Book Review: Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

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Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones / ★★★★★

Summary: When The Witch of the Waste puts a spell on young, sensible Sophie that turns her into an old woman, she leaves home to pursue a new life. When she boards the moving castle of the infamous wizard, Howl, who loves to make young  women fall in love with them only to break their hearts, things in her life get interesting for the very first time.

“Yes, you are nosy. You’re a dreadfully nosy, horribly bossy, appallingly clean old woman. Control yourself. You’re victimizing us all.”

Genre: Fantasy

Plot

This book is so much fun- it’s a whimsical adventure with great characters and the perfect, tiny touch of darkness. It’s one of those books that transcend reader boundaries- it’s written as much for a ten year old as it is for a fifty year old. It’s set in a world of witches and wizards and plain normal folk, and it was a place I felt at home in immediately. Howl’s Moving Castle is one of those books that make reading a genuinely fun experience.

Howl’s Moving Castle tells the story of Sophie, Howl, his teenage apprentice Michael, and Calcifer, Howl’s cursed fireplace. It took me a while to understand exactly where the story was going, but with each adventure and debacle they get themselves into, a plot began to take place- and I loved the plot. So much of it was propelled by Sophie’s forceful personality and her need to get to the bottom of every mystery, and the plot wouldn’t have been half as entertaining if it didn’t revolve around the dysfunctionality of the characters. Not to mention, it’s genuinely funny. This book was SO MUCH FUN and I recommend it to anyone who likes a good, wild and imaginative story.

Characters

First of all, Howl is probably one of the most obnoxious characters I have ever read and I loved him. He is needy and selfish and clever and tortured by inner demons, and he made this book such a fun, interesting story. He causes mayhem and strife for everyone and everything he comes in contact with, but everyone and everything revolves around him anyway.

I thought Sophie was a brilliant character- her transformation into an old woman and the effect that had on her as a person was a fantastic way of developing a character. I loved her blunt attitude and the way she forced herself into Howl and Michael’s- well, their house, basically, and made a home for herself there with them.

Who knew I’d come to care so much for a fire in a fireplace?? Calcifer was fantastic, and his role in the plot….brilliant. And I loved Michael, who is basically the definition of a sweetheart.

Writing

No other style of writing could have told this story so well- it was rather dry and blunt, and I loved the sense of humor that came through the prose and the characters. I laughed many times while reading this. And it was so IMAGINATIVE and colorful. Diana Wynne Jones’ writing is truly unique and wonderful.

Was I satisfied?

I really had no idea what I was going into when I started this book, but came out very delighted and just…feeling like I’d had a really great time reading. Which I did. I can already tell this is going to be one of those titles that, whenever I hear it, I’ll look back on very fondly.

18 thoughts on “Book Review: Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

    • I watched the movie after I read it and THEY’RE VERY DIFFERENT, and I wasn’t a huge fan of it either, so don’t fear. I found the characters in the book especially more interesting than they were in the movie (especially Howl….I hated movie Howl), and the focus on the romance is much smaller and less dramatic than it is in the movie. And there’s no war and it’s just much more wholesome overall.

      Liked by 1 person

      • OH COOL omg that sounds a hundred times better. This is another one I was forced to watch in college by people who were obsessed with it and I was like ‘WHAT AM I MISSING HERE THIS IS JUST BAD’

        Liked by 1 person

      • I went into the movie fully expecting to love it because everyone does, so I was surprised when I wasn’t feeling it at all. The book was so enjoyable but halfway through the the movie and I was ready to stop when I realized the characters just weren’t going to be as good as the book’s.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I briefly watched Hayao Miyazaki adaptation of this book, but never have read the book! I actually didn’t even know that the movie (featured film) was based on a book! Thank you so much for the review, this sounds so intriguing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hadn’t known either, until I saw this book sitting on my brother’s shelf! The book and the movie are very different though…the movie was a bit darker, while I thought the book was a bit more goofy! It’s a lot of fun so I highly recommend it!

      Liked by 1 person

    • The book is very different! A little more goofy and magical and a little less dark and romantic- though it still has those things! It’s a very enjoyable read, I hope you like it when you give it a try!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. After reading Lonely Hearts I really wanted to watch the movie. Probably because it will always be connected to the characters in Lonely Hearts for me (and I loved that book). I also didn’t know it was a book! Now I’m torn between the movie and the book, which to ingest first. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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