This review is from: VIII (Paperback)
I loved this book. I have to admit I was a little disappointed when I found out it was a book for young adults, but being a Tudor fan I decided to give it a go anyway and was glad I did. It is told from the point of view of Henry VIII (or Hal) as he goes through his life; from being the "spare" prince who spent his time with his mother to being one of the most notorious Kings who ever lived.
Being a young adult novel, there are some parts of his life that are missed out or skipped over. This is either to keep the story focused on the main events on his life, no need to mention the mistresses too much, or to stop the book from becoming overly long after all this is the life of a King we know a lot about. I did find the story a little jumpy at places as it skipped through the major events in Hal's life, but the absence of dates at the start of each chapter actually helped you fall into each event easier rather than trying to think back about what you know from History about what was going on at that time.
Other than being told by Hal, a first in the many Tudor books I have read, the other interesting feature of the book is the psychological/paranormal side. I liked how this is introduced when he is a young boy staying the infamous (even in his day) Tower of London and follows him throughout his life acting as a harbringer of doom. It also really drives home just how much loss he experienced at such a young age, again often novels are more concerned with Henry after umpteen years of marriage to Catherine of Aragon and it was nice to be reminded that he had many years before this when he was a beloved monarch. I also liked how the author included his fascination with predictions and superstition and used this as a basis for his determination to be a great King (even though I guessed they might be foretelling another great monarch).
This is a great novel, both for Tudor fans who want to try something different, but also for younger readers as it nicely blends genuine historical fact into this already exciting story. Definitely one to try!