Howl’s Moving Castle
28 May 2015 3 Comments
Author: Diana Wynne Jones
Summary: “How about making a bargain with me?” said the demon. “I’ll break your spell if you agree to break this contact I’m under.”
In the land of Ingary, where seven-league boots and cloaks of invisibility really exist, Sophie Hatter attracts the unwelcome attention of the Witch of the Waste, who puts a curse on her. Determined to make the best of things, Sophie travels to the one place where she might get help – the moving castle which hovers on the nearby hills.
But the castle belongs to the dreaded Wizard Howl whose appetite, they say, is satisfied only by the hearts of young girls…
Rating: ★★★★★ 5/5
Review: I’m not sure I know where to start with this review. I guess I start by saying I bloody absolutely loved this book. I did not expect to fall this hard for this book, but here I am. I had seen the film, many years ago now, and very much enjoyed it. But the book. Well, no surprises that it’s better, but. It’s left me barely able to write full sentences, apparently. I’m not even sure how to put words to why I love it. When I first started reading and I was so engrossed and I couldn’t put it down I thought, “What is it I love so much about this books?” And damn it if I could answer.
On reflection, I think the biggest thing I loved was that when I was reading it, I was fully immersed in the world of the book, in the story. I wasn’t sitting in my chair reading words on the page, I was in Ingary with Sophie, I was in Howl’s castle, I was racing across fields in seven league boots. I was all in with these characters and their world. And really, that’s the best feeling any book can give me.
It was all the little things really. It was all the things, really. I loved the way you get thrown into this world and are expected to keep up. There is no explanation for anything, it’s just presented as fact—accept it and keep reading or GTFO. I hate to be bogged down in too much talk around and about things, and this book has none of that. There is magic and curses and a floating castle and fire demons, oh and also Wales and electricity and computer games and cars. No reason as to how or why all these things exist, no in depth details about the world.
The characters. Oh, yes, I loved them all. Sophie’s determination and strong-will, yet also her insecurities. Howl’s aloof allure and harsh words, yet also his kind actions. Calcifer’s tricky ways and grumbles, yet also his need for company. Everyone was so real and fleshed out, but it was all done so well and so subtly, so as never to be too obvious about it.
This might be a book for a younger audience (I don’t like to say ‘young adult’, as that comes with connotations of genre and subject matter, for me), but it is definitely a book that can be enjoyed by anyone who wants to get lost in a magical adventure.
This knocks three squares off my Bookish Bingo: About a curse, kiss-ass female hero and purple on the cover.