Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Review: Howl's Moving Castle
Howl's Moving Castle
Written By: Diane Wynne Jones
Reading level: Young Adult
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Greenwillow Books (August 7, 2001)
Vonze: 4.5 out of 5
Book Description: "In the land of Ingary, such things as spells, invisible cloaks, and seven-league boots were everyday things. The Witch of the Waste was another matter. After fifty years of quiet, it was rumored that the Witch was about to terrorize the country again. So when a moving black castle, blowing dark smoke from its four thin turrets, appeared on the horizon, everyone thought it was the Witch. The castle, however, belonged to Wizard Howl, who, it was said, liked to suck the souls of young girls. The Hatter sisters--Sophie, Lettie, and Martha--and all the other girls were warned not to venture into the streets alone. But that was only the beginning. In this giant jigsaw puzzle of a fantasy, people and things are never quite what they seem. Destinies are intertwined, identities exchanged, lovers confused. The Witch has placed a spell on Howl. Does the clue to breaking it lie in a famous poem? And what will happen to Sophie Hatter when she enters Howl's castle?"
Ok, let me just say to begin with that I really love the Hayao Miyazaki film based on this book. Since I live in a rural area, I wasn't able to see it in theaters, but I rented it as soon as I could. Now, Oshie and I own a copy. When I found out that the film was based on a book, I put it on my long to-read list. I finally got around to reading it a few days ago.
This was a quick and very enjoyable read for me. I know that, normally, books are better than their movies, however, was I shocked that the film did not follow the book very closely. Miyazaki, apparently, added and deleted things at will. I still love the movie, but the book had a much richer and deeper plot.
Sophie Hatter doesn't expect much to happen in her life because she is the eldest of her two sisters. When her father dies, she is left with his hat shop to run. Sophie creates wonderful hats, but she has a problem standing up for herself. When a rude costumer comes in complaining about a hat, Sophie decides she has had enough. However, unluckily, Sophie picked the wrong person to stand up to. The costumer is actually the Witch of the Waste, who puts a spell on Sophie, transforming her into an old woman. Knowing that she can no longer stay at the hat shop, Sophie decides to go out and seek her fortune. Yet, this is easier said than done in an 90 year old's body. When Sophie sees Howl's Moving Castle outside of her town, she decides to rest there for the night. However, things are not what they seem inside the castle and Sophie gets caught up in the curse placed on the wizard Howl.
I could put Howl on a list of my favorite character's ever. He's a flamboyant, wise-cracking, lovable coward. I found myself frequently laughing at his lines in the book.
All and all, Howl's Moving Castle was a fun fantasy read. The only thing I disliked was the lack of action until the end of the book. The majority of the story has the main character, Sophie, wondering and waiting around for things to happen.
I would recommend this book to people who enjoyed The Princess Bride, The Never-ending Story, and, of course, the movie Howl's Moving Castle. Tweet