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Review: Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

>>Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Title: Howl's Moving Castle
Author: Diana Wynne Jones
Series: Castle #1
Format: Paperback
Pages: 304
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publication Date: March 16th, 2009 (first 1986)
Publisher: Harpercollins; New edition edition
Rating: B+

From Goodreads: In the land of Ingary, such things as spells, invisible cloaks, and seven-league boots were everyday things. The Witch of the Waste was another matter.

After fifty years of quiet, it was rumored that the Witch was about to terrorize the country again. So when a moving black castle, blowing dark smoke from its four thin turrets, appeared on the horizon, everyone thought it was the Witch. The castle, however, belonged to Wizard Howl, who, it was said, liked to suck the souls of young girls.

The Hatter sisters--Sophie, Lettie, and Martha--and all the other girls were warned not to venture into the streets alone. But that was only the beginning.

In this giant jigsaw puzzle of a fantasy, people and things are never quite what they seem. Destinies are intertwined, identities exchanged, lovers confused. The Witch has placed a spell on Howl. Does the clue to breaking it lie in a famous poem? And what will happen to Sophie Hatter when she enters Howl's castle?

Diana Wynne Jones's entrancing fantasy is filled with surprises at every turn, but when the final stormy duel between the Witch and the Wizard is finished, all the pieces fall magically into place.

I think this review might be hard for me to write since I feel like this is a book that is just so unique and fun that it would be hard to talk about it to people who haven't read it. So that's a long way of saying: read this book!

I've never read a Jones book before (they somehow escaped my childhood) but I was always interested in them since they are so loved by so many. I picked up Howl's Moving Castle after I heard of her death and read it quickly after that. This book was so much fun and so clever and I found that Jones' voice really shone through. She created pretty lovable characters, my favorite being Sophie. Sophie grows up thinking nothing great will happen to her because she's the eldest of the siblings, only to find herself cursed and living in the body of a 90 year old. I felt this was so appropriate since Sophie was living her life before as if it was over, and once her body changed to match her mindset, she started to act differently because she thought that an old woman didn't have to worry about acting a certain way. I thought the curse sort of freed her from her own issues and while living this way throughout the book, she discovers what her life means and what she can make of it, whether she's young or old.

I also enjoyed the little tidbits of magic such as the seve leage boots and the magic door that ingeniously connects Sophie's world to ours. The ending was surprisingly more awesome thant I thought it would be (which I won't reveal for spoilers).

I'd recommend this book to anyone looking for a light children's fantasy with a fantastic ending. Really, to anyone who was hesitant about reading Jones before, just go do it already!


  1. This's the book that got me hooked on Jones. It's still among my favourites. I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

  2. This book is an old favorite! I love it, and I also love the anime movie. Have you seen it? If not, check it out-- it's really fun and really well-done! :)

  3. Someone had reviewed this book and I liked the sounds of it. I would like to get this one some day. Thank you for the great honest review.

  4. @Kat: No, I haven't seen the anime (how embarrassing)! But I plan to very soon!



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