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Howl's Moving Castle:A novel & Illustrated edition

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A new look for one of Diana Wynne Jones’ funniest and most popular novels.In the land of Ingary, where seven league boots and cloaks of invisibility do exist, Sophie Hatter catches the unwelcome attention of the Witch of the Waste and is put under a spell.Deciding she has nothing more to lose, she makes her way to the moving castle that hovers on the hills above Market A new look for one of Diana Wynne Jones’ funniest and most popular novels.In the land of Ingary, where seven league boots and cloaks of invisibility do exist, Sophie Hatter catches the unwelcome attention of the Witch of the Waste and is put under a spell.Deciding she has nothing more to lose, she makes her way to the moving castle that hovers on the hills above Market Chipping. But the castle belongs to the dreaded Wizard Howl whose appetite, they say, is satisfied only by the souls of young girls… There she meets Michael, Howl’s apprentice, and Calcifer the Fire Demon, with whom she agrees a pact.But Sophie isn’t the only one under a curse – her entanglements with Calcifer, Howl, and Michael, and her quest to break her curse is both gripping – and howlingly funny!


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A new look for one of Diana Wynne Jones’ funniest and most popular novels.In the land of Ingary, where seven league boots and cloaks of invisibility do exist, Sophie Hatter catches the unwelcome attention of the Witch of the Waste and is put under a spell.Deciding she has nothing more to lose, she makes her way to the moving castle that hovers on the hills above Market A new look for one of Diana Wynne Jones’ funniest and most popular novels.In the land of Ingary, where seven league boots and cloaks of invisibility do exist, Sophie Hatter catches the unwelcome attention of the Witch of the Waste and is put under a spell.Deciding she has nothing more to lose, she makes her way to the moving castle that hovers on the hills above Market Chipping. But the castle belongs to the dreaded Wizard Howl whose appetite, they say, is satisfied only by the souls of young girls… There she meets Michael, Howl’s apprentice, and Calcifer the Fire Demon, with whom she agrees a pact.But Sophie isn’t the only one under a curse – her entanglements with Calcifer, Howl, and Michael, and her quest to break her curse is both gripping – and howlingly funny!

30 review for Howl's Moving Castle:A novel & Illustrated edition

  1. 4 out of 5

    Cara

    Honestly what made me want to read this book was the movie. *gasp* I know, I know shouldn't do that. The movie was good (I am a fan of Hayo Miyazaki's films) and I wasn't disappointed in the book. As always much of the book wasn't put into the movie, but it was understandable because I imagine it would be hard to piece together a movie with all the components this story has. To really grasp and understand the book I would suggest that it be read twice I think. Since I did watch the movie I wasn't Honestly what made me want to read this book was the movie. *gasp* I know, I know shouldn't do that. The movie was good (I am a fan of Hayo Miyazaki's films) and I wasn't disappointed in the book. As always much of the book wasn't put into the movie, but it was understandable because I imagine it would be hard to piece together a movie with all the components this story has. To really grasp and understand the book I would suggest that it be read twice I think. Since I did watch the movie I wasn't as shocked at things, but I was so impressed about how the author intertwined all the strands of the story together. If you have a chance definitely read the book first. The author did an impeccable job of piecing things together to get a wham-bam of an ending. Ok quick summary: Our main character is Sophie. She is the oldest of three girls and works in a hat shop. Things change when the Witch of the Waste (evil bad women) puts a spell on her that makes her old. She meets the infamous wizard Howl (great character) and it takes off from there. Make sure to pay attention to ALL DETAILS to get the ending. (Sorry if the review isn't that great. It's the first time I'm trying something like this, so I'll apologize now for all the confusion I may have caused, and the errors in the review.)

  2. 4 out of 5

    Catie

    This book is completely magical and this is how I know: On the fourth of July, we crammed ourselves into our car (my husband, mother in law, two girls, and I) and drove for over an hour to go see some fireworks. There was traffic almost the entire way, and I was jammed in the back in between two booster seats, which let me tell you – was not comfortable. I am a tall person and my knees basically alternated between being squished in between the two front seats, or slanted crazily off to one side. This book is completely magical and this is how I know: On the fourth of July, we crammed ourselves into our car (my husband, mother in law, two girls, and I) and drove for over an hour to go see some fireworks. There was traffic almost the entire way, and I was jammed in the back in between two booster seats, which let me tell you – was not comfortable. I am a tall person and my knees basically alternated between being squished in between the two front seats, or slanted crazily off to one side. I was good and addicted to this book at that point, and I smuggled it into my tote bag in the tiny hope that might be able to read some along the way. However, what happened was that as soon as I pulled it out, my daughter recognized the title and became very interested. I knew it was a mistake to teach her how to read! (Kidding, kidding.) I casually offered to read some of it aloud in the car. At first it was just the girls and me as I read about Sophie toiling away day and night in her hat shop, losing her father and cursed to a bad fortune. Then the conversation between my mother in law and my husband slowly died down as we got to the magical switcheroo that Sophie’s sisters had pulled behind everyone’s backs. The radio went off right about when The Witch of The Waste made her grand entrance, and by the time we got to our destination (much more quickly than the clock would suggest) my husband was chuckling as Sophie told a solicitous stranger, “I’m not your mother, young man” like a badass. As soon as we got into the car and promptly got stuck in the mad rush to head home, my narration services were again requested. We all know the basic plot, thanks to watching the Studio Ghibli film approximately 134 times last fall, and my oldest daughter was giddy with anticipation for Howl’s tantrum. (Truly, one of the best scenes in both the book and the movie.) This book is magical, because it managed to distract a four year old, a six year old, two adults in their thirties, a sixty five year old, not to mention my knees, for several hours in a tiny car on one of the hottest days of the year. I love almost everything about this book. I love that Diana Wynne Jones thought that a romance between a spoiled, shallow drama-queen pretty boy and a feisty ninety year old woman was a great idea and that she completely made it work. I loved seeing a nineteen year old Sophie, frightened and secluded, throw off all of her fears and embrace being a ninety year old woman, ready to take on anything that got in her way. The writing is simplistic, but the dialogue and mystery are downright elegant. Maybe this book isn’t perfect – some of the later conflicts seemed a bit manufactured – but I don’t really care. This book is going on my favorites shelf forever and ever. Dare I say this? I liked it more than the movie. Stop by The Readventurer today, where I compare this book to the Studio Ghibli adaptation!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mark Lawrence

    I read this to my daughter, Celyn (10 at the time), who is too disabled to read books by herself. I had seen some of the anime film version years ago but remembered basically nothing of it. I found the whole thing original and refreshing. The point of view character (Sophie) is engaging and no-nonsense with a very capable can-do attitude. The story moves along at a good pace and the whole moving castle / multiple doors thing is a great idea and used well. The Welsh connection is well-played, and I read this to my daughter, Celyn (10 at the time), who is too disabled to read books by herself. I had seen some of the anime film version years ago but remembered basically nothing of it. I found the whole thing original and refreshing. The point of view character (Sophie) is engaging and no-nonsense with a very capable can-do attitude. The story moves along at a good pace and the whole moving castle / multiple doors thing is a great idea and used well. The Welsh connection is well-played, and the continuing reveals keep everything interesting. My only complaint is that the end seemed rather tortured with so many story-lines converging in ways that felt rather unsatisfying / hard to believe. The (view spoiler)[ Miss Angorian (hide spoiler)] part, for example, seemed to come out of left-field and made very little sense to me. If I were a touch harsher then that ending would pull this down to a 4*. But Celyn loved it. I enjoyed reading it. And I'm in a good mood. So 5*! I can see why it's a classic, and if you have a 10 year old, point them at it! We may well pursue the author's other works. Edit: We've now finished the trilogy! Join my 3-emails-a-year newsletter #prizes .....

  4. 4 out of 5

    Zoë

    I came in expecting a novelization of the movie (one of my favorites), but what I got was even better. Good news: The atmosphere and characterization is extremely similar to the Studio Ghibli film. I absolutely loved practical, stubborn Sophie and vain, dramatic Howl as well as the overall concept of the story. Those were the reasons I wanted to read the book in the first place, and luckily it delivered. The book is simply more. We get more insight into Sophie and Howl's backstories and strong I came in expecting a novelization of the movie (one of my favorites), but what I got was even better. Good news: The atmosphere and characterization is extremely similar to the Studio Ghibli film. I absolutely loved practical, stubborn Sophie and vain, dramatic Howl as well as the overall concept of the story. Those were the reasons I wanted to read the book in the first place, and luckily it delivered. The book is simply more. We get more insight into Sophie and Howl's backstories and strong personalities, more time in different worlds, more characters, more factors working against our protagonists, and more explanation of how magic works in this universe. As someone who loves to completely understand fantasy worlds and how they work, I loved it. Since there were so many factors introduced throughout this novel, the ending felt a little rushed. I loved it just the same! The movie is a great movie, and the book was a great book. They are two very different experiences, but work perfectly hand-in-hand. I would recommend it to all fans of the movie and YA fantasy!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    I have to say I love Hayao Miyazaki's movie better because come on, it's an awesome movie. (Although, Spirited Away is my favorite movie) There were some differences in the book but the movie was based off the book and it's not going to be the same. All that matters is they both were awesome and the author loved the movie too. I absolutely love fantasy worlds that are way out there. Happy Reading! Mel I have to say I love Hayao Miyazaki's movie better because come on, it's an awesome movie. (Although, Spirited Away is my favorite movie) There were some differences in the book but the movie was based off the book and it's not going to be the same. All that matters is they both were awesome and the author loved the movie too. I absolutely love fantasy worlds that are way out there. Happy Reading! Mel 🖤🐾🐺

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    this is the most magical story I have ever read

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kat Kennedy

    For some reason I've been reading a lot of really great books lately. I feel that itch to find something I can tear apart and relish in the destruction. However, Howl's Moving Castle didn't provide me with that opportunity. It is an amazing and fantastic book. The characters are so very different, funny, quirky and lovable that I was sucked in right away. The storyline was intriguing and fun to read. The writing was quite good and the world was utterly fascinating. If you've watched the movie then For some reason I've been reading a lot of really great books lately. I feel that itch to find something I can tear apart and relish in the destruction. However, Howl's Moving Castle didn't provide me with that opportunity. It is an amazing and fantastic book. The characters are so very different, funny, quirky and lovable that I was sucked in right away. The storyline was intriguing and fun to read. The writing was quite good and the world was utterly fascinating. If you've watched the movie then you needn't worry about being spoiled of the book or ending. They are actually nothing alike. The movie, whilst I really enjoyed it, to the original premise and basic character traits and made its own story from there. Sophie is hilarious. She almost makes me want to be an old lady, just so I can be cantankerous and boss people around. Howl is funny and sweet as the brilliant yet vain, thoughtless, mysterious wizard. The whole story is great and I highly, highly recommend it.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Howl's Moving Castle (Howl's Moving Castle #1), Diana Wynne Jones Howl's Moving Castle is a fantasy novel by British author Diana Wynne Jones, first published in 1986. Howl's Moving Castle is the first novel in the series of books called the Howl Series. This series also includes Castle in the Air, published in 1990, and House of Many Ways, published in 2008. A young woman named Sophie Hatter is the eldest of three sisters living in the town of Market Chipping in the magical kingdom of Ingary, Howl's Moving Castle (Howl's Moving Castle #1), Diana Wynne Jones Howl's Moving Castle is a fantasy novel by British author Diana Wynne Jones, first published in 1986. Howl's Moving Castle is the first novel in the series of books called the Howl Series. This series also includes Castle in the Air, published in 1990, and House of Many Ways, published in 2008. A young woman named Sophie Hatter is the eldest of three sisters living in the town of Market Chipping in the magical kingdom of Ingary, where many fairy tale tropes are accepted ways of life, including that the eldest of three will never be successful. Sophie is able to unknowingly talk life into inanimate objects. As the eldest, she is resigned to the "fact" that she will have no chance of finding her fortune, accepting that she will have a dull life running the family hat shop. One day, however, the powerful Witch of the Waste turns her into an old crone. Sophie leaves the shop and finds work as a cleaning lady for the notorious Wizard Howl. She strikes a bargain with Howl's fire-demon, Calcifer: if she can break the contract between Howl and Calcifer, then Calcifer will return her to her original youthful form. Part of the contract, however, stipulates that neither Howl nor Calcifer can disclose the main clause of the contract to any third party. Sophie tries to guess the specifics of the contract, while Calcifer supplies frequent hints which she usually does not pick up. ... تاریخ نخستین خوانش: چهاردهم نوامبر سال 2012 میلادی عنوان: قلعه متحرک؛ نویسنده: دیان واین جونز؛ مترجم: شراره صدیق؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، کتابسرای تندیس؛ 1381؛ در 302 ص، شابک: 9789645757357؛ چاپ دوم 1382، چاپ سوم 1389؛ چاپ چهارم 1396؛ چاپ پنجم 1397؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان بریتانیایی - سده 20 م عنوان: قلعه‌ی متحرک هاول؛ ن‍وی‍س‍ن‍ده‌: دای‍انا وی‍ن‌‌ ج‍ون‍ز؛ مترجم: نیلوفر رحمانیان؛ ویراستار: مریم قهرمانی؛ تهران، علمی فرهنگی، 1397؛ در 390 ص؛ شابک: 9786004367523؛ داستانی عاشقانه بین دختری هجده ساله به نام «سوفی»، نفرین شده توسط جادوگری، و دربند شده در بدن یک پیرزن، و یک شعبده باز به نام «هارو» است. «سوفی» بخاطر طلسم، به دنبال سرنوشتش میرود، سرنوشتی که او را به قلعه ی متحرک و عجیب «هارو»، هدایت میکند. در قلعه، «سوفی» با دیوِ آتشِ «هارو»، «کاریشیفا» آشنا میشود. «کاریشیفا» به او قول میدهد، تا طلسم را از روی او بردارد، و او را به هجده سالگی برگرداند، ولی تنها به شرطی که ....؛ در این پازل جادویی هیچ‌ چیز و هیچکس آنچه به نظر می‌آیند نیستند. سرنوشت‌ها به هم گره خورده و هویت انسان‌ها با هم عوض می‌شوند. ا. شربیانی

  9. 4 out of 5

    Riley

    This was such an enchanting story!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    Howl's Moving Castle, for whatever reason, failed to engage me the first time I read it several years ago, but it worked much better the second time around. I really felt for Sophie, the main character, who feels so timid, trapped and hopeless that when she's (unfairly) hit with a curse that turns her from a young woman into an old crone, it actually frees her in more ways than one. She leaves her dead-end job in the village and, for lack of a better option, moves herself (without bothering to Howl's Moving Castle, for whatever reason, failed to engage me the first time I read it several years ago, but it worked much better the second time around. I really felt for Sophie, the main character, who feels so timid, trapped and hopeless that when she's (unfairly) hit with a curse that turns her from a young woman into an old crone, it actually frees her in more ways than one. She leaves her dead-end job in the village and, for lack of a better option, moves herself (without bothering to ask for permission) into the oddly mobile castle of the Wizard Howl, where magic and cobwebs fill the air. Obviously the young wizard needs a housekeeper, after all. The fire demon in the castle's fireplace mysteriously challenges Sophie to break "the contract" between himself and Howl, and she hopes that maybe Howl and the demon can help break the curse on her as well. The nature and use of magic in this story were quite creative. As a former English major, I really enjoyed how John Donne's poem "Song" ("Go and catch a falling star") was worked into the story. The plot was occasionally confusing, and I wished some things had been explained a little better. I also thought that the wrap-up at the end was a bit too hasty. But overall it was a charming and fun read, and it gets bonus points for an unusually high degree of originality. Upping my rating from 3 stars to an enthusiastic 4. Original review: On paper I should love this book, but it just didn't grab me when I tried to read it about 10 years ago,* and I ended up skimming half of it. I picked it up again at the library the other day and I'm going to give it one more shot. *Obviously I was being kind-hearted when I gave it 3 stars, or was overly swayed by the book's reputation. I would be meaner if I were rating it now, but I'll wait to do that until I've re-read it.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones opens in a picturesque little village, in a country and a world where magic—gifts and curses, fairies and witches—are not just real, but taken for granted. The people around them manage to have almost tediously normal lives. Our protagonist, Sophie Hatter, is the eldest of three sisters, so she knows her youngest sister will have luck and adventure while she herself will have a dull and obscure existence, probably as an old maid tending her father’s hat Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones opens in a picturesque little village, in a country and a world where magic—gifts and curses, fairies and witches—are not just real, but taken for granted. The people around them manage to have almost tediously normal lives. Our protagonist, Sophie Hatter, is the eldest of three sisters, so she knows her youngest sister will have luck and adventure while she herself will have a dull and obscure existence, probably as an old maid tending her father’s hat shop. At nineteen, Sophie is clever but painfully shy. On a festival day she dares to leave the hat shop and is pursued by a handsome youth she has never seen before. Irrationally frightened, Sophie flees the young man’s advances, only to irritate a mysterious old woman—and suddenly Sophie herself is transformed into an infirm old hag. Unable to explain her metamorphosis and afraid to approach her family in this altered form, Sophie decides to leave town in pursuit of the one person who can help her: the great wizard Howl, whose moving castle recently appeared as an ominous blot on the horizon. Why ominous? Because Howl is said to kidnap beautiful girls and eat their hearts, or perhaps their souls. No longer young and never (to herself, at least) beautiful, Sophie reasons she has nothing to fear. Setting Jones sets the stage early on, as much with her narration as with her description. The narrator is an arch observer in the tradition of Jane Austen and L.M. Montgomery, and the world she describes could be any rural town and surrounding countryside in the eighteenth or nineteenth century—with the small addition of magic. Magic here is a respectable enough line of work, usually, but a powerful witch or wizard is still feared. Propriety is of utmost concern in the land of Ingary. Out-of-towners are not trusted, and the wizard Howl, whom no one in the village of Market Chipping has ever (as far as they know) laid eyes on, is particularly suspicious due to his mode of travel and the scandalous rumors that run before him. Howl’s Castle itself, where most of the book takes place, is a marvel of imagination, but I will say no more. It’s not a plot spoiler per se, but I don’t want to ruin anyone else’s delighted surprise at the thing’s operations and abilities. Plot Once installed as the moving Castle’s housekeeper, Sophie befriends Calcifer, the fire demon whose energy sustains the building. From Calcifer she gathers hints of a terrible secret about Howl. She spends most of the book trying to piece together the nature of her own curse, and the secret that Calcifer cannot fully reveal. At first Howl, a handsome but rather foppish young man, appears to enjoy a carefree existence of fine clothes, using magic for fun, breaking the heart of every girl he meets, and shirking the responsibilities that come with his accomplished wizard status. He repeatedly clashes with this apparently random old lady who barged into his house demanding a job, but as he gets to know her, he begins to suspect she might not be so random at all… Meanwhile, the King’s younger brother is missing, as is one of Howl’s high-ranking wizard colleagues, and a powerful being from Howl’s past is scheming to destroy him, but if I elaborate on any of this, it will ruin the fun. Characters If you were starting to think that all YA heroines are either brassy Amazon warrior princesses or sniveling Bella Swans, allow Sophie Hatter to break you out of your funk. Sophie starts out as a painfully timid girl who wears only plain, grey dresses and rarely ventures outside the family hat shop. She is so convinced of her own plainness that when a handsome stranger approaches her on May Day, she assumes the young man is mocking her and runs away. I think a lot of us can relate to this. As an old lady, Sophie takes about twenty levels in chutzpah. She is assertive, no-nonsense, and occasionally cantankerous, but never truly unkind. She becomes the only being in the universe who can make Howl Pendragon obey. For Howl is a flighty, easily-frightened creature, who has built a fearsome reputation for himself in the hope of avoiding conflict. He is the most accomplished wizard in the land—since Suliman disappeared, at any rate—but he shirks the responsibilities that must inevitably come with that status. He craves love, but flits from one girl to the next with no intention of settling down anytime soon. He is also vain, compulsively dying his hair, only wearing the finest (re: flashiest) clothes, and pitching epic tantrums when his beauty regimen is disturbed (view spoiler)[(although he might really be upset about something else entirely). But don’t let the temperamental glam rock exterior fool you. Howl is one of the very cleverest—and kindest, and gentlest—men you will ever meet in YA, and a lot of his theatrics are cover for his dastardly, altruistic, foolhardy plans…if you want a book boyfriend, look no further! (hide spoiler)] Then there’s Calcifer—a snide, secretive little lump of talking flame in a fireplace, who has a hilariously close-but-vitriolic friendship with Howl. I can’t say much more about Calcifer without giving the whole thing away. The other characters: • Lettie, Sophie’s vivacious and magically-gifted sister • Martha, Sophie’s stepsister • Fanny, Sophie’s kindly stepmother • A sentient Scarecrow who follows Sophie around • An enchanted dog • Michael, Howl’s fifteen-year-old apprentice • The King of Ingary • Mrs. Pentstemmon, the great witch who trained Suliman and Howl • Megan, Howl’s disapproving sister (who lives in Wales. Howl comes from our world!) • Neil and Mari, Howl’s nephew and little niece • Miss Angorian, Neil’s pretty teacher on whom Howl has a crush • The Witch of the Waste, a sinister and powerful being who makes her home on the edge of Ingary All the supporting characters are engaging. One gets the impression that they are all fully formed characters, but we don’t see all the facets of their personalities because this isn’t their story. Content Advisory Violence here is mild and mostly symbolic. (view spoiler)[During the final battle with the Witch of the Waste, Howl’s heart is torn from his chest and Sophie, who can “talk life into things”, has to coax it back inside his body, thus bringing him back to life. (hide spoiler)] Howl makes a lot of “conquests” among the local girls, but it is never stated how far he has gotten, if you will, with any of these conquests. Given that (view spoiler)[Howl is really a nice young man, and that Ingarians are well-brought-up sort of people, he has probably not sullied anyone’s virtue or reputation. (hide spoiler)] Howl goes back to Wales to attend a rugby event, at which he so drunk that he is unable to properly climb into bed upon returning to the Castle. Calcifer is called a fire demon—although nothing about him suggests the diabolical. There is no harsh language. The Movie A lot of people only know about this book because of Hayao Miyazaki’s 2004 anime film adaptation, which was well-received by critics and audiences alike. Before I say anything more, I should note that this is the only anime I have ever watched all the way through. I know nothing about the conventions of the genre. That said, I thought the movie was a beautiful piece of visual art, with stunning panoramic shots (we forget how gorgeous well-done 2-D animation can be), lovely music, and high-quality voice acting. There’s only one problem: it has almost no connection to the book it’s supposedly based on. Granted, there is a shy young hatter named Sophie who is cursed into the form of a crone. There is a dashing young wizard named Howl who lives in a castle that moves. There is a snarky fire demon named Calcifer who keeps the castle moving. And that’s about it. The movie’s characterizations—except Calcifer and Old!Sophie—are far off-base. Young!Sophie is sweet and mild-mannered. Howl has one or two memorable outbursts, but is far more subdued than the drama king of the novel. The Witch of the Waste turns out to be mostly harmless, and Suliman is an older woman—in the book he is a strapping fellow, only a few years older than Howl. Also, movie!Sophie is brunette. She is drawn with long braids and a hat, so maybe they changed her red hair brown so she wouldn’t be mistaken for Anne Shirley, a hugely popular character in Japan. But then the movie keeps Howl’s accidental red hair tantrum, (view spoiler)[which is meaningless unless Sophie—the shy girl who fled his advances on May Day, and whom he strongly suspects by now is one and the same as his elderly housekeeper—is a redhead. (hide spoiler)] But these are minor quibbles. Miyazaki completely changed the emphasis and conflict of the story. Drawing on the Iraq War, the pacifist Miyazaki extracted a hint from the book (literally one sentence long) about a war between Ingary and a neighboring country and turned it into the main plot. The King wants Howl to fly a bomber or something, but Howl, now transformed from a vain and lazy guy into a noble conscientious objector, would rather turn himself into a man-sized black bird and attack both sides’ fighter planes. (The presence of airplanes in the first place is jarring). Then there’s a subplot about how it gets harder every time for him to turn back from bird to man. I respect Miyazaki’s antiwar beliefs, and of course, as the director of the film, he has the right to take the story in whatever direction he wants. But I personally wish he had expressed them in a different film. Howl’s Moving Castle isn’t about war any more than Mansfield Park is about slavery—another case of one sentence of the book devouring the plot of the movie. (The MP movie also had a lot of other problems, but that's a story for another review). War is awful, slavery is evil, and happy romances about shy girls in grey dresses and handsome young men (who may or may not be wizards) should be allowed to remain happy. But that’s my opinion. Yours may be entirely different. Conclusion A treat for everybody ages 10 and up—and younger as a family read-aloud—Howl’s Moving Castle delivers adventure, magic, mystery, romance, and humor in a literate, subtly detailed style. It’s a timeless story that begs to be reread, and will surely join The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, A Wrinkle in Time, and The Dark is Rising series as classics of the genre. There are two indirect sequels that feature Howl and Sophie, though they focus on new main characters and different settings. The first is Castle in the Air, an Arabian Nights-style adventure that might partly be a stealth parody of Disney’s Aladdin. The second is House of Many Ways, which read like a first draft (albeit an intriguing first draft from a deft and seasoned writer) to me, but a lot of other people enjoyed it. Also recommended: • The Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery—not a fantasy, but Anne and Sophie have much in common • The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis—a similar mix of fairytale tropes, space/time-bending adventures, and down-to-earth protagonists with a witty narrator • A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket—also features a witty narrator, a mock nineteenth-century feel, and delightful poetry quoting and literary references • The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner. Not superficially similar, but Howl and Eugenides are soul brothers. These books are violent and complicated. Teens and up. • The Crown & Court duology by Sherwood Smith. Also features a courtly, long-haired hero, a redheaded spitfire of a heroine, a touch of earthy magic, and an industrial truckload of snark. • The Tiffany Aching series by Terry Pratchett. Similar fairytale parody with a spunky heroine and very English sense of humor. These books contain some off-color humor. Teens and up. • The Bartimaeus Sequence by Jonathan Stroud. A much darker—although similarly humorous—look at a human and magical-being partnership like that of Howl and Calcifer. These books contain both violence and off-color humor, and are also extremely long. Teens and up. • The Books of Bayern by Shannon Hale. The tone of these books is more serious than HMC, and the plots are more straightforward—but they share strong, feminine heroines and organic magic. These books can get dark. Teens and up. • The Secret Country trilogy by Pamela Dean. Similar wit, character development, and inter-world travel element. • The Safe-Keeper’s trilogy by Sharon Shinn. Similar faux-English feel and small-town courtships with a hint of deception and magic. Some mature issues including rape, murder, and various forms of child abuse are referenced, though never seen. Teens and up. • Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. A Cinderella story of similarly blithe heart and subtle snark.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    Before Hayao Miyazaki made "Howl's Moving Castle" into a feature length animated film in 2006 (2004 if you saw it in Japan), it was a book written by Diana Wynne Jones in 1986. Due to the inherent difficulties of creating an animated film, Miyazaki greatly abridged and adjusted the plot of the novel for his movie. I happened to enjoy both film and novel but after reading the book I realized that the plot is extremely different in the novel--enough that the book and movie become completely Before Hayao Miyazaki made "Howl's Moving Castle" into a feature length animated film in 2006 (2004 if you saw it in Japan), it was a book written by Diana Wynne Jones in 1986. Due to the inherent difficulties of creating an animated film, Miyazaki greatly abridged and adjusted the plot of the novel for his movie. I happened to enjoy both film and novel but after reading the book I realized that the plot is extremely different in the novel--enough that the book and movie become completely different viewing experiences. Anyway, that's all I'm going to say about the movie. On to the discussion of the book: Sophie lives "in the land of Ingary, where such things as seven-league boots and cloaks of invisibility exist." In other words, all of the traditional fairy tale stories are real. Not so bad, except that Sophie Hatter is the eldest of three sisters, which everyone knows means Sophie is doomed to failure should she ever set out to seek her fortunes. Sophie is resigned to her fate--living obscurely, and less than successfully, working in the family hat shop. Except that this is not a traditional fairy tale and events soon intervene to set Sophie on a very unexpected course indeed for an eldest daughter. It all starts in the hat shop after some interesting things begin to happen when Sophie talks to the hats she trims. Interesting enough to attract the attention of the dangerous Witch of the Waste. When her encounter with the Witch of the Waste leaves Sophie cursed in the body of an old woman, she has no choice but to go out and seek her fortune in hopes of breaking the curse (even if she is an eldest daughter). Along the way, Sophie comes upon a mysterious moving castle that has taken up in the hill's of Ingary. The castle belongs to Wizard Howl "who was known to amuse himselv by collection young girls and sucking the souls from them. Or some people said he ate their hearts." Either way, he was not anyone Sophie expected to ever meet let alone move in with. Until she does. Adventure ensues as Sophie tries to break the curse and help Howl with his own uniquely magical problems. In terms of fantasy novels, "Howl's Moving Castle" is one of my favorites. The world Jones creates is fully realized without ever getting boring or limiting the reader's imagination. The tone of her narrative is also spot on. Readers of Jane Austen's novels or the "Sorcery and Cecelia" series will notice a similar narrative voice. Although this novel is largely timeless, the prose has a charmingly Victorian tone--taking its time to arrive at the action, the better to familiarize readers with the characters involved and show the readers just how fantastic they (and the story) really are. I also adore this story because it is romantic, thrilling, and completely absorbing. Even at 329 pages, the novel is far too short. Happily, Diana Wynne Jones follows up "Howl's Moving Castle" with "Castle in the Air" (1990) and a brand new book featuring Sophie and Howl ("House of Many Ways") is due out in May of 2008. You can find this review and more on my blog Miss Print

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~

    I am so pleased to say I loved this book! This was exactly what I needed to read right now. My year thus far has been full of more serious books with heavy content, but this was a perfect balance of fantastical and lighthearted. Sophie and her two sisters work in a hat shop with only their stepmother for company since the unfortunate death of their father. Being the eldest of three, she has accepted that she is destined for a life of utter mediocrity. When the infamous Witch of the Waste curses I am so pleased to say I loved this book! This was exactly what I needed to read right now. My year thus far has been full of more serious books with heavy content, but this was a perfect balance of fantastical and lighthearted. Sophie and her two sisters work in a hat shop with only their stepmother for company since the unfortunate death of their father. Being the eldest of three, she has accepted that she is destined for a life of utter mediocrity. When the infamous Witch of the Waste curses Sophie into the body of an elderly woman, she accidentally finds herself in the middle of an adventure that is anything but mediocre. I just want to say that I do not usually enjoy Middle Grade Fantasy. There is normally an odd quality to the writing style of Middle Grade. It's crammed full of ridiculous scenarios that end up feeling like it's just a competition of who can be the weirdest. I can see why others enjoy this, but it's generally not my style. Especially The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. I just couldn't get into that book to save my life, so I generally stay away from this genre except on recommendation. BUT THIS! Cutest. Book. Ever. Sophie is such a delightful character. I loved watching her deal with the craziness in this book! She's clever with a kind heart, and a wonderful role model for children. I also really enjoyed all of the secondary characters in this book, it was totally a cast of kooks. Calcifer and Howl had me laughing out loud, and even little Michael gave me a cackle now and again! In this case, the strange writing really played to the story's advantage. It was just odd enough give me that whimsical, spellbound feeling. I would recommend this for people of all ages! It absolutely meets the goal it sets out to achieve. I am very excited to watch Miyazaki's movie adaption now that I've read the novel. Buddy read this with my girl Celeste!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Joey Woolfardis

    I have been wanting to read this book for a long time, so decided it was about time I just jump straight in. My deepest heart's desire was that I'd find the female-equivalent to Terry Pratchett, but sadly that is not the case. It was written so well and Diana has an amazing imagination that makes Neil Gaiman look normal. But sadly the characters were flat and I felt nothing for any of them, though I think Howl was the most wonderfully developed of the lot. They were all a little bit "I'm only I have been wanting to read this book for a long time, so decided it was about time I just jump straight in. My deepest heart's desire was that I'd find the female-equivalent to Terry Pratchett, but sadly that is not the case. It was written so well and Diana has an amazing imagination that makes Neil Gaiman look normal. But sadly the characters were flat and I felt nothing for any of them, though I think Howl was the most wonderfully developed of the lot. They were all a little bit "I'm only here for this one bit then I'll leave", which is often the case with background characters but not the main, plot-fuelling ones. And the plot: I did enjoy it to some extent but I got lost a few times and wasn't really sure why certain things were happening. I think she tried to cram in so many wonderful things that often happen in to fantasy books in to just this one that it slightly ripped at the seams. The world was a lovely thing to be introduced to, but I can't get over my disappointment in the castle. No spoilers, but I was expecting a lot more than what I felt we were given, particular since the thing is in the title. It was rather clever, but not what I wanted personally. However, the world still felt quite small despite the various places visited. There didn't seem enough given to link all the places together and they invariably ended up becoming just the one place after a while. Despite not quite enjoying this particular book, I do want to read everything else Diana has written, because you can clearly see her amazing imagination and clever storytelling prowess from this book. I think the fact it was a children's book really let it down. Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest | Shop | Etsy

  15. 5 out of 5

    Apatt

    After finishing Howl's Moving Castle I immediately Googled “Diana Wynne Jones” to see how many more books in this series I can look forward to. The first thing I noticed was “Died: March 26, 2011”. My reaction was “WTF? And we are just getting acquainted!” The book starts off charmingly with: “In the land of Ingary, where such things as seven-league boots and cloaks of invisibility really exist, it is quite a misfortune to be born the eldest of three.” This misfortune falls on 18-year-old Sophie After finishing Howl's Moving Castle I immediately Googled “Diana Wynne Jones” to see how many more books in this series I can look forward to. The first thing I noticed was “Died: March 26, 2011”. My reaction was “WTF? And we are just getting acquainted!” The book starts off charmingly with: “In the land of Ingary, where such things as seven-league boots and cloaks of invisibility really exist, it is quite a misfortune to be born the eldest of three.” This misfortune falls on 18-year-old Sophie Hatter, who is introduced while helping her mother to make hats for selling in their hat shop*. She is feeling lonely while making these hats and talks to them like Tom Hanks talks to his volleyball, Wilson**, in the movie Castaway. Soon a witch visits her shop and promptly turns her into a very old woman (a “terrible old biddy” even) for no apparent reason. Initially accepting this ghastly state of affairs with strange equanimity (due to shock) she soon leaves her mother’s shop to find some way of lifting the curse. She ends up practically forcing Howl the wizard to take her on as his housekeeper for his “moving castle”, so-called because it is constantly roaming the country. “It was odd. As a girl, Sophie would have shriveled with embarrassment at the way she was behaving. As an old woman, she did not mind what she did or said. She found that a great relief.” They keyword for the appeal of Howl's Moving Castle is charm. I am usually reluctant to read YA books because the “Y” part of it is a (un)fairly distant memory for me, and I have had enough of books about sexy teens fighting Dystopian governments. However, I was intrigued by Studio Ghibli’s 2004 animated film adaptation. The director Hayao Miyazaki is a legend among anime fans and a spectacularly gifted artist, whose works are always brimming with unique and astounding visuals. So if he deems a book by an English author I know nothing about worth adapting then it must be something special. Howl's Moving Castle is whimsical and charming in the way that reminds me of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. However, Howl’s Moving Castle is aimed at somewhat younger readership, the prose is less Austen-tatious (to coin a word) and is much shorter. It has weird, wonderful and wacky characters with amusing idiosyncrasies that stop short of being cartoonish. Beside the two central characters Sophie and Howl, I absolutely love the character “Calcifer” who is a literally fiery demon who functions in the castle as a fireplace and a cooking stove. Of course, he is already interesting by nature, but he also has wonderfully quirky personality. The castle itself is a fascinating invention, its ability to move is not even its most remarkable feature. The front door opens to different locations, depending on the position of the colour-coded doorknob. Even that is not the weirdest thing, the interior of the castle is located in a different part of the country while simultaneously being the inside of a moving castle. The mind boggles. I have to admit that initially while reading this book I missed read something more “edgy”, adult, dark, brooding and bloody; something to satisfy my mean streak. Ah, but Diana Wynne Jones charmed me into submission, I was half in love with her by page 70. This book often brought a smile to my face and if you are looking for some way to turn that frown upside down this is just the thing. _________________________ * Unfortunately the word for a hat shop is not “hattery” as I had hoped but “millinery”. ** Tennis ball volleyball, thanks Skip! A Word about the Anime The anime film adaptation is a beautiful work of art, intricately hand drawn and fluidly animated. In this age of computer animation like Toy Story and Shrek, Studio Ghibli’s beautiful, meticulous artwork is something to be treasured. As an adaptation of Diana Wynne Jones’ book, it is—in my estimation—about 60% faithful to the source material. Ms. Wynne Jones was well aware of this and heartily approved, as mentioned in an interview at the end of Howl's Moving Castle. She understood that movie is a different media and some alterations must be made. Certainly it is a very good anime, but it is substantially different from the book. There is a steampunk styling to the eponymous castle that is not in the book, and the main characters behave somewhat differently from their book counterparts, especially the antagonist “The Witch of The Waste”. Also, Miyazaki's Howl is much less flamboyant than Ms. Wynne Jones', and has a tendency to brood. The anime is much more romantic and sentimental, yet it is also darker in some instances and less comical. I don’t think the changes improve on the book, but they don’t need to. I think that you should read the book first to appreciate all the nuances. In any case, both the book and the anime are wonderful in their own ways and I am happy to own a copy of each. _________________________ More quotes: “Tidying up is what I’m here for!” she shouted at Howl. “Then you must think of a new meaning for your life,” Howl said. “Sophie was suddenly overwhelmed by the fact that she was standing talking to the King. It was, she thought dizzily, as if the man sitting there and the huge, important thing which was kingship were two separate things that just happened to occupy the same chair.”

  16. 5 out of 5

    Spencer Orey

    This was awesome. It's delightful, thoughtful, and funny. The language is fantastic, with tons of witty turns of phrase. I liked Sophie's down-to-business attitude and perspective a lot. There are fun crossovers with our world and endlessly refreshing magical mischief. And all the moving pieces come together in one sweeping ending, which, just wow. I'm also not sure that this book could get published today. It's clearly middle grade but the character ages are all over the place. The main This was awesome. It's delightful, thoughtful, and funny. The language is fantastic, with tons of witty turns of phrase. I liked Sophie's down-to-business attitude and perspective a lot. There are fun crossovers with our world and endlessly refreshing magical mischief. And all the moving pieces come together in one sweeping ending, which, just wow. I'm also not sure that this book could get published today. It's clearly middle grade but the character ages are all over the place. The main character, who is probably in her late-teens, spends most of the book as an old woman. Now I want to see the movie. My edition has a funny interview with the author at the end that was a nice way to end the book. Dianna Wynne Jones seems like she was amazing. I'll be reading more of her books soon!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Celeste

    I adore middle grade fantasy fiction. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was the first book that ever made me cry, and I still get emotional when I reread it. The Phantom Tollbooth remains one of the funniest, cleverest books I’ve ever read, though I didn’t read it until I was in my twenties. A Wrinkle in Time changed my view of the world and helped me embrace myself for who I was and still am. The Little Prince gave me a lot of deep, philosophical fodder for discussion with my family. And I adore middle grade fantasy fiction. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was the first book that ever made me cry, and I still get emotional when I reread it. The Phantom Tollbooth remains one of the funniest, cleverest books I’ve ever read, though I didn’t read it until I was in my twenties. A Wrinkle in Time changed my view of the world and helped me embrace myself for who I was and still am. The Little Prince gave me a lot of deep, philosophical fodder for discussion with my family. And Harry Potter remains my favorite series, and shall forever be. Always. Now I have a new book to add to my long list of middle grade favorites. Howl’s Moving Castle has been one of my top five favorite movies for years, and I put off reading the book out of fear that it wouldn’t hold up. Thankfully, my friend Mary suggested buddy reading it, or I might have missed out on the absolute treasure that is Diana Wynne Jones. Now I have to track down everything else she ever wrote. I should have listened to Neil Gaiman sooner, as he loves her and has recommended her multiple times in essays and articles. Sophie Hatter is the oldest of three sisters, which means that she’s not going to amount to much. Striving to be content with her lot in life, Sophie encourages her sisters to find their fortunes and sets out to be the best hatter she can be. But when her hats become too popular, the Witch of the Waste barges into her store and turns poor Sophie’s life completely upside down. But, by the end of the story, Sophie wouldn’t have traded her altered life for anything. The characters in this tiny book are so well developed that they now feel like old friends. Calcifer is the cutest demon in the history of ever, and I couldn’t help but hear Billy Crystal’s voice whenever he spoke. He was grouchy and sarcastic and a much bigger softie than he let on. Michael, the Wizard Howl’s assistant, is a scatterbrained sweetheart. Howl himself is vain and lazy and self-absorbed and more honorable than he wants to be. He is also one of the biggest drama queens I’ve ever come across in any fictional setting. And then there’s Sophie. Sophie, who was dealt a bad hand and managed to win the game anyway. It wasn’t until she was cursed that Sophie grew into the person she always wanted to be, and proved herself to be invaluable to everyone in her life. I just want to say, middle grade books do a much better job with love stories than YA books, in my opinion. The love story here was a slow burn, and both involved parties fought their feelings tooth and nail. But when those feelings were finally admitted and embraced, I melted. Seriously, the feels are real. I will go down with this ship. *end fangirling* The book and movie differed on multiple plot points, which surprised me. However, I now love the book just as much as I love the Miyazaki movie. If you love the book and have never seen the movie, I highly recommend it. If you love the movie, you should read the book. You’ll be in for a treat if you do. (Side note: Admire the weirdness that is the cover of my copy. Do you see why I waited so long to read it?) Buddy read of the book that inspired my favorite (non-Disney) animated movie with the lovely Mary.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    Quite different from the movie but no less fantastic. Needless to say, I loved it.

  19. 4 out of 5

    seak

    I watched the movie, Howl's Moving Castle, directed by Hayao Miyazaki, when I was going through my anime phase, not to mention I'm pretty much always going through a Christian Bale phase. I loved it, of course, it was so odd and just plain weird, exactly why I enjoy anime so much. This was quite a while ago, and it wasn't until just recently that I started reading reviews of the book by Diana Wynne Jones, so I ordered it right away. And, because my "to read" pile is enormous, it sat on my shelf I watched the movie, Howl's Moving Castle, directed by Hayao Miyazaki, when I was going through my anime phase, not to mention I'm pretty much always going through a Christian Bale phase. I loved it, of course, it was so odd and just plain weird, exactly why I enjoy anime so much. This was quite a while ago, and it wasn't until just recently that I started reading reviews of the book by Diana Wynne Jones, so I ordered it right away. And, because my "to read" pile is enormous, it sat on my shelf for another couple months. So, to end this terribly interesting story, I somehow got into this "read the book after having already seen the movie because I had no idea there was a book to read" phase (see Stardust) and it was excellent. The moral of this riveting story: don't wait, just read, you won't be disappointed. Sophie is the eldest of three sisters and of course not much is expected of the eldest. She gets on the wrong side of the Witch of the Waste and is cursed to look 90 years old. She doesn't know what to do other than to leave her house without scaring her family and head into town. Not knowing what to do or who to go to, she continues heading outside of town and ends up walking to Howl's moving castle. Howl's known for stealing little girls away, but she figures that's no longer her problem, she's old now...and who better to help her out than a wizard. This really is such an endearing tale, I enjoyed the characters so much and I'm excited to have also found out that there are two more books to follow. I know, it sometimes baffles me how much I can enjoy these middle-grade books. And because it's a middle-grade book, the writing is perfectly simplistic. It's told in third person, but from the perspective of Sophie, an adolescent. Howl's Moving Castle is so hard to put down, Sophie bumbles from problems with her curse to problems with the fickle Howl, who, as Sophie calls him, is a slitherer-outer, one who slithers out of doing anything. On top of that, the magic is different than anything I've seen. It's so odd and quirky, it's so fun to read. For instance, the moving castle is also connected to two different places, Porthaven and Kingsbury. As long as the correct color is lined up on the door, you can connect to the requisite city or place. Then there's all the oddity that is Howl always chasing after different women, Calsifer (the devious fire demon), and Michael (Howl's apprentice). When to Read Howl's Moving Castle? This is perfect for a light reading mood. Howl's Moving Castle is full of magic and humor and great characters that are tons of fun to read about. 4 out of 5 Stars (Loved it)

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mari

    [October 28, 2019] Marking for reread. Delightful, charming, and Old Sophie is my Patronus. [January 1, 2016] I talk about this book in this video wrap-up. This was my first read of 2016, and it was a lovely and enchanting way to start my reading year. Howl's Moving Castle is so much of what I love in books: whimsy, a vivid setting, bright characters and found families. Wynne Jones' story is told in such a clean and straightforward way that it makes the fantastical elements and setting stand out [October 28, 2019] Marking for reread. Delightful, charming, and Old Sophie is my Patronus. [January 1, 2016] I talk about this book in this video wrap-up. This was my first read of 2016, and it was a lovely and enchanting way to start my reading year. Howl's Moving Castle is so much of what I love in books: whimsy, a vivid setting, bright characters and found families. Wynne Jones' story is told in such a clean and straightforward way that it makes the fantastical elements and setting stand out all the more. In turn, the brightness of those elements really help to balance and at times highlight the darker elements of the story. Yes, this book is about a moving castle, a young girl turned old and a moody wizard, but it's set up against a war and curses and imprisonment, both physical and the kind that comes from the expectations of others. I really loved Sophie as a main character and I loved the way she handles having this curse on her. She kind of just rolls with it, but also uses the costume to her advantage, freeing herself in a way she probably hadn't experience before when she was stuck in a life pre-planned for her. I love that she doesn't take Howl's crap. She cleans and mends and goes about doing what she thinks is right, regardless of his moods. I only ended up liking Howl because he becomes part of Sophie's family, or rather, Sophie becomes part of his. He softens a lot and I can at least appreciate that. Definitely a recommended read for anyone who likes children's or middle grade fantasy. If you watched the movie and loved it, it would be interesting to read this as well because it is so much MORE. It's more plot, more of the characters and it just makes so much more sense when you have the full story.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Gail Carriger

    Howl's lingers with me because of the humor, because of the perfectly executed twisting plot, because of the snapping dialog. Diana is possibly the best writer of her generation but because she wrote mainly YA in a time before HP she was disregarded. You want to know what I think a book should be like? Read this one.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mariel

    I'd started writing this review yesterday. I had to quit because I was busy having one of my anxiety fits about using cliches, not saying what I really mean, unclear sentences, my bad grammar, blah blah. I worry about it so much that it is hard to write anything. Howl's Moving Castle is one of those books that I wish I'd not read so I could read it again. That's a cliche, it's true, but it is true. A lot has been written about Howl's on goodreads so I'll try and say something beyond all of the I'd started writing this review yesterday. I had to quit because I was busy having one of my anxiety fits about using cliches, not saying what I really mean, unclear sentences, my bad grammar, blah blah. I worry about it so much that it is hard to write anything. Howl's Moving Castle is one of those books that I wish I'd not read so I could read it again. That's a cliche, it's true, but it is true. A lot has been written about Howl's on goodreads so I'll try and say something beyond all of the true things about it that would appeal to fantasy junkies (that is me). I wouldn't be able to come up with a list of all the things that I wanted in a book (if I could I'd write better stuff than I do to amuse myself). I'd just wish for something this good to appear in my hands all on its own. Diana Wynne Jones has a book about how to write fantasy. I haven't read it. I wonder what she has to say about endings, though. If there is one thing I don't like about her it is the endings. (The sequels to Howl's are not special in any way, to me.) How to write a good ending? It's like what John Lennon said. If it's not okay, it's not the end. I loved that there was like this chance for things to be okay. That's an ending. Fantasy is good to me because it is different than any forseeable future. What I can recognize is seperated like Morrissey under a stage spotlight. The best moments, and all of it put into some kind of dramatic context where there's actually a point to any of it. (I suck at explaining stuff!) My favorite part is what felt familiar to me (people stuff). I can't explain it to myself why that is. Reviews all over goodreads constantly mention something called "world-building" (I'm sure I've done it too, in an attempt to be normal or useful. Yeah, right) in reviews of all kinds of fantasy type books (probably more than anything else. I don't understand technical talk). I am going to admit something else besides that I don't understand commas or semi-colons (or did I remove that confession?): I don't understand reality either. I either believe it or I don't. It should be like a movie if it is really good. You don't think about how they did it. You're at home there. Most of the time I'm feeling anxious and not at all at home. That's why I love books so much. I get to be at home, for a change. I recognized Sophie. Sophie lets herself down in so many ways. I can relate to this so much! Being hard on yourself to the point you don't want to do anything at all? Check. She believes everything in her life is predetermined; from being the eldest of her sisters, obligations, the job in the hat shop. I cannot remember exactly what her reasons were for not taking a chance on anything. It was definitely something about a kinda curse/fate on the eldest kids. It resonated with me for all of the reasons I can come up with not to do things. It's hard to push past that kinda shit. For example, how it is drilled into your head that if you don't have everything in life figured out before age eighteen you're screwed. You can go back and do something else if you made the bad choice for yourself. I'm a naysayer, though. Reminding doesn't last long enough. I believe this kinda shit can happen, just like she did. I hated that the Miyazaki anime made the point of the story that Sophie thinks of herself as being beautiful (as an image). It wasn't about that! The curse the Witch of the Waste lays on her is killing (and oh so telling) because it takes away the life she didn't think she deserved to have. Not what the life is, just the right to have one. There was a lot about this book that got to me on those "oooh" levels about plots, the world, atmospherics, villains, right and wrong and the characters. It was pretty much freaking cool (I loved that moving castle before I ever even "saw" it). Cool isn't all that special without something to make it feel like it mattered, or you were "there". The movie isn't bad. It just wastes time on the stuff that isn't special and ignored what was (to me). It was also pointless to waste the jab on John Lassiter. (It IS annoying having to watch him blab on about how great Miyazaki is on all of the dvds. I know I'm in for a treat to watch Spirited Away! I've seen almost everything he's done. I'm a mega-fan. Shut-up, you stupid fucker. I hate that Disney dvds don't let you skip. "Fastplay", my ass.) The whole bit about the turnip head turning into a prince jab at Disney tied-up endings? I can't stand it when successful people are bitter. Terry Gilliam's stupidly pointless intro "explaining" Tideland just 'cause some critics at Cannes panned it (if you have to explain it to the audience beforehand...). Or Christopher Guest's bitter awards show movie. Art School Confidential. Howl's Moving Castle the Movie or China Mieville's Un Lun Dun. Um, I could go on with examples. Don't waste your own story time on making bitter jabs at other people. This is your time and if you have something to say, say it. I mean, they have the chance. Ooops. I hope this didn't suck too bad. This reviewing business is tough. P.s. I'd give my heart to a demon too.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Daniella

    Delightful a'f, I don't know what more you could want in a whimsical fantasy -This book will appeal to every age group and gender. -It's simple yet extremely well plotted -You can read it in one sitting! -Doesn't rely on tropes at all, it's its own original story -You will feel joy throughout the entire book I highly recommend this.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Luke Taylor

    So what is Howl's Moving Castle? Pull up a stool by the fire and I'll tell you. Deceptively complex and yet magically simple, Diana Wynne Jones' inimitable classic throws everything but the kitchen sink (well, probably that too) and gobs of green goo upon the concept of the fairy tale and dusts it with a generous helping of humor, horror, and heart. From making Sophie into an old woman, to making glowing faces in the fireplace, to Wales being a home as deep and dynamic as DiCaprio's own final So what is Howl's Moving Castle? Pull up a stool by the fire and I'll tell you. Deceptively complex and yet magically simple, Diana Wynne Jones' inimitable classic throws everything but the kitchen sink (well, probably that too) and gobs of green goo upon the concept of the fairy tale and dusts it with a generous helping of humor, horror, and heart. From making Sophie into an old woman, to making glowing faces in the fireplace, to Wales being a home as deep and dynamic as DiCaprio's own final destination was in Christopher Nolan's 2010 film Inception, Howl has it all. From fights (of the witchcraft variety) to food (of the breakfast variety) and fun (of every variety), Howl is impossible to dislike as a character and a book. In fact, the only flaw I see is that it has taken me 29 years to read it. And I profoundly thank Sveta for sharing with me one of her favorite books, as it is now one of my favorites, too. Even "happy ever after" carries the truest ring of reality, in that we are all flawed specimens. Fantastically flawed and incredibly interesting, Howl speaks to that spark of genuine youness in that whoever you are, however you are, why ever you are, you are special, you are cherishable, you are magical. You are worthy to be loved just for who you are. Even if it's not what other people think, or what they see, or what has been said, it's what you know in your heart to be true. That there is someone out there who has stolen your heart as you have stolen theirs and it might be a wild and crazy adventure just to be together, but hey, who wants life to be boring, anyway? Recommended for everyone, especially lovers of fairytales. Now I must see the film! Buddy read with the wonderful Sveta. :D

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    One of the best fantasies, and a clever mystery besides. Read it, for probably the 10th time, but this time I read it aloud to my 7yo. He loved it, though I did have to explain a few things. I would love a Calcifer of my own.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Katerina Kondrenko

    10 out of 10 Ревью в моем блоге/This review on my blog Living A Thousand Lives (please use Chrome/Yandex browser or Android/IOS to see the page; otherwise, spoiler-tags I use to make my post compact may not work) Short-Soundtrack: Scott Thomas feat Jonathan Clay – Heart On Fire Genre: high-fantasy, fairytale Stuff: moving castle (duh), magic, curse WOW: characters, humor POV: 3rd-person, female Love-Geometry: seeming Quote-Core: "You have an instinct, Sophie. Nothing is safe from you." Imagine the 10 out of 10 Ревью в моем блоге/This review on my blog Living A Thousand Lives (please use Chrome/Yandex browser or Android/IOS to see the page; otherwise, spoiler-tags I use to make my post compact may not work) Short-Soundtrack: Scott Thomas feat Jonathan Clay – Heart On Fire Genre: high-fantasy, fairytale Stuff: moving castle (duh), magic, curse WOW: characters, humor POV: 3rd-person, female Love-Geometry: seeming Quote-Core: "You have an instinct, Sophie. Nothing is safe from you." Imagine the Beast being beautiful, lazy and fickle and the Beauty being ugly, kind and grumpy. Imagine the Beauty coming to the Beast on her own will and the Beast being terrified of her ways. Imagine the Beast's castle being very mobile. Add a lot of creative details. And voila! You will have Howl's Moving Castle . (c)  that_nerdygirl I don't know why I haven't read HMC early. Maybe I was afraid I had found out about it too late? That I'm too old for stories like that? No matter what nonsense I used to delay my meet with Howl's Moving Castle , I know I'd been silly. This tale knows no age-limits or culture-boundaries. It's funny, wise, a little bit creepy and rich. It reminds us about our childhood, but feels mature. You won't find here a passionate romance or gruesome deaths, but this book will mend your grown-up heart and put some believe in wonders, kindness and love in it. Can't say the same about the cartoon which I've seen only today. It has very little to do with its original and feels super illogical. Sorry, the book is a million times better. Okay, let's talk about the story... We have a mysterious mage who, if you believe in rumors, eats the girls' hearts. He lives in a moving castle and is known to be really cruel. We also have a shy girl who decided that she always will be a loser. She works at a hat-shot and longs for something interesting to come. And it comes in a form of a wicked witch who curses our girl. Now the girl is an old woman and can;t say anyone what the witch did. She left her house and ends up in the mage's home. And it's only the start of her future adventures. (c)  Draakh The mage's or rather the wizard's name or rather one of his names is Howl. He's 20 something, charming, careless and has a few secrets. He, also, is a womanizer who likes it dirty (and by 'it' I mean his room)). I thought he would be a brooding type with some evil intentions, but he turned out to be super fun, like a big baby: cute, whiny, demanding. That's unusual trope, 'cause authors always try to make their characters look their best, all their downsides are just the hard life's consequences and all. Here, we have a flawed man who won't change completely. And whose negative features aren't connected with an awful childhood and such. Sophie is 17, I guess? She may be kind, understanding and calm, but she can be angry, nosy and jealous as well. Multilayered, she is and I like it. Oh, and she's obsessed with tidying up)) Calcifer is a little fire demon who literally runs Howl's home and warms it too. He's moody, but has a nice heart, literate heart. Yeah. Also he's a local joke-cracker. You'll fall for this creature without a doubt. But beware, he may ask you to make a bargain with him. There are more characters: a young apprentice of Howl named Michael, Sophie's sisters and stepmother, Howl's family, friends and enemies, a creepy scarecrow, an unusual dog and so on. Each has his or her role in the plot and a chance to win your heart. The plot, by the way, isn't that simple as it often is in fairytales. Nope, it's intricate and has unexpected turns. I also liked how the story is told. It doesn't try to sound silly, never force its moral on you and has no favorites to accent them through the events so you would favor them as well. The writing is light, smart and nice. I was laughing not once and not even ten times during this read. Many books make me cry, but not many make me laugh like that. All in all, I highly recommend this book to those whose inner children are still alive and long for fairytales. Howl's Moving Castle (Ходячий замок): — Howl's Moving Castle (Ходячий замок) #1/3 — Castle in the Air (Воздушный замок) #2/3 — House of Many Ways (Дом с характером) #3/3

  27. 4 out of 5

    Raeleen Lemay

    I love the movie so much but to me reading this book just made me feel pretty neutral. I can't wait to talk about it (and watch the movie) with my book club tomorrow!

  28. 5 out of 5

    B Schrodinger

    This is the first book that I read to my daughter. She may not be a captive audience...actually, scrap that. She's still brewing. Still in the womb. She was captive! Captivated, well that's harder to say. The general feedback was wiggles. Her mother reported that she wiggled as I read to her, a chapter a night for the last few weeks. It was either "Hey I like this sound" or "WHAT THE HELL IS THAT? STOP TORTURING ME!" I'm assuming it was the former. This book was chosen because it is one of my This is the first book that I read to my daughter. She may not be a captive audience...actually, scrap that. She's still brewing. Still in the womb. She was captive! Captivated, well that's harder to say. The general feedback was wiggles. Her mother reported that she wiggled as I read to her, a chapter a night for the last few weeks. It was either "Hey I like this sound" or "WHAT THE HELL IS THAT? STOP TORTURING ME!" I'm assuming it was the former. This book was chosen because it is one of my wife's favourites. And what better book to read to your child than my wife's favourite. I've been meaning to read it for years, egged on by equal parts nagging and curiosity. And my wife enjoyed my reading "to the baby". And I enjoyed reading "to the baby" too. The story is a fantasy, not a simple fantasy, but many familiar fantasy tropes turned around, viewed from a skewed angle and reinvented. Howl is an evil wizard who steals young girls souls. Sophie is a cinderella-lite stuck working in a hat shop. Their worlds collide and you meet many wonderful characters and there are many twists and turns. The book is enjoyable and it has a strong female lead. This is a book you'd want to read to your daughter. The daughters who are not princesses and don't put up with that kind of bullshit. So this book is wonderful, but it will hold many wonderful memories. It will be reread often I feel. Until nest time. When she is in my arms.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Melindam

    Ahhhh, the wizard Howl... I mean THE WIZARD HOWL.. Drama Queen of drama queens. This is such a delightful, entertaining, original and imaginative story. I have never read it as a kid, but I just loved it as an adult. I also happened to love Diana Wynne Jones's writing style: simple, powerful & competent, without fuss and there is definitely magic there, even though it not obvious at first sight (just like her heroine, Sophie). “In the land of Ingary where such things as seven-league boots and Ahhhh, the wizard Howl... I mean THE WIZARD HOWL.. Drama Queen of drama queens. This is such a delightful, entertaining, original and imaginative story. I have never read it as a kid, but I just loved it as an adult. I also happened to love Diana Wynne Jones's writing style: simple, powerful & competent, without fuss and there is definitely magic there, even though it not obvious at first sight (just like her heroine, Sophie). “In the land of Ingary where such things as seven-league boots and cloaks of invisibility really exist, it is quite a misfortune to be born the eldest of the three. Everyone knows you are the one who will fail first, and worst, if the three of you set out to seek your fortunes.” Sophie Hatter, the heroine of this book, happens to be the eldest of three girls so she does not expect much out of life. She is working with her stepmother in the family hat shop and has no idea of the powerful magic that she possesses, namely, to talk inanimate objects into life or to give them strong magical attributes at least. One day, the Witch of the Waste enters her shop and lays a powerful curse on her turning her into a crone. An extra downside is that she cannot tell anyone about it. Sophie, instead of getting desperate, decides to leave her family behind and finally ends up in the infamous wizard Howl's moving castle as the housekeeper-cum-cleaning-lady despite her misgivings about Howl's character. Once in the castle (the door of which is a portal to 4 different places), she makes a deal with Howl's fire demon, Calcifer: he lifts the curse off her in case she manages to break the magical contract between him and the wizard... I think that Sophie, is one of my favourite heroines. She is such a wonderful character: nice, competent and calm, yet she is amazingly strong-minded and courageous. The fact that from a young woman she gets turned into an old woman, does not seem to faze her, on the contrary! The disguise seems to set free the inhibitions she have had and it is wonderful and hilarious to see, how she mercilessly bosses around Howl, his apprentice Michael and even the fire demon. So in a way Howl is right when he says to her: "You're a dreadfully nosy, horribly bossy, appallingly clean old woman. Control yourself. You're victimizing us all.” And there is -of course- Howl himself. He is the character who would probably drive you mad in real life, but delights your heart & soul in print (or on screen). He is Sophie's opposite: showy, fussy, an unparalleled drama queen who spends hours in the bathroom every day to groom himself for his numerous courtships and shirks his responsibilities (he makes Michael to spread the vicious rumour that he sucks young girls' souls to avoid work & and so that he can go about courting his ever-changing paramours). And when he gets a cold.... :) “I feel ill,” he announced. “I’m going to bed, where I may die.” He tottered piteously to the stairs. “Bury me beside Mrs. Pentstemmon,” he croaked as he went up then to bed.” And just when you think his character cannot get worse any worse, you realise that behind all those shows and tantrums he cares deeply for Sophie all the time (view spoiler)[He cures her old-age ailments, also tries to lift off her curse in secret, calls her "Sophie dear" and knows her inside out (hide spoiler)] . Their relationship is a bit like that of Beatrice and Benedict from Much Ado About Nothing. The get on each other's nerves, but they keep challenging each other all the time and they seem to enjoy all this immensely. “I think we ought to live happily ever after," and she thought he meant it. Sophie knew that living happily ever after with Howl would be a good deal more hair-raising than any storybook made it sound, though she was determined to try. "It should be hair-raising," added Howl. "And you'll exploit me," Sophie said. "And then you'll cut up all my suits to teach me.”

  30. 4 out of 5

    Hayley ☾ (TheVillainousReader)

    All of the falling stars in the universe In the land of Ingary where such things as seven-league boots and cloaks of invisibility really exist, it is quite a misfortune to be born the eldest of the three. Everyone knows you are the one who will fail first, and worst, if the three of you set out to seek your fortunes. I'm the eldest of three *cackles*. This is the third time I've read this this year and I still adore it fiercely. It's magic. I don't think I can put how much I love this book into All of the falling stars in the universe In the land of Ingary where such things as seven-league boots and cloaks of invisibility really exist, it is quite a misfortune to be born the eldest of the three. Everyone knows you are the one who will fail first, and worst, if the three of you set out to seek your fortunes. I'm the eldest of three *cackles*. This is the third time I've read this this year and I still adore it fiercely. It's magic. I don't think I can put how much I love this book into words so I'm just going to keep it simple. I absolutely cherish it. I love everything about it. I love Sophie, and how she fucking OWNS being an old woman instead of crying over her lost youth. I love that it gives her the confidence she needs to be a take-no-shit-bad-bitch. I love that she is extremely noisy (like me) and doesn't care that everyone knows it. I love Howl and his vanity and ridiculousness. That he goes around blackening his name and slithering out of everything. I love Calcifer and his wicked cackles and sass. I love Michael and his sweetness and young love. I love the world, I love the moving castle, I love the writing, I love the magic. I love their banter and adventures. I love how they made a family of runaways and orphans, and lots of magic. It's so beautiful and whimsical and I love it all immensely. I could read (listen to) this a hundred, thousand times and it would be just as magical as the first. It makes my heart so happy. A U D I O B O O K Magic. M O V I E Surprise, Howl's Moving Castle is also one of my favorite Miyazaki movies. Even if you have seen the movie I would highly recommend you read the book. While there are similarities they are also extremely different. For example, in the book Michael is 15 and in love instead of being an adorable little babe.

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