I’ve been drawn more and more to psychological thrillers. Now throw a possible m/m romance in the mix and I’m sold.
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.
The Wicker King is a lush tale of co-dependence, magic, and how far you would go for someone you love.
Like August, we’re slowly introduced to the world of the Wicker King. The world itself is lush and confusing, a fantasy version of the past living unseen over top of ours. I was disappointed we never really went there or explored much of it.
The extremely short chapters helped the pacing and tone of the novel. The more Jack sees of the other world, the less time August has to help him and figure out what the hell is really going on. The shorter chapters really highlight the urgency and help you really glean the gravity of the situation.
The graphics and photos involved were perfect. They were never distracting and were always there to enhance the prose, not fill in what the prose couldn’t do.
I would consider this an LGBTQ+ book, even though no one labels themselves on the page. It is hinted in the summary about their feelings so I feel confident in my categorization.
The biggest thing I loved about Jack and August was how messy their relationship is. Honestly, they’re a mess. Their homes lives suck. The romantic lives they have apart from each other are messy and complicated, filled with jealousy and confusion. In their own relationship, there’s a power struggle. August himself admits it’s probably borderline abusive. But humans are messy and so are our relationships. I’m not saying this a healthy relationship or one you should strive to have by any means, but it’s so refreshing to saw an LGBTQ+ relationship that messy, raw, and real. Too often it’s a fairy tale, perfect ending or a devastatingly heartbreaking one. We’re human beings too and it’s okay to write us that way.
Overall, this book should be on your TBR. What a better time to read it then the spooky, fall season?