Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “VIII” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  733 ratings  ·  175 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, 399 pages
Published October 1st 2011 by Templar Books (first published April 1st 2010)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about VIII, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about VIII

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
Best Books About Tudor England
152nd out of 471 books — 1,275 voters
Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. MaasDeception by C.J. RedwineBetween the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve TucholkeOrigin by Jennifer L. ArmentroutThe Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson
YA Books - Publishing August 2013
45th out of 69 books — 208 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,055)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
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
I'm still half asleep when I feel strong hands grabbing me.

We all know the story of Henry VIII, the man who left a string of ruined women in his wake in his quest for a son, the huge man staring out from the famous portrait, the man who caused Britain to be torn apart in religious conflict to divorce his wife. But at one point, that man was a boy. A boy who was never supposed to be king, a boy who only wanted to be a knight, a boy who loved his mother. What happened to that boy to turn him int
Kristin Taggart
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
Castor takes the currently popular theory that Henry VIII was insane and runs with it to tell Henry’s whole life for Henry’s own POV.

What is here is good – put overall it feels as though it is missing some pieces. The story skips over a few significant parts of his story in order to cram all 55 crazy years in there. On the one hand, it makes sense towards the end as he really starts to go over the deep end, but on the other hand, it feels rushed and again, like parts were left out.

What was good
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
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
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
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!
I first became enamored with the story of Henry VII when I read a book about one of his daughters, Elizabeth, in the fourth grade. And yet, the only real mental picture I had of this notorious king was that infamous painting of him standing there in four hundred pounds of robes. Not exactly charming.

I read this novel in one sitting after my friend--who has an opinion of books that I greatly trust--told me, "I have never gone from cheering for a character to wanting him to have a slow, excruciati
Lorry Chwazik
A fascinating take for YA's on Henry VIII and the Tudor legacy. Telling the story from "Hal's" point of view, Castor seamlessly recounts his descent from a brilliantly competent warrior and prince to a despotic, ill, and tortured ruler, whose legacy arguably is more influential than any other king's in shaping his nation. The influences in Henry's life are ones included from his childhood relationships with his parents and their political intrigues which adds fascinating insights not normally ex ...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
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
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
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
I loved all the history involved in this book about Henry the 8th. I was fascinated to see how he grew up since we know what he did when he was king and how many wives he had. I loved seeing how he was treated by his mother and father who both were affected by the War of the Roses. The way him and his brother Arthur treated each other growing up and the love Henry showed Catherine after Arthur died really caught my attention. If only Henry would have been happy with Catherine in the end and not ...more
Kenzie K.
Very interesting book, but the dialogue hurts. Henry the VIII isn't going to say "By the way" or "Seriously?" any more than I'm going to say "thou" or "doth."
3.5 Stars... Interesting but not particularly riveting. I also felt that it was a bit rushed, and wish more time had been devoted to details and transitions.
The book starts out with Henry VIII as a young boy being whisked away to the Tower of London while his father is defending his throne against an impersonator of one of the young princes that were lost in the Tower years before. It's a little awkward at first because the author writes the book in first person, and I am not used to reading large stories this way. It took a bit of getting used to. Also the book is aimed toward a younger audience, so the chapters can be extremely short. With a book ...more
Lauren Fidler
you want to know why there are so few historical fiction novels featuring henry viii as a first person protagonist?

because, on paper, he was kind of a dick.

look, when you know the punchline - that he was married more times than a kardashian and that he offed two of his exes (at least), cast away two others, and was faithful to none - you have an impossible problem ahead of you.

how do you make the character charming enough to buy that six women would risk their lives to be his lover?

this book doe
I picked this book up because I was looking for a way to dive a little deeper into the life of King Henry VIII without the tedium and length of a nonfiction book. Frankly, I knew he had beheaded two of his wives and separated England from the Catholic Church but that was about all I knew.

H.M. Castor’s VIII definitely gave me insight into Henry’s life. I enjoyed the thought and story that went into why Henry was the way that he was; the haunting by the young boy was a great thread through the who
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
What a disappointment this ended up being! I loved the concept...examining the roots of what caused Henry VIII's erratic and often contradictory behavior. Castor adopts a newly popularized conceit that Henry VIII was simply born, predisposed, to be crazy and paranoid and runs with it. The first half of this book is excellent: well-written, vivid with characterization. She makes a good argument for her characterization of Henry and explored his relationship of his father in a new and interesting ...more
Mar 09, 2015 Joan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: English history fans, esp Tudor history
This was really impressive. It lost that last star for being hazy on dates and ages. I spent a fair amount of time trying to figure out how old Henry VIII was at most chapters. It basically wants to answer the question: what turned Henry into such a horrible person later on in life? Some fascinating encounters with his parents are listed that could well have warped the young VIII. I was not convinced by some of this: namely that he was that shocked and disillusioned when various rulers broke tre ...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
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!
This book kind of freaked me out! Not so much that I couldn't read it, but enough that I did not want to read it at night. I understand how some people were upset about the modern diction. It made the book more accessible to modern teens, but also jerked me out the story because it was too modern. I also can understand how some people felt that the second half of the book went too quickly. There were 200 ish pages until the end of the book when Henry first sees Anne Boleyn; I thoughts hat the he ...more
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!
This is the story of Henry VIII, the infamous king of England. This is his story from his boyhood through to his death. It is an attempt to understand the decisions that he made that lead to his many wives, and so many executions. It is a story of a haunted youth that turns into a haunted king who inflicts his will upon those around him.

I picked up this book because I was curious about Henry VIII. I knew about his wives, but not much more beyond the famous portrait of him.

I finished the book bec
Helene Harrison
Review - It didn't live up to my expectations. The beginning was quite good, but as it progressed it felt a bit forced and empty at times. After Henry's accession to the throne it felt rushed. Up until that point I was really enjoying it, and I thought it would be quote good - I didn't expect it to cover Henry VIII's whole reign. The creepy illusion that Henry kept seeing wasn't really properly explained at all.

Genre? - Historical / Drama / Romance

Characters? - Henry VIII / Katherine of Aragon /
Clearwater Public Library Staff Picks
Castor wrote an exceptional book. She covered Henry's life from the age of about 6 through his death. She did a wonderful job of portraying his character, and his personalities downward spiral. What I truly loved about this book what that she added the twist of a ghost story. An early experience Henry had in the Tower of London, where he encountered family ghosts, would haunt him forever. As would a prophecy he heard as a young child, that he thought (perhaps, perhaps not) applied to him. Castor ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 68 69 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Combine editions? 3 19 Feb 05, 2014 01:20PM  
  • The Rogue's Princess (The Lacey Chronicles, #3)
  • Victoria Rebels
  • A Moment Comes
  • In Too Deep
  • Summer of the Mariposas
  • Tarnish
  • Nobody's Secret
  • Brotherhood
  • The True Adventures of Nicolo Zen
  • Still Star-Crossed
  • Etched in Clay: The Life of Dave, Enslaved Potter and Poet
  • A Soldier's Secret: The Incredible True Story of Sarah Edmonds, Civil War Hero
  • Cinders & Sapphires (At Somerton, #1)
  • Seeing Red
  • The Redheaded Princess
  • Second Impact
  • The Queen's Promise
  • Becoming Ben Franklin: How a Candle-Maker's Son Helped Light the Flame of Liberty

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »