I'm the King of the Castle
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I'm the King of the Castle

3.45 of 5 stars 3.45  ·  rating details  ·  1,117 ratings  ·  130 reviews
'I didn't want you to come here.' So says the note that the boy Edmund Hooper passes to Charles Kingshaw upon his arrival at Warings. But, young Kingshaw and his mother have come to live with Hooper and his father in the ugly, isolated Victorian house for good.
Paperback, 224 pages
Published February 24th 1977 by Penguin Books (first published 1970)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,813)
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Georgia Darcie
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.
Maria
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...more
Annikin
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.
Gayatri
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
M.J. Moore
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
Jenne
Read this one for school and hated it.
Ping
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.
Ben Carroll
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...more
Anne
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...more
Lauren
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.
Maira
Only because it filled me with hate for one of the characters.
Samar Barakat
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
Andy
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...more
Sadie
I just finished studying this book for GCSE and did not enjoy it. It's just so creepy. But I gave it four out of five stars because the writing is brilliant - it is one of the most well written books I have read. The characters are convincing, and while became so frustrated I wanted to be able to hit Helena Kingshaw, I was impressed with the portrayal of her by Hill. The children feel like children - often acting merely petulant, and despite the shortness of the book the quick development of the...more
Sophie
okay so this was a book we read in english, it was okay, it a while to read because ofcourse we had to study every little detail there is in this book.. but any ways...

this is a book i wouldn't normally read, it was very weird.. i dont think i can describe it any other way. i enjoyed parts, didnt enjoys ome parts, the ending was A MASSIVE SHOCK. what i found strage was the face that hooper and kingshaw were very mature for 10 years olds. i mean yeah they acted ten, but their minds. im pretty sur...more
Biogeek
The author in the afterword writes how not every book written about children is for children, and that is definitely true here. This is an exploration of cruelty and emotional manipulation, of bullying and the emotional damage done to all parties involved ...the bully, the bullied and the bystanders. The most remarkable moments in the book were where the bully lost his power, and yet you knew he would not only regain the upper hand, but would in fact use this to become stronger. Recommended for...more
Tessa
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
Emma Frazzitta
I had to read this book for my English Literature IGCSE. Ugh. Before I start with my rant about how utterly terrible this book is I must give credit where credit is due. It was written rather well, and given the subject of the book Hill could have been much harsher and more depressing with her style of writing. However now we must crack down on the story line itself. First things first this book was not credible. Already by reading it I realised that the main characters (Hooper and Kingshaw) wer...more
Stef
In 'The King of the Castle' Susan Hill explores themes of suffering, alienation, punishment and the exploitation of the weak by the powerful. Joseph Hooper, a reticent widower, lives in a grand, isolated house with his young son, Edmund, and a collection of dead moths, inherited from his late father, a renowned lepidopterist. One summer, their stilted peace is disturbed by the arrival of widow Helena Kingshaw and her 11-year-old son, Charles, who have answered an advertisement to housekeep for t...more
Paul Patterson
Nov 24, 2012 Paul Patterson rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Educators and Parents
One of Hill's earliest books.Particularly relevant in regard to the modern increase of bullying and it's effect on children and their families. It highlights two very at risk teens whose parents are living in their own dream world concerning their circumstances and refuse to see the resulting shadow side of their own children. The parents are both indulgent but profoundly neglectful regarding their children. I noted this book is used in UK cirrocumulus. Excellent choice.
Curtis Runstedler
This is a heartbreaking character study and a story of emotional intensity. Hooper is a downright malicious piece of shit (he even has some psychopathic tendencies) who bullies and humiliates Kingshaw to extremes. Hooper's behaviour is predatory, and his worst crime is taking everything that Kingshaw holds dear and ruining it. The ending, with its atmosphere of decay and morbidity, seems inevitable, although I was hoping so-and-so would make it through. Hooper's animosity brings out Kingshaw's u...more
Livinginthecastle
This deceptively simple novel ramps up the tension and the feeling of dread so powerfully that you almost don't want to read on. Hill excellently portrays the voices of pre-teens and the sinister conflicts that consume them, but Hooper is a singularly horrible character, and I hope there aren't too many boys like him around. It is an extreme story about childhood, but no less powerful and chilling for that.
Bethany
Oh this book is creepy. It gets under your skin kinda creepy. It was so lonely and desolate I felt eery reading it. That poor little boy, it makes me ill to think that parents can be so blissfully, willfully ignorant to such devastating effects.
I'm not sure I could face re-reading it, knowing what I do now, but it was a powerful and poignant read.
Kimberley
This was the one book I remember being made to read at school that I actually enjoyed.
Written from the veiw of the bullied victim it pulled on heart strings and was upsetting on places, you really felt how helpless and hopeless the boy felt and how is mind came to find his only way out.
Evangeline
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.
Rachel  Brooker
Wow, what a page-turner.

I have always been a fan of William Golding's 'Lord of The Flies' and this was very like it. It does make you wonder how it was ever published as the theme is so incredibly similar. Regardless, the writing was simple, yet powerful.

She doesn't need flowery language. That's not what she's about. Susan Hill has the rare ability to capture a reader's attention and imagination simply by telling her story.

I really wish there had been a second one, as I would have gobbled it u...more
Petals
I would not want to cross path with someone the likes of Edmund Hooper though I think that Charles could have done more to help himself.

Enjoyed the book for its graphic descriptions of a slow but painful terror.

Ravine Blackheart
This was one of the books that our class was reading slowely each lesson as part of our GCSE grade. Most of the class found it boring and paid no attention but I couldn't put it down. I requested that I took the book home so that I could finish it. I ended up finishing it by the time the rest of the class was on chapter two.
The story in itself is a painful story of childhood bullying, ignorant parents and later... Death. But the raw emotion the writer invokes in you is worth enfolding yourself w...more
Ananya Avanthsa
HORRIBLE!!! I mean really Hooper and Mrs.Kingshaw have issues!!! What kind of parents treat their kids tht way!!! So depressing :(
Wendy
Oct 10, 2008 Wendy rated it 1 of 5 stars
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.
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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
More about Susan Hill...
The Woman in Black The Various Haunts of Men (Simon Serrailler, #1) The Pure in Heart (Simon Serrailler, #2) The Small Hand: A Ghost Story The Risk of Darkness (Simon Serrailler, #3)

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