What age group is this for?
It's really a teenage book. However, many adults also enjoy reading it. My friend's
mum borrowed it, and loved it, and couldn't put it down. Also, my ten-year-old cousin Hannah has read it. I
started reading the book to her and she loved it to bits! I even bought her her own copy!
So it's a book for anyone who can read, really.
What type of book is it?
It's a fantasy, it's a comedy and it's a romance. It's the best play-on fairytale
For boys or girls?
Is it easy to get into?
Yes, very easy. Almost straight away you understand the story and you're introduced
to Sophie, the main character.
Where can I get it?
Here in the UK, they re-published it recently with the cover above for the motion
picture release (as you can see it's stated on the front). You can get it from WH Smiths, Waterstone, Boarders and, if
you surf the web, I got mine and my cousin's copies from Amazon.co.uk.
I'm not sure about the US because I don't live there. If it's not in the book shops
then buy it off the internet (see Market Chipping).
A Taste of the Book?
Here are a few lines of the book.
Copyright (c) Diana Wynne Jones, 1986-2005. All rights served.
No stealing Ms Jones' idea.
This is taken from Chapter One "In which Sophie talks to hats".
It was perfectly normal for May Day, but Sophie was scared of that too. And when a young
man in a fantastical blue and silver costume spotted Sophie and decided to accost her as well, Sophie shrank into a shop doorway
and tried to hide.
The young man looked at her in surprise. "It's all right,
you little grey mouse," he said, laughing rather pityingly. "I only want to buy you a drink. Don't look so scared."
The pitying look made Sophie utterly ashamed. He was such
a dashing specimen too, with a bony, sophisticated face - really quite old, well into his twenties - and elborate blond hair.
His sleeves trailed longer than any in the square, all scalloped edges and silver insets.
Witches? Lots of them, though I won't open any spoilers.
Wizards? Plenty of them too!
Good characters? The best!
Final Quote: If you interested in Diana Wynne Jones' books, no matter what age you
are. Go out and by this book. If you're already a DWJ fan, and you haven't read HMC yet, where have you been? Go out and get
it NOW! Also, if your planning on seeing the animated film Howl's Moving Castle or have already, go and read the book to see
where this great story came from.
Like a dream it fills you up until you're full of joy
Diana Wynne Jones is renowned for being "hotter than Potter" and her books are
sold all over the world. They are popular and loved by each generation they touch. Diana Wynne Jones is famous for the award
winning THE CHRESTOMANCI SERIES, and other works such as DARK LORD OF DERKHOLM. Yet out of all of her novels there is one
novel which is without a doubt the most popular, treasured and loved of them all - HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE. Most people who have
read it will confirm that it is a charming tale of magic, love, humour and wonder. It touches the fibres of your heart so
greatly that the sound of the character's names "Sophie", "Howl" and "Calcifer" bring a smile to your face. Although each
character is faulted they are wonderfully painted so that you love them as if they were real people.
The story follows
the tale of Sophie Hatter, the eldest of three sisters, who unfortunately lives in a world where fairytale traits are the
laws of physics. For that reason, despite being attractive, intelligent and talented, the eldest child is destined to come
to nothing. While her younger sisters go out doing their own thing, Sophie is forced to make hats in their late father's hat
shop. However, it turns out that she has a remarkable talent with magic as well as a needle as she speaks life into the hats,
giving them personalities so that good things will come to the wearer of the hat. This is how Sophie attracts unwanted attention
from the jealous Witch of the Waste, thinking her a rival witch, and turns her into an old woman to punish her. Ashamed of
her appearance, Sophie decides to seek help from the infamous Wizard Howl whose moving castle roams the hill above Sophie's
home, and is known throughout Market Chipping as a wicked young man who sucks the souls out of young girls and feasts on their
Feeling unthreatened as an old woman, Sophie ventures inside and instead of finding Howl, she finds his fire
demon Calcifer who convinces her to make a bargain with him - he'll lift the spell on her if she breaks the contract between
Howl and himself. Sophie soon discovers that far from being evil and cruel, the Wizard Howl is a cowardly heartbreaker who
takes pleasure in courting girls but dumping them before it turns serious. Also cursed by the Witch, Howl cannot allow himself
to fall in love otherwise he must return to the Witch and give her his heart. In order to save Howl, Calcifer, and her own
youth, Sophie has to hurry to find out how to free Calcifer and Howl from their contract before the Witch catches up with
A beautifully written tale of a cursed young girl and her cowardly sweetheart, HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE is a light
and hysterical novel with a heroine to love; an anti-hero to adore, and a villain to hate and fear, and yet pity. As the novel
goes on and the love between Howl and Sophie grows, you heart dances with excitement and joy which rises up and up until the
last chapter. The feeling of your heart beat is one of the most important factors of the novel; don't take it for granted.
I highly recommend this book to anyone. It is a book you will keep by your bedside forever, re-read every year or so, and
cherish forever. I also recommend the animated film by Hayao Miyazaki of the same name. Both are truly stunning works of art.
Review of Howl's Moving Castle (c) Sophie-Lou, 2005