Wednesday, February 29, 2012


by Diana Wynne Jones, published in 1986

Sophie Hatter, the eldest daughter of a hat-maker, has accepted her fate of living a meaningless life when a powerful witch puts a spell on her, turning her into a wrinkled old woman. Aghast at this new development and ashamed to let her family see her, Sophie leaves the hat shop and finds a job as a cleaning lady for the notorious Howl, a wizard known for eating the hearts of beautiful young women.

Sophie makes a bargain with Howl’s fire demon Calcifer—she will break the contract between him and Howl if he will break the spell on her. Now it is up to Sophie to figure out exactly what the contract is and how to go about breaking it. Meanwhile, trouble besieges the land of Ingary; the King’s younger brother and top wizard are missing and the Witch of the Waste is determined to wreak havoc where she will. Sophie finds herself smack dab in the middle of the land’s problems along with Howl, Calcifer, and Howl’s apprentice. She discovers she has abilities she never knew she had, along with a stubborn knack for getting into trouble.

I love this book. It is so fun and clever, and Diana Wynne Jones has a way of suffusing every sentence she writes with wonder and magic. Who says children's books aren't awesome? I certainly don't!

I would consider Howl's Moving Castle more geared towards gals than guys, as it is largely a romance. Not that guys couldn't enjoy it too, of course. It is not action packed, but Sophie's adventures, mishaps, and the mysteries she unravels caught and held my attention through every page. It's something about Jones's writing that can even make spilled tea sound interesting. I think what I liked most about the book was watching Sophie grow as a character. The supporting cast of characters were also all loveable and extremely entertaining to see develop.

I also love the movie based on this novel, but the novel is so completely different that it is silly to relate the two, so that will be a post for another time.


  1. I didn't know this was a book! I've only seen the movie.

  2. I'd love to do a comparison between the book and the movie, as they were created from two different cultural perspectives. Thanks for the review :D

    1. I would love to read that, Jamie! Actually, it sounds like a good idea for a blog series :)

  3. I've seen the movie but never read the book.

  4. I've read the book, not seen the movie. But I heard that the movie is very different. Totally different ending.

  5. Yes, I watched the movie first and loved it, so I wanted to read the book. The movie is quite different. All the stuff about the war isn't actually in the book, for instance.

  6. I have never read her. I have been thinking about reading her in April. Have heard good things about her writing. A big thanks for the review. I guess a movie is in my near future..:))

  7. I have something for you on my blog!

  8. I just read this book a few months ago and it was amazing. I watched the movie first and like you said, I was glad to find out it wasn't the same and yet both are great.