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Reviews of Icarus by K. Ancrum

Icarus

by K. Ancrum

Icarus by K. Ancrum X
Icarus by K. Ancrum
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  • Published:
    Mar 2024, 400 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Isabella Zhou
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About this Book

Book Summary

Perfect for fans of Adam Silvera and Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, this suspenseful queer YA romance from critically acclaimed author K. Ancrum reimagines the tale of Icarus as a star-crossed love story between a young art thief and the son of the man he's been stealing from—think Portrait of a Thief for YA readers.

Icarus Gallagher is a thief. He steals priceless art and replaces it with his father's impeccable forgeries. For years, one man—the wealthy Mr. Black—has been their target in revenge for his role in the death of Icarus's mother. To keep their secret, Icarus adheres to his own strict rules to keep people, and feelings, at bay: Don't let anyone close. Don't let anyone touch you. And, above all, don't get caught.

Until one night, he does. Not by Mr. Black but by his mysterious son, Helios, now living under house arrest in the Black mansion. Instead of turning Icarus in, Helios bargains for something even more dangerous—a friendship that breaks every single one of Icarus's rules.

As reluctance and distrust become closeness and something more, they uncover the gilded cage that has trapped both their families for years. One Icarus is determined to escape. But his father's thirst for revenge shows no sign of fading, and soon it may force Icarus to choose: the escape he's dreamed of, or the boy he's come to love. Reaching for both could be his greatest triumph—or it could be his downfall.

Excerpt
Icarus
wednesday

It was dark in this house.

The air was still and warm.

Cat burglars rarely wear shoes. Instead, they wear socks. Icarus's were old and wool and his father had hand sewn fine black leather to the bottoms for traction.

Icarus crept across the edge of the main hall, then slipped into a drawing room.

Mr. Black's house had many useless spaces, many alcoves filled with junk. It was a monstrosity of metal and wood. Icarus had been here thousands of times over the years and he never felt comfortable. It was not a home; it was as empty and lifeless as a dollhouse.

Above a desk—protected from light and dust by a thin sheet—was Warhol's Red Lenin.

Icarus scanned the area around the painting, searching for the glint of a camera lens. He checked every time, like each visit was the first. It wasn't good to get too comfortable. Icarus crossed the room quickly and began dismantling the installation. He placed small tacks and screws on the floor, turned the protective glass ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

The titular protagonist of K. Ancrum's young adult novel Icarus lives a double life that mixes the mundane and inexplicable. By day, he is like any other high school senior, managing his classes, navigating student cliques, and preparing for the frightening and exhilarating independence lurking just beyond graduation. By night, his life dips into the bizarre and even outlandish — Icarus is a thief at the behest of his art restorationist father, Angus, breaking into nearby Mr. Black's mansion to replace genuine artwork with Angus's forgeries. But his isolation ends when, during one of his routine break-ins, navigating the expensive-art-laden, gothic dimensions of the mansion, he is caught by Mr. Black's entrapped son, Helios, who only asks for company and friendship. An unlikely intimacy forms between these two young adults as they find warmth with each other away from their broken family backgrounds — a sense of belonging that naturally progresses into star-crossed romance. Icarus is an ode to intimacy. Ancrum's writing is unafraid to get up close and personal — as Helios "caught [Icarus's] arm quick and pushed him bodily up against the bookshelf," Icarus realizes that he "had never had someone this close pressed along every inch of him, and it was more than he could take."..continued

Full Review Members Only (956 words)

(Reviewed by Isabella Zhou).

Media Reviews

Booklist (starred review)
Beautifully written...Psychologically acute, subtle, and sophisticated.

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
The sparse prose in this unconventional, must-read of a trauma-infused borderline thriller is packed with emotional breadth.

Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Via lyrical language that winningly captures the magic and dreamlike aura of young love, Ancrum (Murder of Crows) expertly weaves together brief, propulsive chapters brimming with riveting action, powerful emotion, and deeply felt romance. In this intimate poetic reimagining of the Icarus myth, Ancrum crafts a subversive triumph that is a love letter both to healing from trauma and to the importance of connection and empathy.

Author Blurb Aiden Thomas, Three-Time New York Times Bestselling Author of Cemetery Boys, The Sunbearer Trials, and Lost in the Never Woods
Beautiful, brilliant, and bold, K. Ancrum proves once again that not only is she one of the best storytellers of this generation, but a true poet, as well. Icarus is the perfect blend of an exciting heist, poetic prose, and an aching romance between two star-crossed lovers. Absolutely unputdownable!

Author Blurb Olivia A. Cole, author of Dear Medusa
Rhythmic. Moody. A book of aching. K. Ancrum tells a story you can't get out of your skin.

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Beyond the Book

Icarus and Helios in Greek Mythology

Daedalus Forming the Wings of Icarus out of Wax, black-and-white illustration showing Icarus standing in front of his father with one hand stretched over his head The titular protagonist of K. Ancrum's young adult novel Icarus denies that his name is an allusion to the famous character from Greek mythology and reveals that his mother christened him after the scientific name of a beloved fern, Icarus filiformis. Nonetheless, Icarus's denial of this reference only draws more attention to the resonance of his mythological namesake throughout the book.

In the original myth and Ancrum's retelling, Icarus's story is inseparable from his father's. Like the art restorationist Angus in Ancrum's book, Icarus's father in the myth, Daedalus, is an artist. According to Socrates in one Platonic dialogue, Daedalus's sculptures had to be tied down because they so captured the essence of life that they ...

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