Howl's Moving Castle

Monday, May 23, 2011


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

This book has been on my TBR list for quite awhile and Jones’ recent passing made it especially timely for the Dewey read-a-thon last month. Now that I’ve read it, I know I’ll be checking out more of her work.

The eldest of three daughters, 17-year-old Sophie is transformed into an old woman after accidently offending a witch. After that she heads off to find the infamous wizard Howl, who despite his dangerous reputation, may be able to help her.

I love that Sophie never whines and feels sorry for herself; instead she just starts working toward a solution. She’s clever and determined and not easily swayed by a pretty face. I loved her antagonistic relationship with Howl. He needed someone in his life that didn’t blinded follow his orders and Sophie could hold her own against him. My favorite character is the cranky fire demon, Calcifer. His acidic comments were wonderful.

The writing reminded me of Neil Gaiman’s style, which is a great thing. It has that wonderful blend of fairy tale and dark sense of humor. I don’t think I would have enjoyed it quite as much if it had ended differently, but I really loved how the story was resolved. Jones could have offered a very simple conclusion, but she found one that gave additional depth to her characters and deepened the reader’s love of them.

5 comments:

Nymeth said...

yay! So glad you enjoyed your first DWJ :)

Sandy Nawrot said...

I just love the movie. All of the movies made my Miyozaki feature admirable, strong female characters. I only found out recently that this was a book. I need to read it!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Nymeth - I can't wait to read more of her work!

Sandy - I actually haven't watched the movie yet, but I've heard great things and it's high on my netflix queue.

Jenny said...

Woohoo, I'm so pleased you liked her! And not surprised that the Neil Gaiman comparison occurred to you -- he's heavily influenced by DWJ, and once you've read her oeuvre you see her all over Neil Gaiman's work. Yayy to Howl's Moving Castle!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Jenny - That makes sense. I found out recently that they were really good friends and she acted as a mentor to him. I love his work, which is just one more reason I obviously need to read more of her's.