Backlist Bonus: Howl’s Moving Castle

2294528by Diana Wynne Jones
YA Fantasy
5 of 5 stars

This author creates some of the most original and vivid fantasy worlds and characters that I’ve ever encountered. This is one of my favorites, but honestly when it comes to her work, it’s hard to choose! But this one has the wizard Howl, and he remains one of my favorite characters to this day.

We don’t start with Howl, though, we start with Sophie, the eldest of three sisters, and thus doomed to lead a boring life. Everyone knows the youngest of three is the prettiest, cleverest, and will live happily ever after. Sophie is resigned to her lot, running her family’s hat-making shop and trying to remain invisible. Unfortunately, she still manages to draw the jealous attention of the Witch of the Waste, who curses her with old age. Sophie, not one to take this lying down, sets off on a journey away from town, and stumbles across a strange castle wandering over the hills–the dreaded home of Howl, known to eat the hearts of young ladies. But she isn’t young anymore, and she goes inside to rest. And when Howl comes home to find her befriending the fire demon Calcifer, things really get interesting!

There’s so much whimsy and humor mixed in with the thoughtful examination of connections between people and meeting the expectations of others. Howl isn’t what everyone thinks, nor is the Witch of the Waste, or even the scarecrow following Sophie behind the castle. This a quick, fun read that any lover of fantasy will like! It’s very different from the movie, but the film is excellent too.

If you’d like to see more reviews or buy a copy for yourself, Howl’s Moving Castle is available on Goodreads and its parent company Amazon. Please consider supporting your local bookstore!

Similar reads:

  • The Dark Lord of Derkholm by Diana Wynne Jones – A close second to Howl’s Moving Castle as a humorous take on people traversing a fantasy realm in search of adventure, and what happens when the Dark Lord is tired of participating.
  • The Chronicles of Chrestomanci by Diana Wynne Jones – Four different stories based around the Chrestomanci, the sorcerer who manages all the different worlds and their interactions. A bit darker than some of her other work but still has that touch of suspense and wit.
  • The Tough Guide to Fantasyland by Diana Wynne Jones – A travel guide book to Fantasyland that is essential for every reader hoping to have an Adventure. It details who will be in your party, the dangers you’ll encounter, the people and monsters to avoid, and the likely outcome of your route. A funny, sarcastic nod to all the tropes of the genre.
  • Stardust by Neil Gaiman – A traditional fantasy story that follows Tristan as he tries to bring a fallen star to the girl he loves, and finds himself stuck on the other side of the Wall, where magic is very real and returning to his world won’t be easy.
  • Inkheart by Cornelia Funke – Meggie’s father brings characters out of their stories when he reads them aloud. Once he read from the book Inkheart, and brought the characters out as Meggie’s mother was sucked into the story. Now Meggie and her father must contend with the villains in the book who want his power as they try to save her mother. Highly original and a good read.

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. E. B. Messenger
    Jun 30, 2015 @ 13:14:19

    I really liked your upbeat, succinct review. A clever female protagonist and great fantasy worldbuilding? I’ll definitely have to check this one out.



  2. Trackback: A Darker Shade of Magic | To Live a Thousand Lives
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