Warings, which is an isolated and “entirely graceless” country house belonging to a widower, Mr. Hooper, provides the main setting for I am the King of the Castle. The story begins with the arrival of Mrs. Helena Kingshaw and her son Charles to Warings. Mrs. Kingshaw has come to act as housekeeper to Mr. Hooper and his son, Edmund. Clearly the Kingshaws have fallen on hard times and Warings offers stability and money to Mrs. Kingshaw. However, the two main characters are Edmund Hooper, a disturbed 11-year-old and Charles Kingshaw the son of Mrs. Kingshaw. When Kingshaw arrives he is greeted with a hostile note from his opposite number Hooper. This note sets the tone of the troubled relationship of the two boys which, as the story progresses, steadily worsens.
Although Susan Hill has undoubtedly used a high standard of language content, I personally felt quite distanced from the characters in the book. At certain points especially I found it difficult to be involved in the situations occurring. I feel that the whole story generally lacks the content required to interest and entertain the reader. Personally, having read other Susan Hill books I feel that I am the King of the Castle is not Hill at her best. I am the King of the Castle has some concepts and aspects in it which are fairly difficult to grasp, especially for the younger reader. I would strongly discourage the reading of I am the King of the Castle by those under 13.
Tim Golden is a computer programmer living in London. This review first appeared on goodtoread.org