Book Review: Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

Title: Howl’s Moving Castle
Author: Diana Wynne Jones
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Format and Price: eBook at $7.99

About The Author:
Diana Wynne Jones was the author of more than thirty critically acclaimed fantasy stories, including the Chrestomanci series and the novels Howl’s Moving Castle and Dark Lord of Derkholm. For Diana Wynne Jones’s official autobiography, please see The Official Diana Wynne Jones Website – Autobiography

About The Book:
‘In the land of Ingary, where seven league boots and cloaks of invisibility do exist, Sophie Hatter catches the unwelcome attention of the Witch of the Waste and is put under a spell.’
Deciding she has nothing more to lose she makes her way to the moving castle that hovers on the hills above Market Chipping. But the castle belongs to the dreaded Wizard Howl whose appetite, they say, is satisfied only by the souls of young girls… There she meets Michael, Howl’s apprentice, and Calcifer the Fire Demon, with whom she agrees a pact.
But Sophie isn’t the only one under a curse – her entanglements with Calcifer, Howl, and Michael, and her quest to break her curse is both gripping – and ‘howlingly’ funny!

Aspects I Liked and Enjoyed:
~Brilliant Plot: Everything in the novel is connected and there are no coincidences, the author has clearly put a lot of effort into it, as a result the narrative flow is good

~Interesting Characters: Calcifer, who is rather Mogget-like in nature, is my favorite character in the novel but Sofie, Howl and Michael have their moments. I enjoy reading about characters who display Genre Savvy abilities

~Readability: I found it easy and enjoyable to read and the Author made sure not to get too bogged down in all the World Building (a common trait with the first book a series)

Book vs Movie

There are some distinctive differences been the book and the movie:

  • In The Novel, Sophie’s family are more prominent and are an active part of the plot, in The Movie, they have been mostly removed and The Witch of The Waste’s character as been altered and expanded upon. Howl’s family has been completely removed, however Howl’s family weren’t strictly relevant to the plot.
  • In the Novel, Howl’s portal device can switch between our world (Earth) and the world of Magic (Market Chipping), in The Movie, it’s an entirely fictional place with steam-punk technology
  • As I stated before, The Witch of The Waste’s character (the main Antagonist in the novel) is altered and is simply an annoying side-character in the movie, however Michael has been changed from 15 year old apprentice to be a boy of 5 and Wizard Sulliman and Mrs Penstemmon have been combined into a composite character and is the film’s main antagonist instead

Now, I will confess that I saw the Howl’s Moving Castle Studio Ghibli production directed by Hayao Miyazaki first, then read the book, however I feel both can be enjoyed on their own.
RMFAO 2015 Genre Challenge

3 thoughts on “Book Review: Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

  1. I actually didn’t know Howl’s Moving Castle was originally a book until much later, so I totally agree with your last statement! Great review/comparison!


      1. You’re welcome! 🙂 I’m always happy to read reviews on DWJ’s writing. She’s such a great childrens/ya fantasy writer. And it’s always nice to meet Miyazaki fans as well. XD


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