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Howl's Moving Castle: A Story As Odd As They Come

Howl’s Moving castle

Overall rating: A odyssey

Howl’s Moving Castle By Diana Wynne Jones is a British fantasy that was adapted into a fantasy film by Japanese film maker Hayao Miyazaki, who in my opinion is one of the , if not the best Asian filmmakers of our time. (Even if most of his work are cartoons.” I’m not a anime fan at all, but when I watched this movie I thought it was a wonderful story. Then I found out it was a book. It was based on a twenty something year old British fantasy book. And once I found out that this book existed, I had to read it.

Okay , Howl’s Moving Castle over all is a odyssey. There’s no other way to describe it. It’s story about a girl named Sophie who is the oldest of three sisters. And when her sisters move on to find their fortune, Sophie finds her self still working in the hat shop with her step mother who never bothers to pay her for her work. She never seeks to her fortune or cares for change, and considers her self that if she did try anything she would fail.

Then one day a woman comes in to by a hat. Sophie who is frustrated at the realization that her life is a dead end, is rude and just tries to get the woman to leave rather than help her. Yet it turns out that the woman is the Witch of The Waste who curses Sophie. Sophie is turned into a ninety year old woman. Stunned, she travels to wizard’s Howl’s magical flying castle. She pretends to be a new cleaning lady. There she finds the company of Michael, a young boy who is taking lesson from Howl. Then Calcifer, a fire demon and lastly Howl. Yet in her stay, Calcifer tells her that he has the power to break her curse if she can break his. Yet like with her curse, she can’t tell her what the curse is. So in her stay she must try to find clues to solve the riddle.

So the thing that holds the story together are the characters. There is Sophie, who may be weak at the beginning of the story, but in the end, even as a old woman, she becomes braver and more adventurous. Michael is a boy Howl’s apprentice and loves Sophie’s sister. There’s a dog who comes into a story who turns out to be a cursed man. Then there’s Howl. And Howl is vain. He cares only about his self and nothing else. He escorts women around every other day until they fall in love with him. He then moves to another girl. In essence he kind of a playboy who cares about nothing but his self. He spends hours in the bathroom. Then there’s Califer, who may even be a demon, yet seems to be the most innocent one in the story.
So Here’s the good. The story is original/ if you like new fantasies that are different than others, it’s for you. It’s really odd blend of Beauty and the Beast, Jane Austin’s work and Wizard of Oz. It’s different.
Now here’s the bad. This book has no pacing. I like how it starts. I like the final conflict and how it came together. I thought it was kind of brilliant. But the middle of the book seems to aimlessly wonder from one thing to another. It really did tempt the reader to set it down and forget the book. I just believed that it really did hurt the book that much. I rather just watch the movie.

So overall this book is okay. I just felt it could be better. It’s wasn’t bad. But it wasn’t great. So I’m neutral on this one.

2 smoothies out of four

P.S. Check out my book and ebook website Lelue’s Realm. Google it or go directly to

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Comment by NerdyOZ on April 7, 2010 at 3:17pm
Holy Cow! I didn't know that Howl's Moving Castle was originally a book. Although Miyazaki is one of my favorite anime producers, this movie wasn't one of my top favorites. But I've always been one of those the book is so much better kind of people. SO maybe this will be the case. LOL. I am so very grateful that you told me there was a book. Yet another things to add to my reading list....LOL.

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