touching and heartbreaking. An interesting tale with an unexpected conclusion.

Please excuse typos/name misspellings. Entered on screen reader.
Karla
Mar 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Karla by: Lola
***4 stars!***

This was such an unexpectedly good book!

“The Wicker King” was imaginative the way the story was crafted was simply brilliant and the pictures at the beginning of each chapter took creativity to another level. The friendship and connection between the MC was so deep I could clearly see why they were both so depended on each other. The things they went through was so heartbreaking but no matter what they had each other’s. I have to say reading the author’s note made me appreciate th
...more
Acqua
Jul 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Why didn't anyone tell me this book ended with a m/m/f polyamorous relationship?
I would have read it sooner. I mean, it's polyamory representation in YA without any gross cheating/misunderstanding plotlines...
I don't consider it a spoiler any more than it would be a spoiler to say that this book is m/m - because it does focus more on that part of the relationship - or about mental illness, and I don't understand why no one said it explicitly.
Did everyone miss it?
Also! Kink rep (D/s) in YA!

The Wi
...more
⚔ Silvia ⚓
Oh fucking hell

_____
"psychological young adult thriller that follows two friends struggling as one spirals into madness" sounds pretty awesome if you ask me. Bonus points for bi rep!
Optimist ♰King's Wench♰
I loved this so much. I read the whole thing in one day!

How the page colors slowly changed from white to gray to black along with the incorporation of the playlists and little trinkets from their story added to the tension. I don't know if that really comes through in the kindle edition but it has an impact and adds a layer of foreboding that I reveled in.



This is a coming of age story told from August's perspective of him and his best friend Jack who, because of the deficiencies of their parents
...more
Alana • thebookishchick
Jan 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary, fantasy
“But your best is not good enough sometimes.”… “Sometimes… you have to stop trying and just let someone else try their best. In order to survive.”

I read this book in January with the Dragons & Tea Book Club and WOW this book completely annihilated my soul, especially the author's note. Jack and August are two friends, with not the best home situations, who are literally doing the best they can. Or at least, what they think is the best they can given the circumstances.

Jack, is showing signs t
...more
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K. Ancrum grew up in Chicago Illinois. She attended Dominican University to study Fashion Merchandising, 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 moonlights as a legal assistant and goblin who skulks about writing in the corner of Starbucks."

Other books in the series

The Wicker King (2 books)
  • The Legend of the Golden Raven (The Wicker King #1.5)
“I never said I didn’t feel the same,” Jack said harshly. “Just because I don’t see the kingdom doesn’t mean it doesn’t still exist,” Jack said furiously. “As long as one of us remembers it, it still counts. 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.” 20 likes
“If you drop the weight you are carrying, it is okay. You can build yourself back up out of the pieces.” 13 likes
More quotes…