Sunday, April 29, 2012

Howl's Moving Castle (Castle Series #1) by Diana Wynne Jones

I will admit that I can upon this book in an unusual way.  I kept seeing pictures from the movie of Howl's Moving Castle on Tumblr and borrowed the movie from the library to see what all the fuss was about.  The fuss was well deserved.  The art is lovely and the story is great.  It also doesn't hurt that Howl is voiced by Christian Bale who has about the best voice ever.  I swear the voice is why they cast him as Batman.  But watching the movie prompted me to read the book and while the two are not terribly similar (isn't that always the way)- both have their merits.  Here's the Goodreads blurb:

In which a witch bewitched the hatter's daughter--and then some... Sophie lived in the town of Market Chipping, which was in Ingary, a land in which anything could happen, and often did--especially when the Witch of the Waste got her dander up. Which was often. As her younger sisters set out to seek their fortunes Sophie stayed in her father's hat shop. Which proved most unadventurous, until the Witch of the Waste came in to buy a bonnet, but was not pleased. Which is why she turned Sophie into an old lady. Which was spiteful witchery. Now Sophie must seek her own fortune. Which means striking a bargain with the lecherous Wizard Howl. Which means entering his ever-moving castle, taming a blue fire-demon, and meeting the Witch of the Waste head-on. Which was more than Sophie bargained for...
This is a really fun and interesting read.  The book paints Howl as more of a skirt chaser than he is made out to be in the movie but it also gives us a lot more of his back story and that is worth having.  Knowing where Howl comes from and why he is the way he is ... well, it's just great.  It makes his character so much richer.  I also enjoyed the vast network of characters seen in the book as opposed to the movie.  Here Sophie has two sisters and Howl has a whole family.  Markl from the movie is Michael in the book and a teenager not a young boy.  I loved the incorporation of the real world of Wales into the book.  Sophie and Howl come together in an unusual and somewhat backwards way in the book and I love it.  Overall, this is a light hearted and entertaining love story with plenty of fantasy.  I can not wait to read the other two books in the series!

You can find out more about Diana Wynne Jones' writing and her life on her fansite.  You can find Howl's Moving Castle on Goodreads by clicking here.  I give Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones 4 Fairies for a creative and interesting story.

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