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  • Amelia Hooke

Review of 'Howl's Moving Castle'


Howl’s Moving Castle

By Diana Wynne Jones, 1986

Young adult, Fantasy

Rating: 👻👻👻👻 (4 out of 4 boos)


What is the book about?

“Sophie has the great misfortune of being the eldest of three daughters, destined to fail miserably should she ever leave home to seek her fate. But when she unwittingly attracts the ire of the Witch of the Waste, Sophie finds herself under a horrid spell that transforms her into an old lady. Her only chance at breaking it lies in the ever-moving castle in the hills: the Wizard Howl's castle. To untangle the enchantment, Sophie must handle the heartless Howl, strike a bargain with a fire demon, and meet the Witch of the Waste head-on. Along the way, she discovers that there's far more to Howl—and herself—than first meets the eye.”


What’s the main character like?

How can you not enjoy the perspective of a young girl trapped in an old lady’s body? Having two younger sisters, Sophie is patient but no-nonsense. She is curious and artistic and has a quiet yearning for adventure that keeps the story moving in interesting directions.


How scary is it?

While there are witches, fire demons, and a persistent scarecrow in this fantasy book, the author has created more of a whimsical world than a frightening one.


Who might like this book?

I’m guessing fans of Miyazaki’s film Howl’s Moving Castle will love this book, although there are many differences between the two. Rich and beautiful in its elements of fantasy, this book should appeal to readers who appreciate creative world-building.


What did I like best?

There is excellent chemistry between Sophie and Howl. Very interesting dynamic between a moody magician and an “old” lady who wanders into his castle and demands to become his cleaning lady!


What wasn’t my favorite?

Sometimes I felt a bit confused about the details, like exactly how that moving castle functioned. But I suppose that’s sort of the point; a moving castle is confusing!

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