Howl’s Moving Castle is a book by Diana Wynne Jones. It is a unique, magical story set in a fantasy world called Ingary. It features magic, romance, family, witches, and wizards with humorous and endearing interactions between characters. This is a book review by Book Estuary and I must say we do love this story.
Goodreads Blurb of the Howl’s Moving Castle
Sophie has the great misfortune of being the eldest of three daughters, destined to fail miserably should she ever leave home to seek her fate. But when she unwittingly attracts the ire of the Witch of the Waste, Sophie finds herself under a horrid spell that transforms her into an old lady. Her only chance at breaking it lies in the ever-moving castle in the hills: the Wizard Howl’s castle. To untangle the enchantment, Sophie must handle the heartless Howl, strike a bargain with a fire demon, and meet the Witch of the Waste head-on. Along the way, she discovers that there’s far more to Howl—and herself—than first meets the eye.
What is Howl’s Moving Castle book about?
“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.”
This is the first line in Howl’s Moving Castle book, so in the land of Ingary there lived Sophie Hatter and her family. When their father died, Sophie was left to stay in their hat shop. One day, she was cursed by the witch of the waste who appeared in the hat shop and turned her into a 90-year old lady. Sophie then set off to Upper Folding to seek her fortune where she found Howl’s moving castle. She met Howl Pendragon and found a way to stay at the castle as the housekeeper. Other inhabitants of the castle were Michael who was Howl’s apprentice and Calcifer, a fire demon with a secret contract with Howl and was the one who fueled the moving castle.
The witch of the waste was planning to destroy Howl and this led to the mysterious disappearance of the prince and Howl’s wizard colleague and the death of his close mentor.
We find dramatic and humorous but endearing interactions between the characters in this story and in the end Howl has this to say to one of the characters in the book, “I think we ought to live happily ever after.”
Book Review of Howl’s Moving Castle by Book Estuary
I’m one of those who watched the anime first prior to reading the book. I like the anime although the events in the anime are far different from those in the book. I think what I love the most about the book is the interaction between Sophie and Howl. I love how dramatic Howl was while Sophie was so assertive and fearless. She was used to ignoring Howl’s drama and she had this no-nonsense attitude. The quotes below made me giggle at some point while reading the book.
“Yes, you are nosy. You’re a dreadfully nosy, horribly bossy, appallingly clean old woman. Control yourself. You’re victimizing us all.” – Howl to Sophie
“I’m going up to my room now, where I may die.” – Howl to everyone in the castle
“Really, these wizards! You’d think no one had ever had a cold before! Well, what is it?” she (Sophie) asked, hobbling through the bedroom door onto the filthy carpet.
“I’m dying of boredom,” Howl said pathetically. “Or maybe just dying.”
“Go to bed, you fool,” Calcifer said sleepily. “You’re drunk.”
“Who, me?” said Howl. “I assure you, my friends, I am cone sold stober.”
“Typical! I break my neck trying to get here, and I find you peacefully tidying up!” – Howl to Sophie when he rescued her from the witch of the waste
“Howl’s voice was presently heard shouting weakly, “Help me, someone! I’m dying from neglect up here!”
“Howl backed into the door to shut it and leaned there in a tragic attitude. “Look at you all!” he said. “Ruin stares me in the face. I slave all day for you. And not one of you, even Calcifer, can spare time to say hello!”
Calcifer said, “I never do say hello.”
“Is something wrong?” asked Sophie.
“That’s better,” Howl said. “Some of you are pretending to notice me at last. Yes, something is wrong.”
These are just a few funny banters in the book that gave me a good laugh.
The author made a splendid job in creating this fantasy and magical world of Ingary with its endearing, charming, and unique characters in a story that is suitable for all ages.
Overall Rating and Final Thoughts about Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
Howl’s Moving Castle is a great read and definitely a top favorite. It is unique, engaging and is a fun read. It’s a kind of story that I can read repeatedly and can definitely give me a sweet laugh every time. It’s a book for all ages with a wholesome story for the young and can be a bit complex for readers who are young at heart. It’s original, magical, and a lovely read. So, it’s definitely a 5-star for me.