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I'm the King of the Castle

3.47  ·  Rating details ·  2,875 ratings  ·  302 reviews
Discover a chilling twentieth century classic, delving into the dark and complex heart of childhood

'Some people are coming here today, now you will have a companion.'

But young Edmund Hooper doesn't want anyone else in Warings, the rambling Victorian house he shares with his widowed father. Nevertheless Charles Kingshaw and his mother are soon installed and Edmund sets abou
Paperback, 224 pages
Published October 26th 1973 by Penguin (first published 1970)
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Melissa We are reading it for Eanglish as part of our IGCSE course work. There's a lot of symbolism and use of pathetic fallacy; if you do not know how to int…moreWe are reading it for Eanglish as part of our IGCSE course work. There's a lot of symbolism and use of pathetic fallacy; if you do not know how to interpret it I don't really see the point of reading it. But of course if you are comfortable with such writing techniques I would say 100% go for it.(less)

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Average rating 3.47  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,875 ratings  ·  302 reviews

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May 17, 2013 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 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
Oct 05, 2012 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. ...more
Georgia Darcie
Sep 27, 2011 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.
Apr 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jane Eyre Rochester
Aug 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-favourites
A dark and gloomy book about a hunter and his prey,a tormentor and his victim.What we today call bullying is described accurately and poignantly in this book.Two little boys are fighting one another.The fearful Kingshaw and the sarcastic Hooper.Hooper does everything in his power to harm the other boy.He won't let him at peace and just when Kingshaw thinks he is finally winning this race,things turn upside down and the countdown begins only now things are getting really really wild. ...more
Apr 01, 2013 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
Missy (myweereads)
“It is okay to climb as long as you are not afraid, because being afraid is what made you fall”

I’m The King Of The Castle by Susan Hill tells the story of young Charles Kingshaw who arrives at the old Victorian house of Edmund Hooper. He is to stay here with his mother sharing the house with Hooper and his father. Upon his arrival he isn’t welcomed by Hooper and soon finds out he isn’t wanted there either.

I was not expecting to enjoy this book as much as I did especially after reading a lot of
Sep 25, 2013 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.
Sep 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: british-fiction
The lead character of this Susan Hill novel is a horrifying psychopath of a ten year old boy named Edmund Hooper. Early on, the reader realizes that he will grant no mercy on the boy his age who is his helpless victim. This novel left me quite anxious and filled with dread because I knew there would be a cruel reckoning at the end. The most frustrating part of the story was the oblivious nature of the self-absorbed adults which she captures perfectly. Four stars.
Summer Campbell
Jul 28, 2015 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
Adam Crossley
Apr 16, 2015 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
Oct 22, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, reviewed
Read this one for school and hated it.
Dec 06, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: thriller, ya
This book just wasn't for me. ...more
Feb 16, 2015 rated it it was ok
Finished this a little while ago but I have no wifi due to moving house! Was O.K.
Sep 19, 2016 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Definitely not Secondary school children
Shelves: horror
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
Jun 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
"It is okay to climb as long as you are not afraid, because being afraid is what made you fall"

Oh Edmund, your naughtiness and jealousy and arrogance got the better of you.
Look at what you've done.
Oct 08, 2008 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.
Apr 01, 2011 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. ...more
I picked this one up quite a while ago but got bored because the book was mostly just about two terrible little boys. I finally picked it back up and finished it. So, for the most part, I was following along with the story, not really knowing where it would go and not necessarily trying to figure out where it would end. I was going through the motions of the story which had a few bumps and turns. Basically, it was about a bully boy and another boy who comes to live in his house. I felt like the ...more
Jessica Reads & Rambles
3.5 stars.
I found this rather dull at first. Felt next to nothing at all for the characters and didn’t feel all that compelled to read on and see where the story would go. It took me ages to read the first 100 or so pages for that reason. However, the suspense really started to build for me during the second half and I found myself pretty gripped, racing to finish it, despite suspecting I knew the ending, or at least had an inkling of it. I’d like to revisit this in the future and read it all in
Feb 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Glad I read it and I think more adults should read it.
Adam Black
Susan Hill's I'm the King of the Castle gave me Lord of the Flies, Eden Lake, The Collector vibes, while reminding me very much of my childhood, stuck out in the middle of nowhere with a vindictive sibling.

It's an ugly, twisted little tale, that is never quite as impactful as you'd expect.

I did, however, like how the narration occasionally flipped from the children's astute perspectives, to various adult views, and how incredibly off the mark these always were.

In a nutshell:
Childhood can be lone
Ben Carroll
Apr 25, 2011 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 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
Apr 22, 2012 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. ...more
Aug 15, 2017 rated it liked it
The dislike for Edmund is unreal. If I ever would have such a child, I would be angry with myself. My god.
Jan 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
Only because it filled me with hate for one of the characters.
Jasmin Mohd-zain
I liked and hated this book at the same time.

I liked it because it was so well written and structured by Ms Hill that you could feel being slowly driven down an excruciating journey into the chasm of the unbearable life of one dear boy.

I hated it because i am a parent and i can imagine the hell the dear boy had to go through. We all know very well that words and taunting can cut deeper and last longer...much more than any physical harm can do.

Although the book was written in the 70s, it seems I
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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

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