Tuesday 19 March 2013

Howl's Moving Castle - Book Review

Howls Moving Castle – Book Review
Diana Wynn Jones
YA Fantasy
In which a witch bewitched the hatter's daughter--and then some…
Sophie lived in the town of Market Chipping, which was in Ingary, a land in which anything could happen, and often did--especially when the Witch of the Waste got her dander up. Which was often.As her younger sisters set out to seek their fortunes Sophie stayed in her father's hat shop. Which proved most unadventurous, until the Witch of the Waste came in to buy a bonnet, but was not pleased. Which is why she turned Sophie into an old lady. Which was spiteful witchery. Now Sophie must seek her own fortune. Which means striking a bargain with the lecherous Wizard Howl. Which means entering his ever-moving castle, taming a blue fire-demon, and meeting the Witch of the Waste head-on. Which was more than Sophie bargained for...
Howls Moving Castle
has always been, and I imagine always will be, one of my favourite childhood books. Written by the late Dianna Wynn Jones who, sadly, passed away a few years ago, it is a magical tale of friendship, sorcery and mayhem.
The story follows the life of Sophie Hatter, a plain, non-descript girl who is content to live her life according to the plans of her mother. But then, after a run in with a witch she is put under a powerful spell that changes her into old women. Afraid of what people will think and uncertain of what the future will old for her, Sophie sets off to the wastes to find Howl, a legendary wizard who is notorious for eating the hearts of beautiful girls.
Yet finding Howl, Sophie is surprised to find that he’s nothing like the heart-eating monster she expected. Vain as a peacock, this strange Wizard from the land of Wales spends more time dying his hair and removing wrinkles then doing magick. Yet living with Howl is far from dull. Along with his apprentice, Michael, and the fire demon, Calcifer, Sophie finds her life now full of catastrophes, changing doors and magically induced chaos. Yet before she can be rid of her own spell, Sophie must first find a way to help Howl break his…
I truly love this book. Set in a far off, magical world where there are seven league boots, love potions and moving castles, this book is bursting with fairytales and fantasy. With beautiful descriptions and captivating prose, it will hold you spell bound for hours.
The plot is exciting and its conclusion interesting. Full of twist and turns, I liked watching how the character’s developed, and enjoyed reading the strange and unique ways each of their problems were solved.
Not only is each character distinctive, but I loved how well Sophie fitted into her role as an old women. I also liked how with the loss of her youth she loses her inhibitions and as the story goes on, voices what she really thinks rather than saying what others want to hear.
Howl is also hilarious and you can’t help but like him. Watching the relationship between him and Sophie develop is so entertaining and as couples go they fit each other so well. Calcifer however, probably remains my ultimate favourite of the cast. He’s witty and interesting and the plot around him is full of knots and tangles that are fun to unravel.
Ultimately this is an amazing work of children’s fiction that will challenge your imagination and leave you awestruck. Although Diana Wynn Jones may be gone, I like to think that she still lives on through her books which continue to inspire and captivate children throughout the world. Fantastical, inspiring and beautifully written, ‘Howls Moving Castle’ is a must read. 5 stars!
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  1. I absolutely love this book. Howl has to be one of my favourite fictional characters of all time!

  2. I have never read a Diana Wynn Jones book and I really feel like I should. Thanks for sharing! :)