The Wicker King – 4/5
The Legend of the Golden Raven – 2/5
CW: mental illness, hallucinations, neglect, and codependent relationship
Since I read these books back to back, I thought that I would be smart to kind of review these in the same post. I’m going to talk about The Wicker King first, then get into The Legend of the Golden Raven. All clear? All good? Yeah? Good.
This story is about a codependent relationship between August and Jack that worsens and changes as Jack’s delusions worsen.
And, that’s basically the story. Jack has extreme delusions of a fantasy world come to life, one that August can’t see but actively participates in throughout the story. I have issues with this, honestly, but I think that Ancrum showed accurately the experience of teens. She really grasped it and I found that impressive.
I understand codependency. A long, long time ago, I dated someone who tried to create that kind of relationship with me. Now, I don’t do codependency well. This was long before I figured out that I wasn’t just ace, but I was aroace. So, I don’t do romantic relationships well.
In short, I pulled away. I didn’t allow that kind of relationship to begin. But I still understand it extremely well.
What I liked about this was how subtle the story was with a polyam relationship and BDSM themes. It was lovely to see the actualities of teens figuring out their sexuality and what they like in a subtle way. It didn’t need to be a whole subplot for the story. It was really refreshing.
However, I couldn’t divorce myself from my clinical hat that I constantly wear. I have a degree in psych and (by the time this review is published) I’ll be starting as off my life as a social worker.
I couldn’t stop thinking about how unhealthy and unsexy this relationship was, how I wasn’t rooting for August and Jack to get together, how I honestly couldn’t see a part of this relationship that worked and wanted to work.
I find codependent relationships very unsexy and very wrong. If there’s that kind of relationship, it’s best to separate, have therapy relating to it, and then decide if it’s okay. And that goes for romantic relationships and friendships. My clinical hat was screaming about this.
And that goes into the ending. I didn’t like the ending with Jack’s delusions; I thought it was a bit too easy and convenient. I also didn’t like the ending with the relationship. Again, it was my clinical hat. It was me, really. I can acknowledge that.
As for the novella, The Legend of the Golden Raven, I didn’t like it as much. It was still good, but I couldn’t get into it as much. It just didn’t interest me like I wanted it to. Which was a shame, but oh well.
Overall, I’d read another book by Ancrum. I’m looking forward to her new book that’s coming out in 2019. I might have said that I had issues with the relationship presented, but it was well-written and felt so authentic that I was able to be all clinical. Sure, it took away from my experience but the way I wanted to shake characters was so real. I could see myself counseling them in some way.
Have you read either of these? What did you think?
What are books (or movies and TV shows) that portray a codependent relationship?