Review: Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones


Howl’s Moving Castle is the story of a young woman called Sophie, who is forced to work a dull job running a hat shop. After being cursed by a witch, she encounters the Wizard Howl, who lives in a moving castle with his fire demon, Calcifer and apprentice Michael. Literally one million things happen (action on every page) which are far too complicated to fully explain but everything comes together for a happy ending. Apologies for not giving a very good synopsis but to describe what happens would give too much away and there are so many sub plots and bizarre incidents that it would take far too long.

You may have heard of this book as the studio Ghibli film of the same name. I absolutely love studio Ghibli films but I haven’t seen this one – now I really want to watch it.

I thought that Howls Moving Castle was a great children’s book – it was completely mad and super imaginative. Even though it’s written for children the ideas are so fantastic that the storyline veers off in the most unexpected directions, making any guesses at the ending totally irrelevant.

There is a fantastic main character in Sophie, who is gutsy and brave. There’s quite a big cast of other females written about (although the other main characters are male) all of which are really strong and bold. Interestingly, many of the men seem quite weak in comparison.

Obviously as a children’s book I’m not the intended audience  and although I did enjoy it I found the storyline, although utterly charming and madcap, a little weak in terms of content. Sometimes it was so bizarre that I lost my way a little.

What with the current world events, I really needed to read a proper children’s fantasy book as a bit of comfort reading. I would recommend reading this book right now, as it’s perfect for cold winter days and to distract you from the news.

Overall rating: 7.5/10

I read this book as part of the Popsugar reading challenge 2017 #27 Read a book with a title that’s a character’s name.

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