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3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  384 ratings  ·  96 reviews
Destined for greatness; tormented by demons… VIII is the story of Hal: a young, handsome, gifted warrior, who believes he has been chosen to lead his people. But he is tormented by the ghosts of his family's violent past and, once he rises to power, he turns to murder and rapacious cruelty. He is Henry VIII. The Tudors have always captured the popular imagination. In VIII,...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published October 1st 2011 by Templar Books (first published April 1st 2010)
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The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa GregoryThe Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison WeirThe Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa GregoryThe Constant Princess by Philippa GregoryThe Queen's Fool by Philippa Gregory
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Community Reviews

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Kirsty (overflowing library)
If I had to think of how to sell this book I would describe it as being along the lines of the Tudor TV series but toned down to be more suitable for a YA audience. I enjoyed every page and thought it was a prime example of how YA historical fiction should be written.

I do get quite a bee in my bonnet whe it comes to YA historical fiction. I get sent a lot of it for review because I am a history teacher and I have found of late that some of the stuff out there is just too weighty and too boring t...more
I wandered into Big W tonight, with 20 minutes to find a book.

After wading through the miles of wasted paper in their book section, I came up with this:

Dear Big W,

YA fiction does not automatically mean 'paranormal romance'.

I want to read something GOOD.

Finally I found VIII (which, I've now figured out, is the number 8). I picked it up, read the blurb, flicked open a few pages and decided to buy it.

I'm glad I did. I really enjoyed this book. I finished this in a few hours, accompanied...more
Owlcat Mountain
I don't use star ratings, so please read my review!

(Description nicked from B&

“Hal is a young man of extraordinary talents, astonishing warrior skills, sharp intelligence, and a fierce sense of honor and virtue. He believes he is destined for greatness. His father wishes he would disappear. Haunted by the ghosts of his family’s violent past, Hal embarks on a journey that leads him to absolute power—and brings him face to face with his demons.”

I have an odd fascination with British his...more
I got this book free at ALA Midwinter.

I have to say that I whipsawed back and forth and back again with this book. When I first picked it up I was giddy, elated, crazy to have it in my hand. I'm a bit of a Tudor fan, you see, and this sounded so wonderful I could hardly wait to get home and crack it open.

Then I started it and it was... first person? Present tense? Really? Ack. (I'm going to hate this book, I think.)

But there was Elizabeth of York. And that precious boy, talking in a voice that...more
I guess a lot of readers are fascinated by the Tudor family, myself included. This is a great way to get an insider view of the dramatic sixteenth century in England, when one man's megalomania changed history. Castor starts with Henry in his youth, when he was a handsome, skilled warrior, frustrated in his role as the second son. Henry believes fervently that he is destined to rule as one of England's greatest kings. At seventeen years-old, he gets his chance.

The focus on his youth, filled with...more
I thoroughly enjoyed this book,not only for the wonderfully woven story but also for all it taught me of a period of history that I love. The story was so accessible and the characters so well drawn. The visions Henry kept seeing gave the book a real sinister and spine-tingling tone which really captured the imagination. A real page turner that I really didn't want to put down-a fabulous read!
Bella (Cheezyfeet Books)
I didn't know much about Henry VIII, apart from that he had six wives and he was fat. I didn't know the order of the wives, only that they were divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived. Now that I've read VIII though, I feel like I know a lot more.
I haven't read many historical novels, but I love them so much. It doesn't matter what time period, any time will do for me! VIII was probably one of the better ones I have read, because it was so informative and I learned so much about...more
Hannah (Jaedia)
Destined for greatness, tormented by demons..

Hal goes through life tormented by apparitions that nobody but him sees. As a youth, his grandiosity is dazzling, during the height of his prowess as a warrior he is bold and inspiring, only to drop off later in life after a near-fatal accident renders him unable to be as active as he once was only for him to become a sad shell of his former self.. This is the life story of Henry VIII.

Well this book was amazing. From the very beginning we are greeted...more
Keith Smith
This is by far the most enjoyable book I have read for a long time. The publishers say it is for the crossover market ie teens to adult, and it would certainly please either teen or adult. It is in essence the life of Henry Viii as seen through his eyes. That is twist enough, but the fact that he is haunted by his family history makes this a visceral and gripping story indeed. ‘Surprisingly scary’ Charlie Higson called it. He is certainly right.

The fact that Harriet is what I call a proper histo...more
The beginning really captured me; it was mystical, medevil but at the same time relateable. In fact, I've got no problems whatsoever with the first half, or the first book if you will. But once I got into the second half/second book, I felt as though it would have functioned far better as a sequel, and if I had the option of borrowing them separately, I may have been entirely satisfied with the first and not bothered reading the extension. As it was, I found the second half to be less captivatin...more
Emily Jamestine
Les éditions Hachette m’ont vendu du rêve : "Oubliez les Tudors (Une de mes séries préférés). Oubliez Jonathan Rhys Meyers (Un de mes acteurs préférés jouant dans la dite série). Harriet Castor vous raconte Henry VIII, toi d’Angleterre (Figure célèbre qui m’intéresse particulièrement), comme vous ne l’avez jamais vu." Illico presto je me suis empressée de ramener l’objet de ma convoitise à la maison alors même que j’ai fermement l’habitude de ne pas vouloir débourser un centime pour un livre jeu...more
Bethany Richter voight
VIII. Henry the 8th. One of my absolute favorite personalities in all of history. I love the Tudor era so I was expecting great things from a YA perspective of this conflicting man.

The first half is awesome. I could have done without the ghostly boy bits, but it adds allure for a teen. Castor really took her time with setting up Henry's childhood and formative years. Too often in a fictional biography, the younger years receive little attention. I was captivated by Henry's relationship with his...more
VIII by H. M. Castor
Simon & Schuster, 2013
Historical Fiction
432 pages
Recommended for grades 8+

If you're like me, and many students we have might be, the only thing that comes to mind when I think of Henry the 8th is: the famous portrait of a portly man with a plumed hat of some kind, a number of wives, and a number of them dead. Pathetic, I knew nothing of this legendary king.
VIII opens when Henry, Hal, is only a young boy. Readers spend the majority of this lengthy novel getting to know Hen...more
Elizabeth Moffat
This is the story of the infamous Henry VIII, known as "Hal" for the YA market. I didn't realise this was a YA novel but it did not prevent my enjoyment of it and it would probably be a three and a half star rating if I could. Quite an entertaining account of Henry although I did feel it was slightly rushed at the end with the wives. But hey, he did get through a fair few of them!
Lorraine Taylor
I really enjoyed this new, haunting take on the familiar story of Henry VIII. The first half was excellent covering Henry's early life but I felt as though the second half tried to cover too much ground and I'd have preferred more detail of his later marriages even if it meant a sequel!
I got 200 pages into this and just had to set it aside. I found the story repetitive and plodding. Only for those who are fascinated by Tudor England and Henry VIII.
Forget the Henry VIII that you know, king and tyrant this is Henry VIII the spoiled brat.
The story of Henry VIII as told through his eyes. It starts when he's a young boy and goes right up to the moment of his death. I enjoyed this to a certain degree although some of the important historical facts were glossed over but I did bear in mind that this was aimed at teenagers. The author stressed Henry's desire for a son but there was no mention of the boy he begat on Bessie Blount, one of his well-known mistresses. Also not mentioned was Mary Boleyn who was his mistress before he fell f...more
If you're looking for an accurate historical fiction novel about the life of Henry the Eighth, as specific as that desire may be, this is it. Also, if you have a male student who is interested in the whole "knights and castles" era, this is a great book. It's filled with action and subterfuge and a whole lot of sword fighting and jousting. Also also, if you have a daughter who reads Philippa Gregory's works (like The Other Boleyn Girl) and your son wants a similar book but, you know, less girly...more
3.5/5-the ending really lifted this one.

Source: Received an e-ARC through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

The Tudor period is one of my favorite times in history and once about which there is a plethora of material. And yet this look at Henry VIII from childhood to death still seemed unique enough to stand out and be worthy of a read.

After finishing, I feel like I received a lot from this book. It is interesting to see how Henry's childhood shapes his future particularly with this fir...more
Beth Kemp
Fascinating, engaging and fresh presentation of a well-known figure.

In many ways, reading a fictionalisation of the life of Henry VIII was always going to be like watching a car crash in slow motion. We know (at least broadly) where it is all going, where he'll end up, and I'm confident that most of us would go into the novel with little expectation of being sympathetic to Henry (or Hal, as he is known in the book).

And yet, H. M. Castor makes us root for Hal, longing for him to make good choices...more
Lady K

Harriet Castor revient avec habileté sur la vie et le règne d’Henri VIII d’Angleterre. Un roi connu pour sa cruauté et ses six femmes – aux destins plus ou moins malheureux. On le suit depuis son enfance, jusqu’à sa mort. On voit combien sa vie était difficile, entre un père aussi méprisant que méfiant et un frère sûr de sa suprématie. On ne cesse de lui répéter qu’il n’est rien, qu’il ne sert à rien. Pourtant, en son fort intérieur, il est persuadé...more
I loved this book. I have to admit I was a little disappointed when I found out it was a book for young adults, but being a Tudor fan I decided to give it a go anyway and was glad I did. It is told from the point of view of Henry VIII (or Hal) as he goes through his life; from being the “spare” prince who spent his time with his mother to being one of the most notorious Kings who ever lived.

Being a young adult novel, there are some parts of his life that are missed out or skipped over. This is e...more
Sharon Martin
A descriptive and historical novel that not only kept me wanting to read it but it also taught me a lot more about one of our most famous monarchs. The author writes as if she is Henry VIII himself, giving you a great insight into how his life was shaped for him, by the neglect of his father and the love from his mother.

His early life was always full of conflict between love and hate, but more importantly his belief in the prophecy and demons that haunted him. Reading the novel you feel as if yo...more
Hazel West
Thoughts on the Overall Book: I wasn't entirely sure of what to expect from this book, so I didn't really have any preconceived notions about it. I'm not a huge fan of this time period, nor of Henry VIII but I thought the premise of this book was interesting so I wanted to give it a go. It was definitely an interesting and engaging read, even though I was never really attached to any of the characters in it.

Cover--Yea or Nay: I always love covers with angsty guys holding swords, and this is no e...more
A fascinating look at the man at the center of English Tudor period history. I have so often overlooked Henry VIII as a person, but rather seen him through the lens of his wives and children. Most of this book is spent in his younger years: his childhood and early adulthood. Time with each wife is briefer and briefer. This isn't a biography, but a novelization & so focuses on Henry's psychology. As a child, he is loving and intimidated by his father and older brother. He has a drive to excel...more
VIII is a historical fictional novel based on the life of Henry VIII. The author is Harriet Castor who as a historian has tried to make the fictional story as historically accurate as possible. By writing the story in the first person and present tense she has let the reader connect to Hal (Henry) by seeing the world through his eyes and achieving a vivid sense of his world. Castor has always been obsessed with Tudor history, studying it for her whole life, which has inspired her to write this a...more
Amy (Turn the Page)
4.5 stars.
This is a great book to pick up if you’re fan of the infa­mous Tudor king, no mat­ter what your age. VIII tells the story of Henry from a young prince through to his death and Cas­tor really suc­ceeds in bring­ing the prince to life, giv­ing emo­tion and moti­va­tion to her care­fully crafted char­ac­ter, while stay­ing true to history.

There’s a lot to cover in just one book and inevitably some areas of Henry’s life are glossed over slightly, par­tic­u­larly some of his mar­riages. Ho...more
Rebecca- Books
See Full Review at:

Review: Wow. Just, erm, wow.
The last couple of days I have been incredibly ill, like 'I am not moving from this bed' ill. So one of the only forms of entertainment was reading and boy, when you have a gripping novel like this, it is easy to spend 3 hours reading continuously.

Like I said above, I know a LOT about Henry VIII, like probably the rest of the country, and more recently, the period of history leading up to his reign. Before hi...more
Joanne Hall
I have to confess, as a reader, there are two things that put me off any book right away – writing in the first person, and the present tense. “VIII” is both of these things, so it’s a massive credit to H M Castor that my prejudices were won over by the end of the second page. Indeed, having finished the book, it’s impossible to imagine it written in any other way, so well does the narrative voice fit the story. And that voice, captured here in wholly convincing fashion, is that of one of the mo...more
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