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3.55  ·  Rating Details ·  865 Ratings  ·  195 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)
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Bobbi The numeral demarcates that he is the eighth of his name so it is pronounced "The Eighth".
Shelly It is all fairly PG
Not very violent - there are a couple of battle scenes but nothing described with too much gore.
Henry frequently sees a vision of a…more
It is all fairly PG
Not very violent - there are a couple of battle scenes but nothing described with too much gore.
Henry frequently sees a vision of a ghost, that could be a bit scary.
There are no sex scenes - although the boys make some lewd comments about Catherine of Aragon.
Miscarriage is mentioned often.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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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
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
Oct 19, 2014 Kara rated it liked it
Shelves: tudor-fiction
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
Feb 06, 2013 Melody rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: alamw13
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
Jan 22, 2012 Aprille rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 28, 2013 Diane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 03, 2011 Natalie rated it it was amazing
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!
Stacie (MagicOfBooks)
I will also do a video review here at my channel:

"VIII" by H.M. Castor tells the story of a young boy named Hal who is haunted by the ghosts of his family's violent past. Though his older brother is next in line to become king, Hal is planning his own course to restore the glory of England. And he is destined to become one of England's most notorious kings---King Henry VIII.

Not many authors of historical fiction focus on Henry VIII. Most authors focus on the s
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)
Oct 29, 2011 Bella (Cheezyfeet Books) rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011-releases
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
Kamryn (GreyZone)
Jul 07, 2016 Kamryn (GreyZone) rated it really liked it
I first became enamored with the story of Henry VIII 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, excruciatin
Keith Smith
Sep 10, 2011 Keith Smith rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 20, 2012 Jasmine rated it liked it
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
Dec 15, 2013 Jen rated it really liked it
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
Elizabeth Moffat
Apr 17, 2012 Elizabeth Moffat rated it liked it
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!
Mar 16, 2013 Lorraine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
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.
Sep 14, 2014 MacKenzie rated it liked it
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."
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.
Nov 21, 2016 Marnie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What an interesting historical fiction of Henry Tudor growing up and taking the throne. While some say he was very evil and he was at times it appears that he suffered some kind of mental illness. He also was always power hungry. That much for sure is true. While I know that research goes into books to have some of the history correct. This novel portrays Henry having demons as a child and continues to grow and haunt him as he gets older. It even portrays his mother as maybe having some kind of ...more
Nov 29, 2016 Shelly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first half of this book is really good and I was so excited! I thought this was going to be a 5 star book. I was intrigued by the relationships between the characters, I enjoyed the first person narrative and thought that the setting took me back in time.

However, as other people have mentioned in their reviews, the second half of the book feels rushed, like the author is trying to cover too much. The intrigue vanished for me and the dialogue wasn't as good. I think the turning point was whe
Nov 22, 2015 Bridgett rated it really liked it
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
Rebecca- Books
Jan 22, 2012 Rebecca- Books rated it it was amazing
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
Small Review
Originally posted on Small Review

How many Tudor books are there?

Now how many are written from the perspective of Henry VIII?

VIII is the only book I know of that takes this approach (though if there are others, please share!) and for that alone I'd say it's worth reading.

At least for Tudor fans, because I'm really not sure it stands on its own for the non-Tudor fan. There's a lot of jumping around, and Henry VIII is not the most likable person so I wouldn't really recommend this to readers who ar
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
Isabella Madden
Oct 03, 2016 Isabella Madden rated it it was amazing
Great book! A modern take on historical fiction.
Oct 04, 2011 Amanda rated it liked it
Shelves: ya
The copy for VIII states that it will do "for Henry what Hilary Mantel did for Thomas Cromwell - VIII is Wolf Hall for the teen and crossover market." I don't dispute that VIII most certainly introduces the life of VIII, but I have definite misgivings about the novel.

Key amongst these is the pacing of the novel. Over half of VIII tackled the early life of Henry and his marriage to Catherine, after the death of his brother. The remaining half showed the rest of his reign and the other five wives.
Feb 25, 2015 Madeleine rated it liked it
Shelves: tudors, history
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
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What's The Name o...: SOLVED. Fiction about Henry VIII from childhood [s] 4 13 Aug 21, 2016 11:09AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Combine editions? 3 19 Feb 06, 2014 06:20AM  
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