Review: Howl’s Moving Castle

Howl's Moving Castle, Diana Wynne JonesSophie Hatter lives a quiet, boring life in Market Chipping, Ingary, working in her family’s hat shop. But her life takes a turn for the bizarre when the Witch of the Waste turns her into an old woman.

Afraid her family won’t recognize her, Sophie turns to the only person who may be able to break the witch’s spell: the wizard Howl, who supposedly eats the hearts of beautiful women and lives in a moving castle with his apprentice Michael and a fire demon named Calcifer.

But there’s more to Howl—and Sophie—than meets the eye. And together the moving castle’s occupants go on adventures whose outcomes may decide the fate of the kingdom.

Quick thoughts

I read this while nursing myself through a cold, and although my recollection is a bit fuzzy (I was sleepy and unfocused most of last weekend), it was a lovely read. Adventure and danger and magic, oh my!

You can’t help but love Sophie and feel bad for Howl, who—despite spreading nasty rumors about himself in order to prevent anyone’s asking for his assistance—always ends up coming to the rescue.

As with The Seer and the Sword, Howl’s Moving Castle is a great book for introducing readers to fantasy and adventure novels. I’d love to hear it read aloud by a good storyteller.

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4 Responses

  1. Laurie June 7, 2012 / 6:41 pm

    I thoroughly enjoyed Howl’s this year too! Thanks for reminding me how fine a fantasy it is. I thought that the writing itself was particularly delightful: much more sophisticated and witty than so many of today’s Y.A. fantasies.

    • amypeveto June 8, 2012 / 10:35 pm

      Definitely sophisticated. A surprising amount of allusions to classic literature and poetry. Plus it was just a fun read!

  2. Jenny June 8, 2012 / 5:15 pm

    This is one of those book/series that every reader needs to read…at least I feel like it is, and, yet, I haven’t read it. :( One of these days I’m going to get to it…and about a thousand other books. ;)

    • amypeveto June 8, 2012 / 10:38 pm

      I read a little about the next book in the series, and am not really that excited about it. Howl’s Moving Castle works great as a standalone. Or you could just watch the film adaptation — apparently it’s really good. :)

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