Title: Howl’s Moving Castle
Author: Diana Wynne Jones
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Release Date: March 5, 2009 (first published April 1986)
“How about making a bargain with me?” said the demon. “I’ll break your spell if you agree to break this contract I’m under.”
In the land of Ingary, where seven-league boots and cloaks of invisibility really exist, Sophie Hatter attracts the unwelcome attention of the Witch of the Waste, who puts a curse on her. Determined to make the best of things, Sophie travels to the one place where she might get help – the moving castle which hovers on the nearby hills.
But the castle belongs to the dreaded Wizard Howl whose appetite, they say, is satisfied only by the hearts of young girls…
Sophie Hatter’s family runs a hat shop. When her father dies, her stepmother makes plans for Sophie and her sisters. Her sisters are sent away to apprenticeships, but Sophie is kept at home to run the hat store. One day, Sophie encounters the Witch of the Waste, who puts a curse on her which makes Sophie look like an old woman. Sophie runs away from home so her family doesn’t see what happens to her. She goes to the castle that moves around town and belongs to the wizard named Howl. Sophie makes a deal with a captured demon in Howl’s castle to release him from his curse if he can release her from hers.
I’ve heard a lot of good things about this story, and I really wanted to love it, but I just didn’t like it. I found the story complicated and confusing with lots of similar characters. One thing that I noticed from the beginning was that I wished the story was about Sophie’s sisters instead. They seemed to have an interesting story to tell. When they were sent away to their apprenticeships, they made a spell to switch places. I kept hoping more of their story would be told, but they only made brief appearances in the story.
Unfortunately, this story didn’t work for me.
What to read next:
Castle in the Air by Diana Wynne Jones
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Have you read Howl’s Moving Castle? What did you think of it?