Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Howl's Moving Castle - Diana Wynne Jones


Sophie has the great misfortune of being the eldest of three daughters, destined to fail miserably should she ever leave home to seek her fate. But when she unwittingly attracts the ire of the Witch of the Waste, Sophie finds herself under a horrid spell that transforms her into an old lady. Her only chance at breaking it lies in the ever-moving castle in the hills: the Wizard Howl's castle. To untangle the enchantment, Sophie must handle the heartless Howl, strike a bargain with a fire demon, and meet the Witch of the Waste head-on. Along the way, she discovers that there's far more to Howl—and herself—than first meets the eye.


I came to this novel having first seen the film a few times. The film confused me and I had heard the book was a lot better- which I can confirm having read it. The film takes so many liberties on the story (typical of films, of course) that the story became so muddy it was almost unrecognizable! The story isn't particularly complicated - a bad family, an enchantment, and love to break it. But the way that it is plotted out and written is delightful - thoughtful yet charming at the same time. Although a little predictable, there is definite character depth and the predictability doesn't fall into the unrealistic relationships that often happen in simpler books. Sometimes its nice to have something well-written and cliche in your repertoire.


A charming read, good for something short to fill the time with. I enjoyed it, but it isn't something that will really stay with you for years.

Recommended for:

Young adult and fantasy readers who want a light read with a sense of humour.

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  1. This is one of my favorite anime movies of all time, probably third to Spirited Away and Kiki's Delivery Service. I did not know it was a book until author A.G. Howard suggested it to me when I was in a reading slump, for the same reasons you stated above: light, quick, and humerous. By the time I got around to buying it, I was no longer in a slump, so I haven't read it yet, but I will remember it the next time I find myself not wanting to read.

  2. Spirited Away is probably my favourite (it's been my favourite the longest), but I recently saw Princess Mononoke and that's right up there for me too. Howl's Moving Castle is definitely very different from the film, but I think in good ways. It's nice because it doesn't feel like you're just reading the exact same story you already know. Plus it explains a lot of things that aren't explained in the film. I definitely recommend this whole series - they're all vaguely fairy tale based and are a ton of fun!


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