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Book Review: VIII by HM Castor

Title: VIII
Author: HM Castor
Series: N/A
Pages: 336
Publisher: Templar
Date of Publication: 1st October 2011
Source: Publisher*
Think you know Henry VIII?

Think again.

VIII is the story of Hal, a boy of extraordinary talents. Astonishing warrior skills. Sharp intelligence. And a fierce sense of honour 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.

My Thoughts:
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 Henry VIII while still making it feel like I was reading a story. Some historical novels I've read in the past have been so full of info that it feels like reading a text book, but not once in VIII did I feel like it was slipping into textbook territory.

The book is split up into parts, and in each part Hal is at a different stage in his life. In the first part, he is the six year old son of the king. He's a very believable six year old. He asks lots of questions about things he shouldn't, says things he shouldn't, and finds himself in places he shouldn't be. I was expecting him to be a child with impeccable manners, as I'd always thought that royal children would have been, but I was pleasantly surprised to find myself reading about a six year old with a sense of adventure, instead of a boring little boy who does exactly what he's told.

In the next part however, Hal becomes a little big headed, and I think that it's then that his arrogant self starts to emerge. Castor effortlessly changes Hal from a silly six year old into a sensible ten year old, and then throughout the book he gets older and more arrogant. It was really interesting though, because as a person looking at him he seems full of himself, but if you look at him as he looks at himself, you see that he is just trying to be a person that people look up to and admire, and that the things he does are what he believes to be right, because he sees himself as ultimately a good person, and God's chosen one, and therefore every one else must be evil.

Even though I knew where the story was going with his six wives, it was still my favourite part of the book. I loved reading about all his different wives, and finding out why he married each one, and what he saw them as. It interested me far more than the jousting and fighting scenes, which got a little repetitive, but I'm pretty sure that's just me...

Overall, I really enjoyed VIII. I think it's great for all historical fiction fans, whether you're a young or old or in between. It's a great way to subtly learn about Henry VIII in a fun way. It's interesting, gripping, and one of the best historical fiction books I've read this year.

I'm taking part in the blog tour for VIII! Click HERE for my interview with Harriet! :)

My Rating:
I give it 4 Feet!

2011 100+ Reading Challenge #70


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