BOOK REVIEW: Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

When it comes to Diana Wynne Jones’ Howl’s Moving Castle, I am in the minority for two very big reasons: 1} I wasn’t led to the tale after viewing Studio Ghibli’s Howl’s Moving Castle anime film {still haven’t seen it, in fact}; and 2} I can honestly say that, as much as I tried, I just didn’t enjoy this book. Don’t get me wrong, I truly felt that this tale started out strong, but it failed to engage me after the first thirty or so pages.

Sophie, the main character, is a timid girl who has lost all hope, and convinces herself that she is content watching those around her move forward in life, as she toils away as a hatter {as someone else claims success for her work}. When Sophie draws the attention of the {wicked} Witch of the Waste, she is transformed into a cantankerous old woman, and knows there is only one place to seek solace – and perhaps a cure for the spell: Wizard Howl’s elusive Moving Castle.

Which brings us to Howl himself. Howl is a…quirky fellow, to say the least. He’s showy in style and short in language. Though I tried to find a redeeming quality about him, I came up empty-handed every. single. time. Yes, I liked that he accepted Sophie into his home as a housekeeper {despite her frequent mishaps involving his assorted powders}; and I appreciated his overall kindness to his apprentice Michael. But barring those two things, he was fairly forgettable.

Though some may enjoy the banter that takes place between Howl and Sophie, perhaps even find it humorous, I found it obnoxious and hard to take after a time. So much so that the only character I found even remotely interesting was Calcifer, the fire demon. Had the book been shorter, I may have rated it higher; but when you have a 400+ page novel wherein many occurrences keep repeating themselves, the storyline becomes tired and lackluster. Points for originality most certainly go to Wynne Jones; but this one served as being far from magical for me. Womp womp.

Star Rating: ***




Ananka said...

Sounds alright :-D

R's Rue said...

I'm sorry. How are you dear friend? Stay safe.

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