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I'm the King of the Castle

3.41  ·  Rating Details ·  2,118 Ratings  ·  234 Reviews
I'm the King of the Castle
Paperback, 224 pages
Published October 26th 1973 by Penguin (first published 1970)
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Lyndsey Kong It is very evident that Hill has conveyed an overwhelmingly dark message through this book. The isolation, lack of love and understanding between the…moreIt is very evident that Hill has conveyed an overwhelmingly dark message through this book. The isolation, lack of love and understanding between the characters seem almost appalling. Perhaps Hill's intention is to remind us the grim and severe consequences that can result in children who are neglected and ignored. Although in a rather depressing manner, Hill manages to put emphasis on the significance of parental support and healthy family relationships on the positive development of children. (less)

Community Reviews

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Vrsha (PeekAtMyBookReview)
This novel reflects the anger and breakdown issues of the 70s and Susan Hill portrayed the issue of bullying in a poignant manner.


Mental bullying and the pressure it adds on a child. Kingshaw is the characters who get bullied.


What angered me is how Kingshaw’s mother thinks only for herself and forgets her son completely as soon as she meets a new man.


Susan Hill was able to show us the gradual mental breakdown of Kingshaw till it reached a point where life became unbearable.


Click On The Color Sp
May 17, 2013 Maria rated it it was ok
I had to read this book for English class, and from page one I was bitter about having to do so. Having been stuck with a 'Lord of the Flies' wannabe instead of the glorious Great Gatsby which was oh-so conveniently pushed off the reading list just that year, I moped about and only got around to finishing this book today, half a year after it was assigned to us - a record, I think, for a book that takes all of maybe 3 to 5 hours to read.

I can now say, with no reservations whatsoever, that I abs
M.J. Moore
Jan 31, 2012 M.J. Moore rated it really liked it
Wow; that was exhausting! I don't mean that it was a mentally tiring book to read; just that it was emotionally over-powering. Although things are pretty damn bleak for him from the start, what tore me apart was the way young Charles Kingshaw, the lead character, was given little morsels of hope all the way through, only to have them unceremoniously ripped away from him every time, by Hooper, his bully cum step brother; and by the adults in his life, who were so concerned with their own happines ...more
Georgia Darcie
Sep 27, 2011 Georgia Darcie rated it did not like it
I had to study this for my GCSE English a while ago... This is a horrific story. Why anyone would want to read about developing torment and isolation for an entire story, I have no idea. I recall nothing pleasant about this story, HOWEVER it was written well with interesting symbolism throughout the book, and I find this upsetting, even frustrating(?) that the author should have put such fabulous talent and effort into creating something so dark and painful.
Oct 05, 2012 Annikin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
If you'd like to read about two stupid brats bickering for 200 hundred pages, this is your book. It was not creepy in the way that I hoped it would be, just annoying. The parents were two of the most idiotic characters I've had to read about in a while. Their sheer ignorance and blindness to Charles' condition made me want to shoot myself in the face.
Apr 01, 2013 Gayatri rated it it was ok
Ok guys, after reading your comments on my initial rating of 4 stars I agree. I can't really rate something on the premise of how good the writing is, if I absolutely and truly hated the characters. I mean I stand by what I said earlier the writing is good, except the bit about the crow I mean since when to crows chase people across fields? It's completely absurd. But I absolutely despised Mrs Helena Kingshaw, what is wrong with her? She puts hooper (who by the way is a cowardly, whining...ugh) ...more
Sep 25, 2013 Bea rated it it was ok
I'm doing this book for my igcse and honestly this picture sums up me and everyone else's feeling for the entire book! :

and then are teacher asks us if we like the book and we all know if we say we don't she'll be pissed so all of us are just like:

GOD. this is my life.
Creepy. Disturbing. Emotionally exhausting.

But in my opinion, I'm the King of the Castle is one of the most well-written novels out there. It seems wrong to say that this is one of my favorite without me appearing to be someone twisted and all that, but let me tell you: this is probably one of the most interesting books that I've read for ages.

This should be more popular, and this definitely shouldn't be priced at 10 pesos (though of course I am not complaining about that part). I will admit, I
Marketa Sisakova
Mar 20, 2013 Marketa Sisakova rated it did not like it
I am not going to whine about this book in a way many people did. In other words, I don't blame Susan Hill for making it "way too depressing and creepy" just because I realize that this is just the way she writes. Also- stating that you hate this book because one particular female character irritated you to an extent that you considered "shooting yourself in the face" is not a very good reason for rating it so low. After all, well-written antagonists should make you feel disgusted with them.

Jul 28, 2015 Summer rated it liked it
If any of you follow my read list, you'll know that this is a very unusual book to pop up in my reviews. My taste in books tends to stray towards YA or something romance-y. This is the complete opposite. And I mean complete.

I'm the King of the Castle is a book written for adults. It challenges them to think about whether a child's personality and their mentality is shaped by family circumstances, or whether they're born like that.

Naturally we think "Of course they're shaped by their family! Who
Oct 22, 2008 Jenne rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, reviewed
Read this one for school and hated it.
Feb 16, 2015 Marnie rated it it was ok
Finished this a little while ago but I have no wifi due to moving house! Was O.K.
Dec 06, 2012 Geertje rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya, thriller
I didn't like this book. I now what it tries to say, about what isolation can do, about bullying and injustice, but I didn't really feel it. To me, Hooper, Mrs. Kingshaw and Mr. Hooper were nothing more than stock characters, almost caricatures. Hooper only has to point to Kingshaw to be believed, while Kingshaw can say whatever he likes: no-one will listen to him. This passed the point of being annoying till it got downright stupid.
Apr 01, 2011 Loz rated it did not like it
It is well written, but the subject matter was too depressing for me. We had to study it in school, so I wouldn't choose to read a book like this anyway.
Oct 08, 2008 Wendy rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Nobody, not even Hitler
This was the crappiest, most horrible, terrible, crappy, stupid, dumb, horrible, stupid, stupid, stupid book I have ever read.
Ben Carroll
Apr 25, 2011 Ben Carroll rated it liked it
I'm the King of the Castle is about the deep isolation and injustice possible in a child's world. Susan Hill is clearly aiming at fear in all its incarnations, but the only fear it really captures is that of being right in an adult world that is wrong; of being misjudged by everyone around you; of having nobody who shares your particular sanity.

Being a child in the circumstances of Charles Kingshaw is to live in a system that makes no sense; a world in which you need to speak out, but has no mec
Hakeem Insaf
Jan 03, 2015 Hakeem Insaf rated it really liked it
From the very first page, the book started with death in it. Even the cover is of a young child outside but not smiling which has an eerie feel to it. This book is about the theme of childhood but the dark side of childhood. Most books talk about the happiness and the joy of childhood while this book explores a side that most people would't like to read. Even though I disliked what was happening to the characters in the book, I was still very interested in the book.

It is about two children who h
Adam Crossley
Apr 16, 2015 Adam Crossley rated it really liked it
What a truly disturbing and miserable book. At the same time it is certainly well written and evocative.
It accomplishes its goals in making readers confront the brutality of bullying and the darker parts of the human spirit.

This is an IGCSE coursebook in a class I am teaching, and I think it will work well as a text for analysis of language. However, I do wonder why the texts often considered literature force students to confront such grim views of human existence. Is that inherently of greater
Apr 22, 2012 Tessa rated it liked it
Horrible, brutal and cruel. Charles is tortured physical and psychological. Edmund doesn't have a single piece of soul in his heart. He is the best description of a human monster. How a child could get like that I don't understand. The author fails to describe it. Charles's mother is also ignorant and cruel. How can she love another child more than her own? That was hard to dig and accept. I've read this till the end in hope that he'll be able to find happiness, but his finding of it was relativ ...more
For me personally this story was far too distressing, but I do think it has a powerful message to put across to kids, particularly those 'alpha' leaders who may pick on other kids without thinking much of it to really consider their actions and the consequences.
Jan 04, 2013 Maira rated it it was ok
Only because it filled me with hate for one of the characters.
Sep 19, 2016 Lance rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Definitely not Secondary school children
I studied this book in secondary school (high school) in the UK. The teacher described it as a book "about bullying". I think if the book had been described to me a surreal quasi-supernatural fantasy set outside of the conventions of the contemporary world experiences by Western children today, I would not have found it so unpalatable. So, for anyone else who has experienced or been recommended this book as an example of a bullying story, I feel a kind of duty to explain just how unhelpful this ...more
Jan 12, 2015 Alex rated it really liked it
'I'm the King of the Castle' Is a book that has really blown my mind. From reading it I've realized that things as cruel as this really happen in real life. The book is about two young boys who clearly cannot get along, even though one of them attempts to form somewhat of a good relationship with the other at times, but without success. The characters in this book really force me to cringe at some times, specifically Mrs. Kingshaw and Mr. Hooper, the parents. The fact that they are so oblivious ...more
Jun 15, 2009 Andy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: when-i-was-a-boy
Two very different young boys have to get on and live together, as the father of one and the mother of the other start a relationship. I was in the fourth form (15 yrs old?) and it was a set book, as it has been for many years since.
As a school set book, we'd be asked to read a chapter ahead before the next class. Few of us ever did, of course, and we'd get caught out and be given essays or detentions as punishments or whatever. I was getting tired of this sort of stress, so one week, in the boo
Robin Fakes
'Im the king of the Castle' can be directed to a varied audience. It can be read and enjoyed by teens at the age of 14 and above. Although 'Im the King of the Castle' looks like a book for young teens or children it was originally written for parents and adults ,to show how cruel children can be and what could be the result of it, before entering the GCSE syllabus.
I think 'Im the King of the Castle' is a very moving yet twisted story. It inspects and goes through the minds of two young boys in a
Jan 04, 2015 Alex rated it liked it
Susan Hill's I'm the king of the castle is very widely thought out. She made her characters have a deeper understanding and story other than the basic information. Each character has had an event in life that has effected him/her, and she constantly switches views and perspectives between the characters so that we get each point of view. The whole book is written with one big basic problem but there are other smaller stories that build up to make the big problem descriptive. I feel that the rela ...more
Samar Barakat
May 01, 2013 Samar Barakat rated it liked it
Not a bad book, an easy read, about the nature of evil and how evil might lurk unrecognizably in our midst. It is made more interesting by its focus on childhood, as children are often associated with innocence and kindness, though usually in self-interest. Here we have a young boy whose evil is of the very worst adult kind, yet who is able to disguise it from the adults around him mainly because of his status as a child. I see this novel mainly as a critique of the parent-child relationship, an ...more
Melika Hota
Jan 04, 2015 Melika Hota rated it liked it
'I'm the King of the Castle' was quite a horrific novel but, it was well organised and thought out. The novel really captured the themes and aspects of childhood, isolation and nature through the use of character and setting. I enjoyed some parts, like when Kingshaw escaped to Hangwood and when he made a new friendship with Anthony Fielding. Those moments when Kingshaw got a chance to get away from Hooper's taunting regimes made me feel relieved. On the other hand, there were many things in this ...more
Nov 22, 2014 Tala added it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 12, 2015 Dylan rated it it was ok
'I'm the King of the Castle' is a pretty horrific novel. The novel really captured the themes and aspects of childhood, isolation and nature through the use of character (especially Kingshaw and Hooper) and the settings included throughout the novel. There were many things in this novel that I disliked and could have been improved. Such as the hateful relationship between the boys and they way Mrs.Kingshaw was around Mr.Hooper as if she was being fake to her own child. The ending of the novel wa ...more
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Susan Hill was born in Scarborough, North Yorkshire in 1942. Her hometown was later referred to in her novel A Change for the Better (1969) and some short stories especially "Cockles and Mussels".

She attended Scarborough Convent School, where she became interested in theatre and literature. Her family left Scarborough in 1958 and moved to Coventry where her father worked in car and aircraft factor
More about Susan Hill...

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