Howl’s Moving Castle Book Review
By: Claire Rankin
Howl’s Moving Castle was published on April 22nd 2008. So we are a bit late with a review, but better late then never. Many of you are no doubt familiar with the film Howl’s Moving Castle by Hayao Miyazaki. I was before I read the book as well. But let me assure you they are two very different things so hold on as I introduce you to a novel that is as fanciful as it is fun.
Sophie Hatter is just that, a hatter in the small town of market chipping on the edged of the Wastes a barren waste-land which is the home of the witch of the wastes. In Market Chipping, as in the rest of the kingdom in which the novel takes place, there are wizards and witches of all skill and type of magic. But Sophie isn’t like them she is the first child of three and thus doomed to lead a boring and fortuneless life. That is of course until the days when she meets a handsome, and perhaps overly decorated, stranger on the way to see her younger sister at the town bakery. That evening the beautiful Witch of the Waste come to pay her visit and curse her with old age. The curse acts as a catalyst causing Sophie t leave her hat shop and her home town to find her own fortune in the mountains behind her town. It is here that she encounters a turnip headed scarecrow, a dog, and a Wizard Howl’s moving castle.
With cast of characters that will make your head spin the novel entrances you with subtlety and humor as the reader learns about the entire cast. Sophie’s sisters switch places in order to learn the trades they wish to know. Michael, Howl’s apprentice, is in love with one of Sophie’s sister, while thinking she is another. Calcifer, the fire demon, has made a deal with Sophie as he can see through his old age. Howl himself whines and moans whenever his selfishness is questioned. Meanwhile Sophie herself, in old age and in youth, gains gumption and gives even Howl and the Witch of the Waste a run for their money.
A charming novel that, while it may seem as though it doesn’t move, tells the story with subtlety as it goes from one event to another. People familiar with the film will the differences surprising and helpful as it provides much needed backstory to the Miyazaki classic that, while being enchanting in it’s own way, can leave viewers confused. But don’t just take my word for it see what others have to say.
“…Her hallmarks include laugh-aloud humour, plenty of magic and imaginative array of alternate worlds. Yet, at the same time, a great seriousness is present in all of her novels, a sense of urgency that links Jones’s most outrageous plots to her readers’ hopes and fears…’” — Publishers Weekly –This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
“Diana Wynne-Jones has a well-deserved reputation for funny, well-plotted, keep-you-riveted-to-your-chair fantasy stories. Here she provides an unusual sorcerer, an unlikely heroine, and a lot of sly winks at fantasies and fairy tales. Very entertaining. [. . .]” – EA Solinas customer review on amazon.com
Howl’s Moving Castle is available in bookstores such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.
If you are interested please grab a copy and enjoy .