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

Cover of the book "Howl's Moving Castle" with a brick castle with four legs walking across the grass, and a figure seen from behind holding up a stick toward it.

So, I want to start doing book recommendations on my blog. I like the idea of sharing books I’ve loved reading myself with others who might enjoy them. However, I find book reviews boring to read, so I probably won’t find them very fun to write, either. And if I don’t enjoy writing them, then nobody’s going to enjoy reading them.

So, I think I’ll just share the book and say whatever random things come to me about why I loved it, and leave it at that.

Howl’s Moving Castle is a book that has been around a long time, but that I recently discovered for myself. Don’t you just love that? I had heard about the movie long ago, and never realized it was a book, and then somehow I just came across it when looking for an audiobook to listen to at work. Sometimes I have trouble getting into audiobooks, but not Howl’s Moving Castle.

Howl’s Moving Castle is about Sophie, a young woman who gets put under a spell to live as an old lady, and ends up living in the wizard Howl’s castle when she makes a deal with his fire demon to break her spell if she can discover how to free him of a spell he is under.

This book provided just the right balance of drama and personalities to keep me interested. It also had the kind of understated humor that I just love in a book. It reminded me of when my husband and I read Beverly Cleary’s “Ramona” books to our five-year-old and laugh together at the jokes that our daughter doesn’t quite get yet. This will definitely be a book that I read with my kiddos when they get old enough for the plot!

Another thing I really like about this book is that there are a lot of seemingly random things mentioned in the beginning that end up circling around and becoming important later. I don’t want to give an example and spoil that fun moment of discovery for anybody else, but I thought I would mention it if you are a fan of moments like that in stories! There is just a certain kind of satisfaction when something just fits into place, you know?

Above all, I really loved the characters and their interactions in this book. I think Calcifer, the fire demon, might be my favorite.

Howl’s Moving Castle has great storytelling, and I highly recommend it. I liked the audiobook so much that I bought the paperback, as well as the two sequels, Castle in the Air and The House of Many Ways.

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